Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017

Woman of Wilson: Laura Beth Ray

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Laura Beth Ray is a busy lady these days.

When she isn't helping women look and feel better at Beauty Boutique - a salon and spa in Lebanon - the popular cosmetologist and aesthetician is preparing to marry the love of her life this fall.

Ray is originally from Wilson County but spent much of her young life in Valdosta, Ga. with her mother. Ray attended Valdosta Technical College following high school graduation and obtained her cosmetology license in 2010. Later that year Ray returned to earn her Esthetics license.

Working at Beauty Boutique doesn't feel like a job because she is able to do what she loves every day. "I feel like this is where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing in life," she said. "I am super lucky to work with such an outstanding team. Being able to go to work every day and be around people you love is a great feeling."

Ray is passionate about providing the best services to her "amazing" clients and is an advocate for continued learning. "This industry is constantly changing, and it is imperative to take classes and learn. Attending the Premier Orlando Hair Show is one of my favorite times of the year. To be able to learn from such big names in the industry like Candy Shaw, Martin Parsons, Kim Vo and many more is such an incredible experience," she raved.

Ray is anticipating another wonderful experience in October - when she will travel to Jamaica and wed fiancé Elliot Sweat.

Ray met Sweat in 2010 through a family member. "After dating for a year, I decided to move back to Tennessee. I knew he was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and Tennessee was where I wanted to be," she said. "I had recently lost my father, Randy Ray, and after meeting Elliot his love and laughter made my heart whole again."

Sweat proposed on a family beach trip in August 2015.

In her spare time, Ray enjoys being with Sweat, spending time outdoors and kayaking. She also adores her dogs, Luna, Nala and Yeti, who are her "children and are so very special to me."

The women Ray most admires are her grandmothers, Nova Ray and Katie Schutt; her cousin, Necole Bell; and her mother, Kim McNeal.

"My mom would have to be the woman I admire the most. She has taught me to love, laugh and enjoy life," she said. "She has taught me hard work and dedication will take you far - and she has always encouraged me to follow my dreams. I am so grateful to have a mother who loves me unconditionally and has always been my number one fan."

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