Art is life. Aaisha Zulfikar discovered her love for the arts a pretty young age, always doodling in her exercise books (often getting into trouble with the teachers). Now, at age 20, Aaisha has found a way to earn a living from her artwork. However, she is currently studying Business Administration at Cambridge University. She lives in an extended family in Nairobi. Speaking to Insyder’s Zahra, while treating her to her art, Aaisha had this to share;
What do you do?
I am an artist who mainly specializes in temporary tattoos on the skin and nails.
When did you start this project/business?
I have been practicing my art for the past 5 years but turned my talent into a business early 2014
Why did you pick this and not any other project/business?
I already had the talent for this. It is in-born. I could do it pretty well already, rather than practicing and learning something totally different and new from the start. Plus it fits right in perfectly with my lifestyle, and I do not have to sacrifice things like school time (you know the assignments and such).
Where do you showcase your business?
You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MehendiByAaisha. I mainly operate my business from home. Often, however, I do a lot of bridal parties, these are the most fun. Also I attend several ‘open tent’ events where I also print my tattoos on people.
How do you do your work?
When working from home, as are most cases, I usually have my customers seated and relaxed as I mix my pastes of henna. The customer is always right, so I always try ensure their comfort, as a priority.
Do you have any sponsors or such? Who supports your business?
I do not have any sponsors. As it is a small scale business, I chip in my own capital. It works so far, as it pays its own bills plus adds me more pocket money. I love it!!
What are your future plans for your business? Where do you see it in the near future?
I want to expand my business by first starting up a school. I have noticed that many people have the passion for this type of art, but don’t get the chance to learn it well. My institution will enable them to perfect their skills.
I can see my business flourishing. Most of the people I encounter, really love the idea of tattoos, but are not up for the permanent ones.
I will also get a boutique-cum-spa, where I will continue with the art commercially. On top of the temporary tattoos, manicures and pedicures I already offer, I will also have beauty products on sale, massage treatments, facials, plus offer full bridal packages.
What would you advise other teens who want to start their own businesses?
Go for it! Once you have your idea all planned out, and the needed capital, implement it! Never give up. Everything in life has its ups and downs. It will be tricky at first getting clients, but once you get the marketing on point, it is pretty awesome. There are times I cannot take on any more customers cause I get so fully booked and have to push their appointments forward. If they cannot wait, I refer them to another artist.