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Inspiring Conversations with Chelsea Gonzales of Bella by Chela

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chelsea Gonzales.

Hi Chelsea, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My journey began back in 2009-2010 when I was in the military. I’d always been fascinated by makeup but was never allowed to wear it so I used to be very subtle in my application because I didn’t know how to apply makeup properly.

While stationed in Japan, I met my still amazing friend and mentor Amira. She is a makeup artist, photographer, and cosmetologist whom I met while playing roller derby.

She got my foot in the door and took me on as an apprentice, shadowing her while she worked on photo shoot sets and took me on beach location shoots. She encouraged me to look into aesthetics school after leaving the military.

After getting out and moving back to San Antonio my path took me down the Government system for another 10+ years but I’d always still dabbled in my makeup applications and did freelance work for MAC cosmetics. After a long bout with depression and anxiety and the toxic work environments I’d been in, makeup was my escape. I could express myself or hide it, however, I felt like doing my makeup that day.

Eventually, I started working with local photographers who would help me get a trade for picture work which was building my portfolio, clientele, and confidence. It was in 2019 I saw that Morphe cosmetics, which was a brand I’d been following for some time, was opening its first store in San Antonio and I was very excited to apply. Out of over 200 applicants, I was 1 of 18 who were hired and opened out the first store in San Antonio.

While I loved the stability the government job gave me, makeup and esthetics was my passion that never went away. I followed my dream and began working at Morphe full time and left my government job which was so nerve-wracking. Working at Morphe was a lot of fun, playing with makeup all day, being around other creators, and helping clients feel beautiful and confident were always amazing.

Once Covid began to shut businesses down, Morphe was no exception. We got furloughed for several months and in that time the opportunity to attend esthetician school presented itself again. I’d always put it on the back burner since I had always held a traditional 9-5 job but this was different, this was me owning my own fortune in my hands.

I made the decision and enroll in school in June/July 2020 and graduated in December 2020, in the midst of a pandemic. After school, I began working at a local sugaring studio. I always get asked what is sugaring and I myself didn’t know until someone I worked with in the military told me about it.

I tried it, loved it, and eventually started working for them. Sugaring is now my top-booked service. I now have my own little salon suite I work out of and the transitions of my story have made this journey a roller coaster but one I’m thankful and grateful for.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I would say it has not been a smooth road, but it has been a learning road.

There are always ups and downs, good decisions, and some really bad decisions. It’s how we navigate those decisions that make us grow and become better versions of ourselves.

It’s been a lot of soul searching and getting to know what it is that I truly want and how to I keep myself from holding back. It’s not an easy road, it’s a crooked and windy road but it’s the windy road of my life that’s led me here.

We’ve been impressed with Bella by Chela, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business is my baby. It’s all the services I love doing in one room. I do a little bit of everything but mainly specialize in sugaring, permanent cosmetics, and makeup application. I think what sets me apart from others is that I do more sugaring versus waxing.

While I appreciate waxing, my skin doesn’t react well to it. I wanted to offer a natural and organic option for those who may have reactive or sensitive skin like myself. I’m proud that I’m creating this for not only myself but to show my daughter that you can have a goal in mind and achieve it, it may not be easy and will require hard work but it’s worth trying and failing versus never trying at all.

I’d want the community to know that I’ve created a safe space for anyone wanting to try out sugaring or any of my other services. My goal is to help others feel confident in their skin and to enhance the beauty within them.

The services I offer are all listed on my website but to name a few are Permanent Makeup such as eyebrows or lips, sugaring body hair removal, makeup application, lash extensions, deluxe spa facials, etc.

What would you say has been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
To trust in myself and my decisions has been number 1! Also that nothing is predictable.

Change and shifts are always happening and how to navigate them has been one of my most important and hardest lessons to learn. You can’t control everything but you can give it your all and hope for the best sometimes.

Pricing:

  • Sugaring Brazilain $65
  • Brazilian sugaring and Vagacial $110-$120
  • Deluxe Signature Facial $110
  • PMU prices vary
  • Makeup application $85-$100 varies

Contact Info:


Image Credits

@darkhorsephotography

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