Sharmeen and Nailah are two sisters who share a common passion: henna. They have excelled in the art of henna application in all its styles (bridal, gulf, Arabic, Indian) and offer their services for all occasions such as weddings, birthdays, festivals, etc.
Iqra News finds out more about them.
Please tell us briefly about yourself
Sharmeen: I'm Sharmeen, a 26-year old mum of a lovely daughter. I like reading, playing games, drawing, watching TV and listening to music.
Nailah: I'm Sana Nailah, 20 years old. I enjoy drawing, sewing and designing boxes for wedding, birthdays and so on. I'm a creative person.
When did you start your business?
Sharmeen: Not that I have a good memory but it's just something unforgettable. I started at the age of 11, thanks to my dad who found customers for me; he was the one to take me to them and would bring me after I finished my work. Sometimes my brother would accompany as well. It's true, at that age, I wasn't that mature, I didn't quite understand what I was actually doing. I didn't even know how much I should charge my clients. On top of that, I didn't have a mobile phone with camera at that time, in other words, I wasn't able to show my designs easily. "TRUST" was the key. I had to gain the trust of my clients which wasn't quite hard. All of them were satisfied and they still are. Little by little, people started talking about me, news that I know how to apply HENNA beautifully was spreading, I became quite famous. Friends, family of friends, wanted to hire my henna application services. Then came the net. I got a good mobile, I started to share my designs so that my clients would be able to choose or I simply applied their own designs which was an easy task, I can draw anything, it's in my blood. Furthermore, I got married, I'm quite lucky because my husband understands my job and supports me a lot. Today I'm able to travel everywhere in Mauritius thanks to my husband’s support because my clients live far. I go at the place of my clients or they simply come at my place. It's true, it's quite tiresome so in that case I sometimes bring my little sister with me and of course she would be paid.
Nailah: I started at the age of 15. I used to draw henna designs, cars, mangas, flowers and a lot of silly stuffs on pages. At the same time, my sister noticed my talent and took me along with her to assist her apply henna on her clients. It was great to earn my own income at that young age. It was enjoyable since it's something I like doing. Furthermore, I started applying henna with my sisters, friends and even to some Moroccan ladies who got my number from friends. I started to like it even more. This job made me become quite famous and I met a lot of awesome people from different countries. With great support, there is success. My parents, sisters and brother, they all supported me. My future husband supports me too and he even bought a moto to make it easier for me to go to my client's place. Today I have my own page on facebook, I must say that the net is quite helpful too. I'm a well-known lady today for sewing pillows, applying henna and so on. I've become quite independent, I buy my own clothes, I buy my provisions and this independence makes me stronger. As a teenager, instead of letting myself go ashtray and taking the wrong path, I'm doing this and hopefully young girls will follow me too.
Sharmeen: Hmm, actually, I've always liked drawing. I love to draw! I was attracted to henna designs. Most of my books or copybooks were covered with henna designs. And yes, my mum! My mum knew how to apply henna too, she used to apply it on my hands and those of my sisters. I would use the remaining henna to draw on paper afterwards. Then, I decided to apply it on my hands and it turned out awesome. So I applied on mum, she adored it and told me that I'm talented. She encouraged me to go further and the further leads to what I've become today. "Thank you so much MUM!"
Nailah: I got inspired by my sister Sharmeen, who does the same activity as me today. I was encouraged by her as well. It's not something that I was forced to do, like most people are working to earn a living, nah, far from it, it's something that I love doing. I like creating designs on my own, just like when I sew. I'm good in those stuffs.
How does it feel to be independent?
Sharmeen: Well, to be candid, nowadays life is hard. Everything is expensive. I do that so that I don't become dependent on anyone. I can buy whatever I want, whenever I want. Now with a daughter, my expenses have increased. Even if I don't work everyday, it is indeed very helpful.
Nailah: I share the same views as my sis!
Tell us about the Henna you use
Sharmeen: Well, I kinda use all types of Mehendi. I've used brands like Peeroo, Shenaz, Najaa, Golecha and so on. Honestly, it depends on my clients. Sometimes they already buy their own henna and sometimes they would tell me to buy for them but they choose what they like. As for me, I've always used Peeroo brand, donc je reste fidèle à Peeroo. All henna are good though, I'm satisfied with all, what matters is the smile of my clients.
Nailah: Actually, it depends on clients’ choice. I use what they want me to. But personally, I prefer Peeroo and Dulhan brands. I'm used to these two.
According to you, how can the government assist small entrepreneur like you?
Sharmeen: Hmm, I think there are many talented people just like me out there. The government should provide necessary facilities so we could teach others and help them to develop their skills.
Nailah: By offering free courses of course! Not only about henna, it can be cooking, crafts, etc. This will help youngsters develop their talents, even our elders might find these helpful.
What are your future plans?
Sharmeen: Hah! Good question indeed. My dream is to offer henna courses. Of course, if one day I do get the opportunity to do so, I will do it. In the meantime, I will teach my daughter so that when she goes to college she can earn her pocket money from her talent and learns to become independent.
Nailah: I have only one. To find a suitable place to display products I create, my pillows, cushions, boxes and of course to apply henna.
Do you have a message for ladies who want to stand on their own feet?
Sharmeen: Yes! We all have a secret skill, search for it, develop it and achieve it. If you have great support, you will definitely succeed. Everything is expensive nowadays, we should find ways to earn money on our own.
Nailah: Dear ladies, if you like doing something, if you think you are excellent in a specific area, if you find yourself enjoying it, think positively, don't ever give up, remove those fears, go forward, do sacrifices like for example to take a bus to go and meet far away clients, just do so but do your best to achieve your dreams. With difficulties come ease, right? Ups and downs exist but just get ready to push the downs away.
Interview by Mehreen
(They can be contacted on 59796622)
On facebook: Nailah's collection