Claudia “Sunny” Hayes is a young entrepreneur pursuing her dream when she got diagnosed with breast cancer at 25. She was 23 when she first launched her own eyelash business. Just two years after, and in the middle of her thriving career, a fatal sickness came into her life. Instead of letting cancer ruin all ‘she’s worked for, Sunny Hayes ‘didn’t let the illness affect her light and positivity. She didn’t let cancer take her will to make her entrepreneurial visions come true.
Rage Hair Salon in Chicago is where you can find Claudia “Sunny” Hayes running the successful business she calls, Eye Slay Minks. Sunny’s eyelash business started in 2016. Two years after the launch, she received a diagnosis of stage II invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer.
“It all happened so fast […] it ‘didn’t dawn on me—what I was about to go through—until I started chemotherapy,” Sunny said in an interview with cancerwellness.com. She said she knew there was something wrong when she felt a lump in her chest. Partner of Sunny’s mom, who is a two-time breast cancer survivor, advised her to get her chest checked.
Before launching her eyelash business, Sunny already has a loyal social media following due to her bright smile and positive personality. Her following helped in the launching of her business. Apart from eyelash extensions, Eye Slay Minks also offers training classes to help aspiring entrepreneurs kick start their business in the beauty industry.
“That first, like eight weeks [of treatment] was crazy, like I was rethinking my whole entire business,” Sunny said in the interview. Instead of letting her sickness stop her from achieving her goals, Sunny didn’t let cancer hold her back.
Sunny added, “I’m knowing my clients were still very supportive, but it was fluctuating—like they think ‘I’m sick, so they ‘don’t want to bother me, but ‘it’s like, can you come when ‘I’m not sick?”
Though suffering from regular chemotherapy sessions, Sunny poured her pain through outstanding work ethic and fiery passion for entrepreneurship. As she changed medications and began having a routine of chemotherapy sessions, Sunny slowly got back the control of her life. Clients were seen coming back to her salon, and she started setting her sights higher.
“My business is going to go as far as I want it to go,” according to Sunny in the interview. “It’s going to go so much farther than just doing lashes. Right now, ‘I’m still in the beginning of my career, you know? ‘I’m getting up there, but in due time this is going to go far.”
Sunny sees to grow her business into makeup application and hair extensions. She’s sure that when her therapies are over, and when the doctor confirmed her NED, she can then devote all her time and energy to her business.
“I’m going to be able to do what I want to do as far as expanding my business. Right now, ‘it’s really hard to make a lot of moves when ‘you’ve got to go to the doctor every weekend, knocked out tired for twelve hours,” Sunny said. “‘I’m just really ready for all of this to be over.”
Sunny worked an unsatisfying retail job before she started Eye Slay Minks. “I was waking up every day, hating going to work,” Sunny recalls. But then, “I went and got my lashes done, and ‘that’s what started it.”
She quickly found a class online and began her training to get a certification in providing eyelash extensions.
“I took the class, and I quit my job the same day,” Sunny told cancerwellness.com. She felt happy being the boss of her own and having all the control to make her business work.
“A self-investment is the best investment,” Sunny added.
Sunny offered a piece of advice to all people who dream of starting their business: “Set goals […] When you write your goals down when you can see what you want, ‘it’s easier to manifest them.”
According to Sunny, hard work and being able to focus are the primary keys of her success. Sunny said, “entrepreneurship ‘isn’t easy. Goals, and consistency, and just focusing on getting the job done, ‘that’s like 100 percent success guaranteed.”
When you love what you do, nothing is difficult. Sunny said in the interview, “I meet new people every day, and ‘I’m totally a people person […] ‘I’m running into women all day long and […] they love their lashes. [They say], ”Oh, my God; I look like a totally different person,” [and] ‘it’s like, I did that.”
Sunny connects with others fighting against cancer through social media. “So many people send me messages, and girls they send me pictures with [their] bald head, and ‘I’m like, ”Girl, you fine,” she laughs.
Sunny added, “I’m just here to encourage the next person because now that is me; I feel like staying focused is the best thing you can do.”
A cancer diagnosis ‘could’ve caused Sunny to give up, destroy all her plans – but it ‘didn’t. Sunny have hopes high that she will get through the other side and come out fresh with a new perspective on having a healthy, happy, and successful life.
“I try not to let it affect my attitude, my day, my positivity,” Sunny said.
Sunny Hayes, says ‘she’s proud of her takeaway: “I think ‘I’m much stronger than I was before getting diagnosed.”
She added, “I thought that when they first told me
these months will be the worst times in my life. ‘I’ll be depressed and […] scared. I ‘didn’t know what to expect, but ‘I’m way stronger than I thought I was.”
[about the cancer]