A makeup artist, a mom, an entrepreneur and a superwoman! She's the owner of Gala Makeover Studio & Salon & O Play restaurant. Navin started Gala as a extension for her passion towards makeup which slowly turned into one of the most appreciated and successful business ventures after 12 years of hard-work and consistency. In this special conversation with The Bedroom Journal, Navin Ahmed takes us through her journey of 12 years and talks to us about how she revolutionized the beauty industry in Dhaka.
1. Let's start by you telling us a fun fact about yourself!
Fun fact about me would be that I’m extremely superstitious!
2. How did you begin your journey as a makeup artist and what prompted you to do so?
I was always good in art & actually wanted to be an artist. I had at first applied for art college abroad but I was not granted a visa. I then applied for a makeup course in the same college & again applied for visa & this time I got it. My goal was to later change to art but I started enjoying my makeup course so much that I never ended up changing it & stuck to it.
3. Since when have you been passionate about beauty and lifestyle and how did that transition into an entrepreneurial endeavor?
I was always very enthusiastic about anything beauty related. I would buy all the beauty magazines when I was a teenager and go through various articles & books about makeup & skincare (mind you, we didn’t have access to YouTube or Insta tutorials).
I would do makeup on my cousins & friends and later that passion turned to an entrepreneurial endeavour.
4. What are some of the major struggles you faced as a makeup artist and an entrepreneur and how did you overcome those?
Of course starting out was difficult. I was quite clueless about how to turn my passion into a business. I wanted to tap into the Bridal market from the very start & at first brides would only opt for main stream salons & it was difficult to make my mark with a completely different style of makeup & products that was not popular then 12 yrs ago.
5. In this day and age of unrealistic beauty standards on social media how do you ensure you cater to your clients and audiences with your sensibilities authentically? How do you keep it real for them?
I believe as makeup artists we always have to be flexible. We have to keep what we think aside and focus on what the client wants. It’s always best to be open minded & deliver what the client or bride wants. They pay for a certain look & as artists we should be able to deliver that look as per their preferences.
However on our social media platforms, we always focus on all kinds of beauty making sure to be inclusive always so that all kinds of girls are confident about themselves. Creating this awareness in the younger generation is extremely important to me because I also have a daughter myself.
6. What are some of the things you are very proud of and you want people to recognize and remember you for?
I’m extremely proud of my sense of responsibility & professionalism.
I truly hope people remember me as a kind person 🙏😬
7. From your understanding and experience, would you recommend working in the beauty industry as a sustainable full time career path for aspiring young adults in this country yet?
Yes definitely. The beauty industry is vast & fast moving with various new sectors reintroducing itself everyday!
8. What are some of the struggles and challenges you faced being a female entrepreneur and what has that taught you?
Being a female entrepreneur ofcourse I face a lot of challenges balancing home & work. But it has taught me that it’s okay as long as there is progress…we don’t have to strive for perfection always.
9. You have been one of the pioneers of the beauty industry in this country. What are the major differences you see in the industry today vs when you started?
People are more accepting about this work now than before. It is seen as a respectable job which was not the case when I started. Clients know better what they wants & are open to trying different looks. Everyone knows their products now & use quality products which was not done when I started, which is why we caught the attention of the younger generation faster 12 yrs ago!
10. What would be your advice for young girls suffering from low self esteem/confidence, lack of support or pressure from society to be a certain way.
I suffered from extremely low self esteem & confidence. But over the years I realised that I am my own billboard. So be what you want to represent to the world & do it with confidence! Focus on being kind & you will shine through no matter what!
11. What is your take on womanhood? What are the pros and cons, myth and measure of being a successful independent woman in your opinion?
There are no cons. Being a woman is all pros! We are soo soo soo strong mentally & physically! We give birth & that itself is a super power! We literally raise the future generations!
How women multi task, raise children, balance their homes, partners, in laws, own parents & still work in jobs is just insane!! When men go to work, they just work. When women go to work, they are multi tasking and taking care of all of the above every single day!
12. Lastly, where do you see yourself in the upcoming year? What are your future plans?
I have no future plans for now. I have decided to take things slow & enjoy motherhood. Also like I said, I’m superstitious so I’ll just keep my plans to myself till things take shape 😊