Sonya Wagstaff

by Terry Watson | July 21st, 2020
Sonya Wagstaff (Photos by JLG Photography)

Sonya Wagstaff (Photos by JLG Photography)

Dating back to 2009, Sonya Wagstaff was paying attention when then First Lady, Michelle Obama launched her “Let’s Move” campaign to introduce healthy living to children and families. But her initial motivation to lead a healthier lifestyle came on the heels of the passing of her mother, who unfortunately succumbed to cancer several years prior. Like the first lady, Wagstaff, a fitness coach and educator, ran her own nonprofit, Kid Fit For Life, Inc., because she also wanted to impact children in a different way.

The next year, Wagstaff became interested in publishing and wanted to do more with her brand, Wagstaff Enterprises, LLC. Her first book, ‘Sonya Blade’ Poems was published in 2010 with another one in 2019 that was an Amazon Bestseller and one soon to be released in 2020. In 2010 she subsequently started a mentoring program, ‘Girls Without Walls’, that focused on self-esteem, self-confidence, and motivational concepts. Continuing on her path of health and wellness, producing products that are good for you inside and out, and finding her passion.

“I started asking myself what I like to do. I’m a fashionista, I’m creative and I have my own style. I’d already had some make-up artist training and loved applying my own make up. I had experience with retail so I thought about cosmetics,” says Wagstaff. Not only did she teach kids a new way of living, but now she wanted to introduce women to different products that are healthy. Melanated skin can sometimes be sensitive so quality products are key.

Concerned with budget, the fashion guru decided to start out small, not wanting to exhaust her educator salary. She began her two-year research process on how to produce chemical-free items but market them to the city of Winston Salem. Chemistry wasn’t her background, so she partnered with a team of manufacturers to produce her first high-quality lipstick. It is vegan and free from harmful chemicals like toluene, formaldehyde, paraben, and resin. It’s also not tested on animals.

In April 2018, she launched Lipstick by Wagstaff. She began selling to her friends, family and church members and the response was amazing. Her clientele grew by word of mouth and her customers gave her great feedback. “They loved the variety of colors, that it was long-lasting, and the quality,” she explains.

Like a responsible entrepreneur, she immediately invested her profits into expanding her scope and added lip gloss to the line. She didn’t want to rush and expand, but she did want to support her customers’ needs and requests. Five months later, she added blush, eye shadow and recently launched five variations of her facial mask, with a full line on deck by the end of 2020.

Social media has been a saving grace for Wagstaff Cosmetics, while the website is being built. She is also thankful for her repeat customers who faithfully support her with purchases and referrals. She relies on volunteers to help her behind the scenes and hopes to hire a social media manager soon.

Wagstaff has recently approached Whole Foods and other stores about carrying the line of products in their local stores. “Right now, I’m interested in adding independent distributors to create an opportunity for them have their own business, while I reach a broader customer base at one time.” A small storefront is a thought she’s exploring as well.

In the last two years since launching Wagstaff Cosmetics, LLC, the owner has been busy as a leader in the education field, attended graduate school and leadership programs that has caused her to pace the growth, but she feels now is the time act on it.

“I’ve had women immediately purchase a mask and then ask for a whole skincare system set, from the cleansers to the primer or serum,” says Wagstaff. There is definitely great opportunity to create more and expand because different customers have different needs, and Wagstaff plans to service every person she can.

When she’s not beautifying the community, the Winston-Salem State University graduate works for Guilford County Schools as an Institutional Facilitator, leading a team of teachers. She also teaches math, ELA, and advises the Coding and Robotics Club at her school.

As a business owner, Wagstaff encourages those interested in throwing their hat into the ring, to first believe in God. “It doesn’t always take a lot of money to get started or move on a vision or concept. But make sure you do your research. Become educated in your field. And seek out mentors to help groom and shape you for what you want.”

Wagstaff just wants to be able to impact women in a great way. And what better way than making sure they’ll be healthy, happy and beautiful?

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