For Latesha Lipscomb, winning 5×5 Night last month was a long time coming.
“I wasn’t going to do it,” Lipscomb said. “I had done 5×5 twice in the past, and I had come really close to being able to present, but each time I was devastated because I wasn’t selected. I was really discouraged.”
Lipscomb launched her beauty business, I Got Face, in 2010 out of her live work/space on Division Ave. She entered 5×5 Night at the last minute after receiving encouragement from the community.
“I got several emails from several people from all different walks of life in the community telling me that I should do 5×5,” Lipscomb said. “I am a firm believer that if you hear something three times, then it must be meant to be.”
Lipscomb offers beauty services to both men and women and provides more than just your run-of-the-mill makeover; I Got Face connects wardrobe stylists, makeup artists, photographers and hair stylists to different projects all around the city. By utilizing this network, Lipscomb is able to go beyond the normal limitations of a typical makeup service.
“I Got Face is not just makeup,” Lipscomb said. “…We aim to be a one-stop-shop. We really have no limits. One day I could be servicing a gentlemen who is doing a commercial, or who has an interview on Fox 17, and the next day, me and the glam squad can be teaching a course.”
Lipscomb has a law degree from Boston College, and for years has balanced life between working in the non-profit sector and her entrepreneurial pursuits.
“I have both sides that really call to me and speak to me,” Lipscomb said. “What makes makeup so special, is that I consider it to be a ministry. The reason I consider it to be a ministry is that 9 times out of 10, you sit down with someone that is a stranger, and after 30 or 40 minutes, you always part as fast friends.”
Although Lipscomb has been operating her business in Grand Rapids for six years, the opportunities for growth have been limited due to the difficulties many small business owners face when trying to secure capital. So far, every penny that has gone into I Got Face has come from Lipscomb’s own pocket.
“It is not easy to get a loan as a small business owner. So this (winning 5×5) has been really inspiring,” Limpscomb said.
She intends to use the winnings to add a mobile component to I Got Face with a fully equipped beauty truck called At Your Service. She also recently placed third at Spring GR and was awarded $1,000, which she is using to revamp her brick-and-mortar space.
Lipscomb is grateful for the support from the community, and is excited to be a part of the blossoming entrepreneurial ecosystem in Grand Rapids.
“That has been the most rewarding thing…” Lipscomb said. “…Grand Rapids is in the middle of such a renaissance right now. Everything is changing and growing and booming, so the timing was good. People are ready to be a fun, progressive city that takes more risks.”