Community connections: HCC alumna finds success and gives back to her community
Houston Community College alumna Kim Roxie, founder of award-winning LAMIK Beauty and entrepreneur extraordinaire hosted a networking event at her studios on Greenbriar in July. Ten percent of the proceeds of all LAMIK purchased during the event went to the HCC Foundation in support of scholarships for HCC students. Roxie, a 2006 graduate of HCC’s cosmetology program, started a line of eco-friendly makeup in her kitchen and opened her own business, LAMIK Beauty. Her makeup line is now sold in regional Macy’s stores. In 2012 Kim also graduated from HCC’s Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, a program designed to empower small business owners to grow their businesses.
The beauty of women – all women – is a subject near and dear to Roxie’s heart . While still in her 20s, she has spent the past eight years nurturing her self-run company, LAMIK Beauty (lamik-beauty.com). The makeup company, which has a distinct environmental bent, just took a giant leap forward by contracting with regional Macy’s stores.
Of LAMIK – an acronym for Love And Makeup In Kindness – Roxie says, “We celebrate women; we celebrate the achievements of women; we celebrate the beauty of women.” She emphasizes that her approach is to enhance the natural beauty of women. “We believe that beauty is revealed, not applied. We feel that every woman is beautiful, and that’s just a fact. A lot of times it just has to be revealed.”
A native Houstonian and former cheerleader at James Madison High School, she started off on a small scale years ago, creating makeup “concoctions” in her kitchen. “I always say God turned on my light bulb,” she says, adding “immediately I had to create a product line.”
“I have always been an artist,” the 29-year old says, noting that she trained for 10 years as a classical pianist. “I started to realize that women needed more shades, women were not being served in the marketplace by what makeup they needed, and that we were not addressing makeup correctly. We were hitting it from a cover-up basis rather than a revealing basis. So all those different aspects made me realize that I had to create this line. And I had to open up my first store here in Houston.”
Early on, she began attending classes at HCC during her summers back home from Clark Atlanta College. She returned to HCC upon graduation, earning her aesthetician license in 2006 through the cosmetology department, one of HCC’s many workforce programs.
After going to college in Atlanta, she says, “I thought, ‘I want to be in Houston, and I want to build my business here. I should go somewhere local.’ So I went to HCC.
“HCC stood out to me because I knew people at HCC who I value as people that were educated. When I saw the actual price of the program, I thought, ‘Why would I choose anywhere else when I can come here and get a substantial education and not pay some kind of crazy private cost that most people pay?’ I thought it was an opportunity.”
HCC taught her about customer service and business ethics, tools that would serve her well as an entrepreneur. “A lot of those core principles I use on my staff,” she says, “and how we should treat customers based on those ethical practices I learned at HCC during class.”
Her deal with Macy’s came as a result of the Workshop at Macy’s, which she learned about at a business conference in Miami. “Basically, they look for minority-owned or women-owned businesses that have products that could potentially sell at a retail counter,” she says. She applied, and LAMIK was one of 22 businesses accepted into the workshop.
She compares the intensive, weeklong program to getting a retail MBA. The initiative taught her how to do business with a major retailer.
“It is a great partnership, and it is a business opportunity for LAMIK as well as for Macy’s,” she says, noting that her company will fill a void at the retail chain. “We bring what they need, and that is a makeup line that provides an array of shades, that speaks to a modern woman, and is current. And that is what the beauty industry really needs right now.”
In addition to the unique approach at LAMIK, which Roxie founded in 2004, the company has had a commitment to health and the environment since it began. The makeup is paraben-free, and the packaging is created from post-recycled paper. This made LAMIK a finalist in the International Package Design Awards for green packaging.
Roxie now contributes to HCC as a speaker. LAMIK is also paying for one of its six employees to attend the aesthetics program at HCC and plans to do the same for another. “It is our way of being able to perpetuate the great cosmetology program at HCC,” Roxie says while crediting the school for launching her highly successful career as an entrepreneur.
“You don’t have to wait until you get old to discover something great,” she says. “HCC assisted me in doing that. If I did not have HCC to be that steppingstone, to get me there, then I would not be fortunate enough to be in this position to be able to launch inside of Macy’s.
“HCC boasts affordability and quality of education. HCC is not a ‘cheap’ education. You can get a great education locally.”
And that education, combined with her ideas and drive, allowed her to be a success in her hometown and to give back to Houston. “I am most proud of the fact that I took advantage of a local education and now am able to bring that kind of influence back to my community, to be able to enhance my community,” Roxie says. “You can go to HCC, a local college, and still do great things and change the whole world.”
Reprinted from the HCC Alumni Association & the HCC Foundation’s SOAR Magazine, Spring 2012 Edition
Photo: Jessica Ham