Unveiling the Layers of Entrepreneurial Brilliance

Rochester Woman Online is thrilled to present an exclusive cover story featuring the extraordinary Anarsha O’Mealy, a trailblazing serial entrepreneur whose journey from beauty mogul to real estate investor has been nothing short of inspiring. In this in-depth interview, Anarsha shares her insights, challenges, and the remarkable milestones that have defined her remarkable career.

Anarsha, could you share about your upbringing and background?

My family hails from Jamaica, and I am a first-generation American. Growing up in Rochester within a traditional household, my parents upheld strict standards and had high expectations. While it was challenging, I came to value the structure and discipline instilled in me. I have always had a strong connection to my roots. I’ve always admired how my parents were able to come into this country, not being familiar with the culture or lifestyle and blindly yet somewhat strategically step into the unknown. I intentionally try to make stepping into the unknown a norm. Especially in areas that I know promotes growth. My families entrepreneurial spirit and ability to take major risks has always been my guiding light.

Have you always had a natural inclination towards leadership and entrepreneurship from a young age?

I’ve always known I didn’t fit in and I always stood on what I thought was the direction I should go in even if it contradicted popular opinion. I have been introverted and pretty quiet all my life. Yet, no did not always know that I was a leader. I always been creative, self-motivated and individualistic. I think the things I created whether it be a design in someone’s hair or a beautiful relaxing space is what attracted the attention of others. The leadership skills came later in life as I had to create systems and a team in business.

What inspired you to start your entrepreneurial journey, and when did you realize it was the right path for you?
I’ve always expressed myself artistically and been a creative. For as far back as I remember I was braiding hair, drawing or engaged in some other artistic pursuit. I had a full clientele from an early age but I didn’t realize I was actually running my first business. It was initially just for fun and a creative outlet for me. Creating, building and expanding is what keeps me going. I would say I chose the entrepreneurial path for the freedom to do so and limitless possibilities. I prefer entrepreneurship because it doesn’t put me in a restrictive box when it comes to my daily tasks. It’s also doesn’t put a ceiling on your growth and expansion potential. I feel like I have to constantly learn new skills, being in business allows you to be a life-long student.

Can you share the moment when you first achieved a six-figure income? How did that milestone impact your life and career?

I have worked in quite a few salons before branching out on my own. My first space was actually in the living room of a small apartment I had at the time and this was where I achieved my first six-figure year. When I realized I was making over $100,000 I knew it was time to get a storefront. The business has outgrown the space and I wanted to separate my personal and business spaces.

I was making six figures for quite a while before I told anyone. Outside of opening my first salon, initially my lifestyle did not change. I was pouring all my earnings back into the business. I’m the early years I believe that maintaining a low-expense lifestyle can make or break success. Even on the long term assets should significantly outweigh liabilities and cover any liability costs.

As a successful entrepreneur, especially being a minority woman leader, what advice do you have for others aspiring to reach a similar level of financial success?

I would say you can create and materialize any vision you have in mind for yourself or your company. If you have a burning desire to realize a goal, it can be done! Focus, discipline and keeping your vision at the forefront of your mind daily will get you there. You don’t have to have it all figured out along the way. The answers will come as you collaborate with others, research and continue to gain knowledge in your field and stay grounded in your purpose.

However, It definitely requires daily work. I would say create the routine that works for you and try to have a list of daily tasks that you need to complete everyday. An accumulation of small wins make a huge impact. Discipline and determination are the major keys. The first stages of building may require lifestyle changes. For me prayer, vision boards, in-taking daily motivational content, reading and sacrificing regular entertainment were some of the things I had to incorporate into my lifestyle.

You’re also known for creating Slay Beauty Bar. How did this idea come to fruition, and what makes it unique in the beauty industry?

Slay Beauty Bar which have now evolved into Slay Beauty Suites was my first salon. I wanted to create an attractive space where clients could come and relax, meet with other professionals and get transformational hair and beauty services. My goal was to not only have them leave looking better but also delivering a feeling of overall wellness by the end of a Slay Experience. We also have modern equipment and booking systems that make the client experience seamless as well as current.

In line with our commitment to fostering growth and innovation, we have transitioned to providing suite rental options for beauty professionals. Our newest location is in Henrietta and will be comprised of beauty rental spaces, creating a collaborative environment that fosters entrepreneurship and creativity.

In your journey, what have been some of the most significant challenges you’ve faced as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome them?

In the beginning it was challenging for me to delegate tasks, especially in things I was good at because I wanted things done in a certain way and I didn’t know how to put people in place or even ask for help when I needed it. Initially it was challenging for me because in many ways your business is a part of you so you want it to reflect you and what you have in mind at all times. With time I’ve learned, in order to scale, create balance and have an effective business putting people in place is crucial.

Another challenge in the beginning was eliminating distractions. When you’re in the process of building or scaling a business the ability to focus in on your goals is a major component in your success. Although complete balance is something we all are pursuing but varies based on the individual, managing distractions and keeping people, places and things around you that are in line with your ultimate vision is certainly beneficial.

Could you share a specific instance where you had to adapt and pivot in your career, and how did it affect your business?

A few years back managing all the properties, being a full time hairstylist, managing the salon and having a healthy balanced personal life consumed most of my time. When I retired from being a hands-on hairstylist into full-time management of the businesses, the transition was a huge transformation for me. I had to remove myself from being physically at the Salon to taking care of the daily tasks and operations from behind the scenes. Clients were used to seeing me at the location and when you’re present onsite it was easier to make sure the vibe and quality of service was regulated. I had to learn how create systems and hire new staff to accommodate the change. As an entrepreneur you need to know and take action when it is time to pivot. These changes at the right time can make of break the long-term trajectory of your businesses.

