For the Love of Art

Creating and customising designs has always been her passion. ‘For as long as I remember, I wanted to be an artist,’ shares Ayesha Firrah. Her brand ‘Henna by Ayesha’ saw a new chapter in 2016, when she decided to take her business online. ‘My husband pushed me to take my passion to the next level and encouraged me to create platforms where I could enhance my client reach,’ she adds. ‘When people started connecting with me through these social media platforms, I was motivated to further develop my work.’ She has been practicing henna designing in Bahrain for more than four years and has passionately turned her dreams into reality.

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You have always loved henna designing. Do you recall when exactly you started practicing it as a hobby?

As a child I recall, my mother taking me to henna designing events where I always had my preferences. I always insisted that it be applied exactly as I wanted. Back then I didn’t know why I wanted perfection in it. If I wanted an Arabic design, then it had to be specifically an Arabic one and if I wanted an Indian design, then it had to be specifically an Indian design. I was also particular about the quality of the design. The imprints had to be dark or else I would get disappointed. As a child, I struggled to keep the design intact till it left the desired colour but I still didn’t mind the pain I took for it.

Then there was this particular incident, which truly motivated me to take it up as a hobby. I was 8 years old and was attending a wedding. I sat beside the lady who was applying henna to the bride and I was observing her. When she was done designing for the bride, there were many leftover cones with which I started trying to apply. To my surprise, everyone loved my design and this is where it all started. After that I always kept buying cones and creating my own designs.

It started as a hobby but when did you start looking at it as a career option?

I would like to say that it was Allah’s plan. He was definitely preparing me for it because I wasn’t even thinking about it. After I got positive response from everyone for my design, I started practicing it on paper as well. I had a drawing book where I developed and designed ideas, so the flair for it only grew. From a hobby, it grew into my passion and eventually became my career in 2014. I mean, I can keep designing and applying henna 24/7. Even if, I am woken up in the middle of the night and asked to apply it, I will be ready to do so.

With your life revolving around your designs, what has been your most memorable moment?

I remember this one particular event, when my mother and I were traveling. A flight attendant came to us and requested for a henna tattoo. She was observing us from afar as we were busy doodling during the journey. We ladies were enjoying the experience, when the co-pilot walked to us and informed that he is getting married and wants us to design henna for his would-be wife. Unfortunately, we weren’t looking at henna designing professionally during those days, so we didn’t get in touch with him again. I do feel, that if I had started earlier, I would be in a better place in my career today. But Allah’s plans are the best and maybe starting back then, wasn’t good for us. He places people in the right time in our lives, who motivate us towards our goals. Alhamdulillah. He knows what is good for us and when it is good for us.

How do you manage being a mother and a designer? What struggles do you face? 

I am very grateful to have my mother’s help in babysitting my two children. Since, I don’t have to worry about managing them along with work, I am able to concentrate on expanding my business. As for my struggles, I would say getting clients and providing best service for reasonable price, is the most difficult part of this profession.

Client satisfaction is the most important and I am thankful to Allah that till date 99.99% have been satisfied with my design. A challenge that I faced earlier in this career was learning the use of social media. I was one of those people who never used social media to promote business. It was always word-of-mouth and networking. I had to take the initiative of learning it and connecting with my customers through it.

When being self-employed, ‘first pay’ creates excitement. How was your experience?

In 2018, two years after I started promoting my business on social media, I got a call from a lady who asked for my service. She was my first client and was extremely encouraging. She was without doubt, the best client to start a business with. She didn’t just pay me well, but further motivated me to keep progressing with my passion.

You have worked hard to reach where you are today. Where do you see yourself in a few years?

Till date, I have worked with clients from different cultural and ethnic background, and I want to continue doing the same. Though Asian clients are more aware about henna designing and incorporate it in several traditional celebrations, I have had American, Russian and Australian women approach me as well. I want to reach out to those who are looking at henna designing as an art and want to be a part of it.

I also want to start providing henna courses for those looking to learn the art. I am still working on the ‘lesson plan’ and course structure. Once that is ready, I will launch my henna classes as well.

With all the experience you have gathered during this journey, what would be your advice to those looking at henna designing as a career in Bahrain?

Study the market before approaching customers. I contacted other henna design artists and enquired about charges and customer requirements. Learn how to make henna cones, because that works like ‘cherry on the cake’. Don’t alter your charges to suit peoples’ expectations because you will succeed if you have confidence in your design. Be ready for rejections and have lots of patience when you start showcasing your designs. It will take time to build clients. It’s not like you start posting designs today and instantly start getting calls. Success can never be achieved overnight but also remember that Allah has a plan for you. All you need to do is work hard and be persistent.

To check more designs by Ayesha, check her page – https://www.facebook.com/hennabyayeshabahrain

For appointments, contact her on +973 39439136 / +973 39586033

Or email at ayeshafirra91@gmail.com

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