The Bachelor star, Tatum Hargraves, has revealed how her life came crashing down in 2020
Bachelorette Tatum Hargraves “cry herself to sleep for a month” after becoming unemployed, homeless, losing $62,000 in one soul-destroying week.
The 28-year-old was plunged into despair by the onset of the Covid lockdowns that forced her business to close its doors and put her in financial jeopardy.
But when she bottomed out, she took a risk on a company she’d kept on the back burner — and now it’s making millions.
Speaking to FEMAIL, the Melbourne-based beauty entrepreneur talked about the trauma of 2020, as she quickly went from a very comfortable life as a cosmetic tattooist to sharing a single bed with her three-year-old nephew, wondering ‘how everything is going to get to s**t ‘.
“I would cry in bed while my cousin stroked my arm and told me not to be sad,” she said.
And while she was “super grateful” to her pregnant sister, her truck driver, and their two kids for making room for her in their already cramped two-bedroom apartment, it wasn’t “exactly how she envisioned life in her mid-20s.” .
“It was so surreal, sharing a single bed and listening to my baby niece Camilla whose crib had been moved into the hallway because both bedrooms were full.”
Speaking to FEMAIL, the cosmetic tattooist, who has been doing ‘eyebrows’ for seven years, revealed how her ‘safe’ beauty job vanished overnight
She went from earning a six figure salary to her cousin Sam’s single bed and scrolling desperately for Jobs
Tatum’s fortunes turned around in March 2020, when the government declared that all non-essential businesses would have to close indefinitely to limit the spread of Covid.
She went from a six-figure salary to trawling websites for jobs, along with thousands of other desperate beauty and hospitality workers.
Devastatingly, the loss of her job coincided with the closing date for her purchase of a two-bedroom ocean-view condo that she had purchased off the plan.
She had made a $62,000 down payment on the property but made what she described as a “beginner’s mistake” after failing to ensure the $600,000 settlement was “subject to financing.”
“The banks couldn’t give me money and even my father, who would have been happy to help me with a loan, was ineligible because his gym had to close as well,” she said.
“The developers were not helpful, lenient or empathetic at all and told me that if I complained they would charge me an extra $9,000 so I just had to wash my hands and walk away,” she said.
Tatum’s mother Selina, who is now her business partner, reminded her of the 8,000 eyebrow kits she had in storage after failing to get the business off the ground in January 2019.
Tatum still believed in the product, which she developed for clients who weren’t ready to take on permanent makeup, and realized people were fussing about their eyebrows in lockdown.
“So I lost the whole deposit and didn’t fight because I was afraid of losing even more money that I didn’t have now. It was definitely a huge lesson.”
Unable to pay her rent, Tatum was so desperate to put the disaster behind her that she left it furnished for the next tenant.
“I panicked so much, I’ve had hard times in my life, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t extremely hard. I had panic attacks and couldn’t breathe just thinking about it. It was so scary,” she said.
Amid the fear, Tatum had lost sight of the fact that she was “siting on a gold mine.”
Instagram influencer Amelia Webb was one of the women to show off ‘free’ product from lockdown – weeks later stock sold out quickly
A year earlier, Tatum had developed a DIY eyebrow kit, aiming to capitalize on having become one of Melbourne’s best-known eyebrow tattooists after seven years in the business.
“A lot of clients came to me but were still a little unsure about getting their foreheads tattooed, so I would send them away,” she said.
“They would ask what temporary product I would recommend to give them their desired eyebrow without getting a tattoo — but there wasn’t really anything out there.”
She discovered a way to have such a kit made to her design in Taiwan, so she invested $50,000 of her hard-earned money to have 8,000 kits made.
But when they arrived in Melbourne in January 2019, she realized she didn’t have the know-how to get the brand off the ground and attract customers.
“I had no marketing experience and thought it would be as easy as an influencer to show them off, and I’d sell thousands of them.”
In the meantime, she put her energy into her day job and stacked the kits in a storage shed with no real plan of what to do with them.
Tatum soon enlisted her mother to help her in the business and now has six full-time employees
When the pandemic came and left her unemployed and temporarily homeless, it was Tatum’s mother who reminded her of the eyebrow kits in the storage and encouraged her to finally get the business going.
Tatum believed in her ‘The Brow Technicians’ product, so despite her dented confidence, she listened to her mother and decided to try and get it off the ground.
“It was great timing because people in lockdown were really starting to freak out about their eyebrows,” she said.
“So we gave them to some influencers who were eager to give free tutorials and within a week the orders started pouring in.
“I woke up one morning with orders worth $3,000,” she said.
Within three weeks, she got her three-year-old nephew’s bed back and moved into her own rented house.
“I was running the business from the garage at the time and within three months I had made $100,000,” she said.
It didn’t take long for orders to come not only from individuals, but also from retailers eager to put her kits on their shelves.
In 2021 Tatum had found her way again and was even invited to The Bachelor
“It was a busy time — I never intended to have them in the store, so I didn’t make the boxes with barcodes,” she said.
“So there I stuck thousands of barcodes on boxes and quickly sold out of stock.”
Tatum then got her mother into the business and the couple moved to Queensland to escape the long Victorian lockdowns, spending a few months building the business ‘in the sun’.
They ordered another 16,000 kits and their standout product has been dubbed ‘Australia’s Fastest Selling Eyebrow Kits’.
Tatum now earns a lot more money than when she only did cosmetic tattoos for a living.
She shared this photo of her nephew after he picked flowers and asked her not to be sad
“I started tattooing again on the weekend, I really enjoy it, especially since I’m in front of my computer all week,” she said.
She now employs six people full-time and has also found love after her ill-fated attempts on The Bachelor.
“I really had to rebuild my life from scratch, but it’s better than ever,” she said.
Tatum has yet to enter the real estate market and says she is still “a little scared” after her first disastrous attempt.
It’s been two years since Tatum hit rock bottom and she looks back on that time with bittersweet memories.
“I never expected to spend my nights crying in my cousin’s arms, but I look back now and am so grateful to him. He was my greatest consolation,’ she said.
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