Passionate about the aesthetics of beauty, Pune’s Farida Kothawala describes her journey as an aspiring beautician and her resolve to be the best in the craft.
In conversation with A. Radhakrishnan.
What fascinates you most about make up?
It’s a career where I am living my dream. Making someone look beautiful and changing the way they look gives me pleasure. I enhance facial aesthetics and create customised looks for clients. I feel blessed when my clients look gorgeous.
How did you build up your career?
My journey as a make-up artist began in 2016 when I was seven months pregnant. My baby was just two-month-old when I started freelancing. I wasn’t earning much but my objective was to learn and enhance my skills. I began by visiting cosmetic shops in the neighbourhood.
Initially, there were obstacles and criticism but I didn’t lose my patience and kept focusing on self-development. I spent time researching about the craft. In 2018 I travelled to Malaysia and did a week’s course to enhance my skills. My family was supportive all through.
Things began to look up in 2019 when people started appreciating my work and I could open my own salon. I kept updating my skills and learning something new. My short-term goal is to become the best make-up artist in Pune and I hope to accomplish it by 2021.
Do you also have experience in wedding make-up application, fashion show make-up and product promotional makeovers?
I specialise in bridal makeup and I use only high-end products. I do have a lot of experience in wedding and fashion show make-up as well as product promotional make-overs. I also have experience in fantasy make-overs, prosthetic make-up and Halloween make-up.
How do you remain up to date with new trends in make-up fashion and what is your biggest challenge?
I keep an eye out for celebrity style. Following influencers is the easiest way to stay updated but if you want to know what the brands are launching you have to follow their accounts.
I follow every major fashion brand — luxury or otherwise. I also follow the few channels that provide updates on fashion. One of my favourites is Haute Le Mode. They post a video every week discussing celebrity wear and the latest trends in the industry.
Some channels focus on developing personal style and recommend new places to shop and new ways to style yourself. My greatest challenge is when I am doing a celebrity shoot.
What are some common beauty mistakes that women make?
They tend to overuse lower lid eyeliner; applying dark eye shadows the wrong way; select the wrong lipstick tone and apply too much concealer.
What three make-up items should a woman always keep in her bag?
The first make-up item you must have is a great concealer. Second would be a neutral toned lip gloss and third would be mascara.
How do you prepare different skin types before applying make-up?
The first step in skin care routine should be cleansing the dirt, oil, and impurities from the surface.
How does one get rid of wrinkles?
Coconut oil use can help the wrinkles to fade and also acts as a moisturising agent.
Tell me about a time you had a very stressful day at work. What did you do?
I never feel stressed on job. On a hard day, I opt for the Spa to relax.
Which one is more superior – natural beauty or make-up beauty?
It is a bold statement to let your natural beauty shine. Too often, women are encouraged to cover up with make-up and use the latest fashion. Simplicity is the hottest trend that is empowering young women around the globe.
What types of customers have you been handling at your salon?
They are of seven types and I have learned to handle them in my own way and keep them happy. They include the shy, the angry, the unhappy, the impossible-to-please, the hearing-impaired, the visually-impaired types and those who speak another language. Each gives you a learning curve and a lesson in inter-personal relations.
Is make-up women-centric or caters to men too?
These days even men go for it, especially during weddings when we get huge requirements for groom make-up.
Do you dream of launching your own line of cosmetics?
Not yet, but it is on my wish list.
Any expansion plans?
Your goal as a salon owner is to ensure your clients are leaving happy and your coffers are ringing. Sooner or later, you start contemplating expansion and find out ways to increase profits.
There are two ways of salon expansion. You either move into a bigger space or invest in a brand new location. You have to break it down, understand the costs and have the confidence to take a decision.
What about running costs and government help?
Running a salon profitably calls for physical involvement coupled with sourcing and managing your capital and staff.
It may cost a fortune to open a salon, regardless of the scale of business. High costs can put salon owners in debt. However, there are some good funding options and government grants for start-ups.
As salon owner you realise early on that it isn’t a bad business at all. The secret is in identifying potential issues that can arise and reducing the risks.
I want government to provide stimulus package with minimum interest rate so that business works smoothly.
What is the most important beauty advice you can give to women?
Sleep well. Lack of sleep leads to dark circles under the eyes. Sunscreen is the best anti-aging product.