How This Survivor Of Domestic Abuse And Cancer Turned $6000 Into A Million-Dollar Beauty Business

For years, all Prados Beauty founder Cece Meadows needed was a chance. Meadows is a survivor of both cancer and domestic abuse who’s been dealt her fair share of bad hands. She is an indigenous woman with Yoeme and Nʉmʉnʉ ancestry who has experienced homelessness. Yet, she never let her struggles dim her spirit.

At just 27 years old, Meadows was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and the life-changing diagnosis didn’t only affect her health. Like so many cancer patients, the treatment changed how she saw herself.

According to Meadows in an interview she gave to Beauty Independent, it was at this point in her life that she really embraced the transformative powers of makeup.

As she recalled, it was after her friends at the MAC counter gave her a makeover that she had a revelation. “I remember vividly thinking to myself, ‘I look like a completely different person, and I want to spend the rest of my life helping people feel and look beautiful,’” Meadows remembered.

When her cancer went into remission, she never let go of her purpose. According to Meadows, she began volunteering at children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses to sit with people going through treatment and do their makeup.

For years, Meadows tried to chase her dream of working in the beauty world. However, she was forced to drop out of cosmetology school when she became homeless while suffering from the effects of domestic violence. Still, that wasn’t the end for Meadows. As a mother of two, she was determined to make the most out of her situation.

Eventually, Meadows met her husband, got married, and finally had the financial support she lacked for so long. She became a stay-at-home mom, but her drive to work still persisted. That was when she started pouring her energy—all of the energy she saved for so long to just stay alive—back into makeup.

Prados Beauty, Meadows’ beauty company, wasn’t an overnight success. Wanting to operate completely independently, she worked to fund the project herself. When she finally made the leap, she only had $6,000.

As she recalled, the business didn’t turn a profit for years. After pouring her blood, sweat, and tears into the company—and taking on thousands and thousands of dollars in debt—the dam finally broke loose.

Prados Beauty signed a deal with J.C. Penny and Thirteen Lane. Within a few years, Prados Beauty went from earning $17,000 in yearly sales to $1.5 million in 2022. Still, Meadows’ vision remains clear.

According to the founder, she still is focused on investing right back into her community. “The Prados promise is us giving back to our communities where we live and the communities that are all around us,” Meadows told Beauty Independent.

Cece Meadows is proof that so many of us have the drive to turn our dreams into reality. All we really need is for someone to give us the opportunity to prove ourselves.

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