Chaquilla Stewart

Event Planner, Nail Technician and Makeup Artist; Future Spa Owner

​“I want to open a full-service day spa in the Cedar Hill area. I worked for eight years in my mom’s spa in Little Rock, and I knew that I wanted to have my own business someday. I started looking around for a place to learn how to run my own business, and it just wasn’t available in Arkansas.

“I found out about El Centro and moved to Dallas to take courses in its Small Business Academy. It had everything I knew I needed to learn, including how to write up a business plan, bookkeeping, business laws, market my business and network with people to get advice and financing.

“I knew that this business would be a good fit for me because I’d already worked in a spa for years as my mom’s business manager. I’m a people person; I like making people happy and I want them to leave feeling like a hundred bucks — that's why I love to do nails and makeup. My clients are also friends, and I serve as their consultant and counselor in a way. A day spa lets me do what I love and have the joy of being around all kinds of different people — after all, that’s the reason I get up in the morning. I also like the fact that when you run your own business, you can set your own hours, see your own vision come to life and do what makes you feel warm inside.

“I wanted to get the tools to run a successful business, and El Centro’s program gave me everything I need to be successful. All I need to add is my own personal touch and skills. The best thing I learned is how to market myself and network and how to write up my business plan. You write your plan in class, and the instructor goes over it with you, guiding you with what you need to change or do. Then you spend a week with a successful business owner who has financial stability and is in the same market as your start-up business. That way, you get a really good idea of what goes on and what it takes to own your own business. The accounting class was extremely useful too because I’ll have to keep my own books.

“My advice to anyone wanting to learn about starting their own business is to focus your energy and time on learning the program. Take each class seriously, because it will save money, time and mistakes in the end. There’s a fine line between just being an entrepreneur and being a successful entrepreneur. This program has all the tools you need to be successful in the business you want to start.

“Where would I like to see myself in five years? A young, successful business owner changing lives, serving the metroplex with the most enjoyable and talked-about day spa. And I want to be on one of those billboards as a successful student of Dallas College.”

Chaquilla Stewart lacks just one course to complete her certificate in El Centro's​ Small Business Academy. She is in the developmental stages of planning to be a full-service spa owner, currently seeking financial backing.