SHERIDAN — Paige Pozos is a tattoo artist. She owns a small business on Main Street, just off of the bustling center of downtown Sheridan. Her cosmetic tattoo business, Forever Flawless, is booming.
Perhaps no one is more thankful for what she has than Pozos.
She’s been through the gauntlet — shaking off the chains of poverty, battling through traumatic experiences and surviving domestic abuse.
But after everything the world has thrown at her, Pozos is still standing. And through her work as a tattoo artist, with a little help from a state grant, she has found a better life.
Pozos had hit rock bottom.
She was a single mother living in California miles away from her family. She had been a victim of domestic violence and had struggled for many years to make ends meet as a bartender.
A terrible incident while working as a bartender resulted in Pozos having to cope with post-traumatic stress and depression.
Pozos wanted a better life for herself and her daughter. So she and her daughter packed everything they had into two suitcases and headed to Sheridan.
“It was a long road for me,” Pozos said. “I changed all the people I hung around with … I just started making better choices — I didn’t want what happened to me to happen again.”
She spent a year and a half working a number of vocational jobs, trying to find her passion and to make her way out of poverty. Pozos worked full time, but she had to accept welfare — which was not easy for a woman who prides herself on being independent.
Then, Pozos was introduced to a grant provided by the Wyoming Department of Vocational Rehabilitation that helped her get the training and certifications she needed to start a business. The grant process took about a year and a half and only a handful of the grants are distributed annually.
The process was long and tedious, but Pozos now fully supports herself and her daughter through a tattooing business.
“It took a year and a half,” Pozos said. “But if you think about it, that’s nothing. Some people spend their entire lives on welfare … but that’s not what I wanted. That wasn’t something I was proud of. But what I was proud of was getting out of the system and being out on my own.”
It’s a business that seems bizarre to many — using tattooing techniques to create permanent makeup for women.
But Forever Flawless is a far cry from your typical tattoo shop.
There is no heavy metal music playing in her studio, nor does she use loud and painful tattooing machines near her clients’ faces.
Instead, her studio resembles a spa. Pozos uses a minimally invasive process using the tap method to create long-lasting eye liner, artificial eyebrows and other cosmetic features.
Pozos has said, though, that likely the most rewarding aspect of her job is working with breast cancer survivors. Pozos does work on scar blending and areola pigmentation for cancer survivors who have had mastectomies.
“The first time I did it, I realized by the responses that I got … it was an overwhelming positive response,” Pozos said. “I really didn’t realize what I was doing was such a big deal and that it really affected other people’s lives. To me it was just tattooing. I realized there was a lot more to what I was doing — that there was a lot more to it than just cosmetics.”
Pozos also donates several procedures every year for those in need. She is hoping to expand her work alongside the medical community and cancer centers to help women recover from procedures.
Forever Flawless continues to grow every day to the point that Pozos’ clients have to book an appointment almost six weeks in advance.
But most importantly to Pozos, she has built a better life. She can now afford clothing and haircuts and she has the ability to pay all of her bills on time. Everyday, Pozos wakes up loving what she does, and loving the life that she hopes to build for her daughter.
“I don’t struggle anymore, I feel like I am putting something positive back into the community that helped me get out of the situation that I was in,” Pozos said. “I am very grateful to be where I am today.”