4 Boxes to tick by 40

By Mini Latif 6 Jun 2017 2:43:12 PM

So today l'm in Fiji on vacation and l turn 40.

As l do on all birthdays, but particularly on new decade birthdays, l like to do a stocktake on my life. 
You know, ensure l have ticked enough boxes to be what we are all in pursuit for… Happiness. 

Mini Sarkissian
On my 10th, l was super duper happy to be entering double digits age and hoped to God that people would stop treating me like a kid!
On my 20th, l was tres excited that l officially left childhood, teenhood and made it to the all aspire ‘Adulthood’. Still hoping to God that l would be treated like an adult.
On my 30th, l celebrated in my parents homeland of Cyprus and loved every moment when my cousins called me Mini’cik - ‘cik’ at the end of a name is something you usually do for little kids and so the irony of life began and my obsession of growing up pretty much ended there. Since then l have immersed myself in life and not cared too much about achieving an age milestone. Funny that!
At 30, l gave myself a decade to tick a few boxes. These boxes seem to be quite popular with most people and yet for me l felt was a struggle - every box just had so much heart ache to get ticked. But here l am, 40 and ALL my boxes ticked! Want to know what my boxes were? Well keep on reading then!
• Own a successful company. After 8 years and over half a million eyebrows completed, l can confidently say now that my business Ottoman3 is successful. Yep, glass of champagne for me. 
• Travel the world. Now this is partially ticked as apparently l need another 40 years to get anywhere close to the whole world.
But l have made a great dint in my passport and l love my alone time when l get to reflect.
Beyond that, my travels have inspired all of the products l have ever manufactured, right down to the bristle heads of our brushes. No matter what product we have at Ottoman3, when l hold one l am taken back to a place that made me go… l need to make this for my Australian lovers (of Brows!).
• Marriage. Yep now this probably needs more than a box, as it is not only a tick, but an ongoing work in progress. Marriage to me at 10 was all about the wedding day, at 20 was all about the guy, at 30 was all about the life style l wanted to live with a partner and now at 40 it is so much more. It is about friendship, respect, kindness and pretty much the art of negotiation. They say marriage is a job and l can certainly say it requires so much work. But by god, l had the most glamorous wedding day, the guy l had a crush on forever, a lifestyle that has surpassed my expectations and now a home that is busy, full and complete.
Love is home now.
• Motherhood. I never thought too much about this one as l kind of expected that l would just have a kid one day. The other boxes above seemed so much more difficult to get. But when Skylar came along 16 months ago, my heart grew out of my body and my stress levels toppled to heights unprecedented. Wow - just wow to being a mum to this kid. Daily l look for signs or similarities of me or my husband in her. But honestly, Skylar is her own person and she is just so ‘nice’. I have said this many times, but l made my own sister and we just hang out. My crew is complete. 
So that my friends were my 4 boxes to tick by 40. All ticked, so now what?
I decided no more boxes. Too stressful. Now l simply live. I still have many aspirations, but not boxes. Boxes were a set up for perceived failure. The truth is, if l didn’t tick one or any of those boxes, l know l would still be happy today. How do l know this? Well aside from all the things l can control, a few things happened whilst l was busy making lists:
My parents are both still living and living well. This makes me happy.
My brothers are both on standby for any Mini emergency great or small, so l have never really been alone. This makes me happy.
My cousins are residing all around the world and l can pick up and continue our friendship at any moment, because we just get each other. This makes me happy.
My girlfriends are so cool, they still want to hang out with me even with my highly strung, controlling personality. This makes me happy. 
My health is good. This makes me happy.
Mini Sarkissian
So my gift to myself today is to stop & smell the frangipanis in Fiji and celebrate a life with boxes ticked and a life to be lived well. 
Thank you for my blessings. 
Fab at 40 - Yes, yes l am. 


The early adopters made me a success!

