This is a matter people are forever inquisitive about and so I have decided to shed some light on my perspective. I graduated in Psychology and Criminology and almost immediately after took the decision to get married and begin a family. Not wanting to compromise motherhood in the least, I chose to start up a home based business which would rarely involve time away from my son.
I was never really brilliant at art but I’ve always had a creative side. I found drawing and design to be rather therapeutic. I feel that it’s imperative to have a creative outlet. I completed a course with a world leading henna artist and could never have imagined the journey I was about to embark on…
I often get the impression that people envision me to be a ‘super mum’ juggling married life, motherhood and a business all on my own. Although this is somewhat true, there is in fact a small team of people who have been involved in the journey of Bespoke Henna thus far. Unfortunately, my business isn’t as straightforward as simply painting and attending to customers. Although this is unquestionably the biggest role I play, we currently find ourselves in the midst of economic fragility and the task of gaining any form of exposure and subsequently building upon a solid client base has proven to be very tedious.
Social Media has been a blessing in this sense as although time consuming, addictive and requiring much dedication, it’s awesome to be able to communicate with people so directly. We attend events throughout the year and my website bespokehenna.com is also regularly updated. I recently appeared on the Islam Channel’s popular lifestyle program ‘Living the Life’ which broadcasted live in numerous countries across the globe. I have also featured in several magazines, with more scheduled for the coming months. This has helped enormously with exposure and public interest. I have to put the media coverage down to sheer luck; a question of being in the right place at the right time. I have been blessed to meet some lovely people and make lasting friendships on the journey so far.
So, who exactly does ‘We’ consist of? I have to credit my family who have always been supportive from the very beginning. I am just a few roads down from my parent’s home so I always have help with things like childcare if need be. My father has kindly sacrificed an area of his office space where I’m able to operate from and is often used as a London pick up point for customers. My husband dispatches all of my parcels and replenishes my stock so that I can be at home with my son and prioritise the painting.
Team FARA – comprises of my closest friends (Fahmeeda, Adeel, Rabiah and Arif). They assist with pretty much everything marketing related, play an active role at all of the events I exhibit at, occasionally take control of my social networking pages and deal with my accounts. As anyone who knows me will testify, my maths skills are horrific! My childhood friend Rabiah plays quite a large advisory role within the business in addition to managing the website. Very few decisions are made without running them by her first. The help and support from close friends has been essential for me in pushing Bespoke Henna. Not only is the practical help vital, but the boost in confidence and self belief they give drives me to make Bespoke Henna the best it can be. I am quite the pessimist at times, so surrounding myself with positive people really helps.
A typical day for me – consists a lot of painting, brainstorming of new ideas and replying to email queries. My son is most often by my side throughout the entire day and insists on painting with me (on a separate canvas of course!). He is 3 years old now so it’s not so difficult to keep him occupied with activities. As it happens, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as he is a lover of art and creativity too! He often observes my technique and provides much needed motivation when telling me my work is beautiful. Having a house to run means a lot of my work is done late in the evenings and often throughout the night until around 3am. Sounds crazy but working at night proves to be the most effective time to concentrate and vent my creativity. Naturally this means that I often find myself compromising sleep, especially during busy periods, but nobody said it would be easy right? I am constantly operating from my phone whether it’s replying to queries or generating invoices. I guess I could be described as a workaholic; it never really ends.
I don’t come from a business background so I was definitely in for a shock when I realised how much time and effort was involved in running even the smallest of businesses, which reminds me of a quote I now often swear by:
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work” ~ Colin Powell