ATLANTA — A Birmingham native had hopes and dreams of becoming a background dancer for Beyoncé and traveling the world when she called Atlanta her home eight years ago.
After she experienced the dancing, her passion changed after realizing she wanted to make other women feel the way she did when she danced.
She then fell in love with the esthetics world when she gave women an extra boost of confidence.
“It gives me more freedom. I love my clientele," Chenedra Gladness, owner of Essence of She Day Spa, said when speaking about her passion of becoming an esthetician. "It just made me so much more fulfilled knowing they needed what I was giving. It felt much more personable and appealing."
Gladness was first introduced to esthetics in college. She didn’t see herself owning an esthetics business at first, but slowly got pushed into it by her clients that loved her work.
“Helping other woman feel the same way I feel when I’m dancing. I like to feel that confidence, feel that beautiful and feel that energy around myself,” said Gladness.
Essence of She Day Spa was then born in 2020 at her current location on Caroline Street. Gladness created the business as a way for women to relax and lay out their burdens. She didn’t want women feeling defeated when their heads hit the spa pillows.
Gladness said her customers described her services as “a vibe” because she curates music to the energy in the room.
“A lot of people come in to kind of spill the beans in their lives. Being able to let everything off and relieve stress, walking out feeling like you again,” the spa owner said.
She offers facials, brightening treatments and waxes, with each treatment having a focus on each person’s skin needs.
'Feel like you again' | Atlanta dancer turned esthetics hobby, major into career
When the spa owner opened her business in the middle of the pandemic, working with skin was tough when most businesses had to shut down. COVID-19 was just one of many obstacles Gladness faced as a Black business owner.
Gladness said that many Black people do not get the financial literacy that most of their counterparts receive. She mentioned she struggled with learning the inner workings of capital that come with being a business owner.
“But Black people, we don’t really have a lot of background of money. So most of the time it is on us to do everything when it comes to fundraising, getting money and starting things up because we’re the first in the families to start a business,” she said.
Even through hard times, she stayed heavy in her Christian faith, which allowed her to keep going.
The owner feels her clients keep her going because of their unwavering support for her business. She also said the lives of her clients and everything they do in their daily lives inspire her to keep going.
“It’s like the people that come to you come in the perfect timing. Seeing my clients and how they live their lives gives me the hope that things are going to work out,” Gladness said.
She hopes to keep making her clients happy by expanding her business and building her own “oasis”.
BELOW | An Instagram video of Gladness using the dermaplane facial on a client.
This story is a part of a series highlighting local Black businesses and their embodiment of Black excellence in light of Black History Month. To view more stories, visit 11alive.com/blackhistory