You’ve ventured into real estate investing. What led you to diversify your business portfolio in this way?

Real estate investing is actually the primary foundation of the businesses. Slay Beauty Bar’s first location was my first real estate investment. I then starting buying residential investments properties after that purchase. I appreciate the equity that’s built over time, renovating and decorating spaces, creating housing for families and providing short term housing for guests. Real estate allows me to be creative as well as connect with others while making passive and long term profit. Unless you strategically create your retirement plan, as an entrepreneur you don’t have everything set up for you. Real estate allows me to create additional streams of income that will support not only the present but the future. Real Estate also allows me to provide spaces and services for others which is an impact that provides long lasting value. It’s really about helping others.

As an Airbnb host, what tips can you offer to others looking to be successful in the short-term rental business?

1. Understand your target audience and local rental market to determine demand and pricing.

2. Familiarize yourself with local regulations and zoning laws to ensure compliance with rental property rules.

3. Ensure your property is well-maintained, aesthetically pleasing, clean, and equipped with essential amenities to attract guests.

4. Create a strong online presence through platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, etc. to reach a wide audience of potential guests.

5. Provide exceptional customer service, clear communication, and a seamless booking process to encourage positive reviews and repeat bookings.

6. Set competitive and dynamic pricing based on demand, seasonality, and local events to maximize profitability.

7. Understand that it’s semi-passive. Consider hiring a property manager or using property management software to handle bookings, guest communication, and maintenance tasks efficiently if you don’t plan on investing a lot of your time in the business.

You’re a registered minority women-owned entrepreneur. How has this status influenced your business and your mission?

Being registered as a Minority Women-Owned business allows the business to have access to grants, contracts and networking opportunities that we may not have connected with otherwise. We took this extra step because it of the increased visibility but also being a proud women led business owner I would like to highlight the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the entrepreneurial landscape.

Tell us about your experiences and insights into being a successful businesswoman in Rochester. What makes this city special for you?

Rochester is very special to me. I grew up in the city of Rochester and I’ve always felt a need to give back and reinvest into the community played a major role in shaping who I am today. A lot of my mentors, colleagues, friends and professional network are Rochester natives.

Being familiar with some of the financial challenges, lack of exposure to resources and poverty rates in the city of Rochester motivates me to be a contributor to positive change. I like to help others in any way I can whether it’s providing education about the home buying process, providing an employment opportunity, connecting them to resources or simply providing a space or beauty service.

What does a typical day in your life look like as a multifaceted entrepreneur and CEO?

Most days can be pretty involved. With tasks layered on from managing multiple entities I have to schedule in downtime, self-care and create a rhythm that allows operations to flow.

My mornings are substantial as they set the time for the day. I typically have a quiet moment of reflection, meditation, intention setting and prayer before making phone calls, checking emails or responding to any of the days messages. I have a conversation with my parents every morning before getting into the business routines for any given day.

As I get into the business portion of things there is alot that goes on behind the scenes. Most of my obligations are clerical. However, occasionally you can catch me involved in hands on operations like assembling furniture, installing a chandelier, designing an accent wall or drawing the layout for a new project. I’m pretty multifaceted and over time I’ve learned to do things in contracting, design or programming that I wouldn’t have expected to become a part of my skillset as a byproduct of being in real estate investing or business.

The beauty industry is highly competitive. How do you stay innovative and ahead of the curve in this field?

In the beauty industry I believe it is important to attend hair shows, seminars, pay attention to trends on social media and network with experts in the field. I continuously travel to different cities/countries to broaden my perspective of the past, present and future of beauty. Paris happens to be one of my favorite.

I also understand that not all beauty professionals have the desire, flexibility or resources to travel but I think social media has certainly bridged the gap in exposure. Personally, I try to tailor the content I engage in so it aids in introducing me to new ideas. Professional furthering education courses are also important.

Outside of this, I think that being creative in the beauty industry can be stemmed from a persons natural gifts, internal creativity and wide-ranging mind. Some of the most captivating beauty trends were birthed from visionaries with natural gifts and insight.

What motivates you to keep pushing forward during tough times, both in your personal life and business?

I feel that I am obligated to succeed and I believe that I have been created to maximize my potential on earth to the best of my ability. Being centered in the belief that a part of my purpose is to help others, inspire and be a bright light keeps me going. No matter what happens I stand firm in my “Why?”. When you’re rooted in purpose you must stay aligned with your inner calling. Challenges may arise but returning to and remembering your bottom line is key. Unwavering faith.

It is this generations responsibility to lay the framework so our successors can be better. There are more opportunities available now than ever before. If you feel like there’s more in you or you have a vision to behold. The pain of not seizing opportunities or taking even a small step in that direction can be more crippling than the challenges on the way to realizing your dream.

What makes you happy?

Outside of pursuing growth, goals and purpose my family is very important to me. Pouring into family, friendships and being a positive impact in any given persons’ day that I encounter makes me happy. Some of my personal interests include travel, fashion, spa days and spending time with my yorkie-poo are great pastimes that brings me joy. I am also pretty adventurous, when my friends want to explore a new site or city, take a helicopter to have champagne in the middle of the Grand Canyon or try a new restaurant with exotic foods, I’m the one. I enjoy learning and new experiences. I am thankful to be granted an opportunity at life during the season that we’re in, the world is progressing in many ways more than ever before and becoming more connected. The possibilities are endless.

Being a part of this moment in time makes me happy. I appreciate the opportunity for this interview.

Anarsha N. O’Mealy
Stush International Properties
346 East Ridge Road
Rochester NY, 14621
(585) 576-7364

Slay Beauty Bar LLC.
346 East Ridge Road
Rochester NY, 14621
(585) 576-7364