Takiya La’Shaune Smith was born March 17, 1977 in East. St. Louis, Illinois. She grew up as the daughter of a United States Marine and was raised in Southern California. After graduating high school in 1995, at the age of 18, Smith relocated to Beaufort, SC during the summer of 1996 and has a been a native of the Lowcountry ever since.

Growing up as a military child and traveling the country offered much insight on culture and diversity as well as exposure to many different facets of education and social involvement for Smith. In 2000, at the age of 23, Smith combined her knowledge of administrative skills and labor efforts to start her first business, a residential cleaning company, Top Quality Cleaning Services. Over the years, the business flourished and expanded coast-wide, even changing its name to suit the Low country appeal, to Southern Coastal Cleaning Company.

In 2010, after 10 years of the cleaning industry, and seeking change, Smith entered the beauty industry, obtaining several certifications as a Permanent Cosmetic Professional, Eyelash Extension and Eyebrow Threading stylist, with and overall focus on beauty consulting. Smith launched the very first specialty beauty boutique, Beautique Lash & Brow, in the area and between Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. The beauty boutique quickly gained local, national and even international exposure with Smith herself, including her work, being selected and showcased in several magazines, publications, on television and stage plays. Such credits to date are Extreme Makeover – Home Edition, Sophisticate’s Black Hair Magazine, Tiffany Anisette – The B.A.G. and Estrea, an International skincare and cosmetic line, based out of Hungary in Central Europe.

Smith, who has always loved fashion, design and beauty, soon and quickly realized that the beauty industry was where she belonged and wanted to be. In 2011, Smith was offered the role as a beauty columnist and began writing articles for a local newspaper publishing firm, The Island News. To date, Smith continues to share her inspiration, insight and personal experiences regarding inner and outer beauty in her columns, and has even launched and serves as the Editor and Creative Director her own quarterly magazine, “Beauty Speaks”.

In May 2011, desiring to expand her horizon and education, Smith enrolled in the Cosmetology program at the Technical College of the Lowcountry. With perseverance and dedication, Smith managed to run an expanding full time business, attend school full time, solely parent her two children full time and maintain regular membership attendance as well as leadership involvement with her church of 16 years, Life House Church.

During the nineteen months of her schooling, Smith was present on the Dean’s and Presidents academic honors list and graduated Cum Laude with an overall GPA of 3.74. On May 3, 2013, Smith was nominated and chosen as the Outstanding Graduate Honoree of the Cosmetology Industrial Technology Program. Smith was also selected to speak on behalf of the graduating class as the Student Speaker Honoree and on May 10, 2013 delivered the student address to a crowd of over 1000 onlookers composed of family, friends, fellow graduates and the community.

In April 2013, Smith released her first published book, “Never Forsaken” an autobiography chronicling Smith’s journey from childhood to womanhood that offers a story of tragedy to triumph regarding Smith’s life struggles with mental, verbal, sexual and physical abuse, low self-esteem, poverty and homelessness. Smith has been called by God to share her story and reveal His purpose in her life for others and fervently does so in her speaking, mentoring and business endeavors. Smith has a ministry gift to reach out to all and a passion to encourage, motivate and inspire women and girls.

Meet Takiya