By Mini Latif 3 May 2016 2:50:33 PM
Kristie is the name of the young lady that answered my email that fateful day in 2008. I had an idea that was to open up a nail and brow bar in Australia - something that had been done before, but not in a department store. It was audacious   to think that the largest department store in a Australia would even consider me to be their first nail and brow bar, so l figured that if l was going to convince them that l had the right idea, they first needed to believe in me. So my email was to the was simple. It said that ‘l’ would consider Myer to launch ‘our’ (l had no team then, it was just me, but they needed to believe that ‘l’ came with a pack) concept, but first l required ‘them’ to sign a non disclosure agreement. 
With that, the tone was set and the rest as they say is history. Our (my team followed shortly thereafter) concession in Myer lasted 5 years and was the beginning of the Ottoman3 empire that now spans across 3 brow bar stores, 11 custom made products and 9 more to be rolled out in the next year. I always wanted to pay homage to Kristie who answered that email and gave me my ‘Joy’ moment in business. She will forever be my friend in commerce. 
When we opened our doors on May 23rd 2009, we had 2 Brow Chairs, 4 Manicure stations and 4 Pedicure stations. All of which remained empty for the first few days. I continued to work my corporate job by day and made the mad dash to the store after work to take over from my 2 new employees. By the second week, it was apparent to me, that unless there was at least one customer sitting in the chairs, then no one would stop by to ask about the services we provided. So l had the 3 of us rotate over and over to sit and get a manicure or our brows threaded. It was a simply concept that work almost every time. As soon as we sat in the chairs as a customer, a walker by would eventually stop and ask a question. The service we offered was so strong, that once we had their attention, 9 times out of 10, they too would take a seat. 
 Ottoman3 Brow BarHighpoint
And so the roll effect took place. As each early adopter sat on the chair, another would stop and stare and eventually sit down. It was evident early on that the mani/pedi’s were the lowest hanging fruit customer, as this service had well and truly matured in the Australian market place, but the the Brow Threading, well that would take a little more selling. Just one time sitting in that Brow chair is all it took, but it was the early adopter who sat on that chair that first year. Though they were foreign to the idea of threading, they could see the art of threading and its almost magically appeal was and still is the most precise method to remove hair from the brow. We were officially the first Nail & Brow Bar to open in Australia, a title l hold with deep pride. 
After 5 years we closed the nail division to focus on what l was most passionate about, brows. I needed to hone in on the Brow products and that took time. I was approach by many companies to sell their brow lines to compliment our service, but l knew that after a few years of doing brows, l would be in a position of knowledge to design my own. Back then, there were very little brow products in the market place. Most of the powders were actually eyeshadows, re-marketed as brow powder and therefore lacked the correct texture to be placed on hair. The pencils were mostly brown eyeliners, that again lacked the correct cohesion & most certainly colour tone to be placed on the hair lines of the brow. So after 3 years & over 110,000 brows, the first range of the Ottoman3 Brow products were launched!
I promised that this blog Beauty & the Business would always give you a frank account of the realities of running a small business in the beauty world. I try each time to deliver this to you my friends and adversaries in commerce. Today l wanted to step back and bring to light that sometimes it is the tone in an email, or the belief in a show and tell that can open the door to your success. Remember first and foremost to believe in yourself, as when, not if, the road blocks come your way, you will need the strength to follow through. It begins with YOU.
Good luck, l just know you will make it big - HUGE :) 

Ottoman3 Brow Bar Highpoint

Ottoman3 Brow Bar Highpoint

Motherhood kicked my arse!

By Mini Latif 21 Apr 2016 3:32:45 PM

Mini Sarkissian and Skylar Sarkissian

Dressed by Jean Paul Gaultier for Target 
Skylar aged 7 weeks old

9pm on a Saturday night the flutters of what l thought may be contractions began. I was right, except what l didnt realise was that as these flutters turned to full blown contractions, l would be in this labour for 3 days! 

It’s such a long story and one that women who have laboured before me would nod knowingly as l had officially joined the mothers club. So for now l will save you the gruesome details of a turning posterior baby who eventually popped out with the help of the magical doctors and midwives at the Royal Women’s & let you know that l was blessed with a healthy girl called; Skylar Sarkissian.  
I was very adamant of not wanting a cesarean birth for the only reason that l wanted a quick recovery to go back to work in 6 weeks. What l didnt realise is that, though l had a ‘normal’ birth, the tools of forceps had me recovering for over 8 weeks (yep - l know your feeling my pain!). 
Blessed to be able to move in with my mum for the first 2 weeks, l was showered with visitors from all my favourite people. A traditional Turkish saying when one visits a new mum is ‘Gecmis Olsun’, which translates to “Get well soon”. I was quite shocked that people were saying this to me, for in English we would not normally greet a new mum with that saying. We normally would be more like ‘Congratulations you hot Mamma!’. And then it occurred to me. Whilst l was so busy during my pregnancy organising how l would get back to work, child care and the sort, l gave little thought to the physically exhausting challenge of child birth, followed by a strenuous 40 days of what l could only describe as boot camp for new mums. 
My little Skylar, though an angel to look at, was also a fireball of fierce feeding frenzies and cried for help as this little cherub was incapable of doing anything without me. My father keep repeating over and over, that all will find their place come 40 days! And with that statement, my husband and l began the countdown to the 40 days like our lives depended on it. I was not hopeful, but absolutely wishing that this miraculous date would change our worlds forever and motherhood would stop kicking my arse. 
40 days finally came around and like the effect of a full moon, Skylar took a new direction. She started to be responsive and l could somewhat understand her cries and little cooing sounds. Oh the love, the all consuming life changing love that fills my heart as l think about her writing this. What a life changer she has been. We celebrated her 40 day birthday, as we were believers!
Skylar 40 Days
Dressed by Bonds Baby
Skylar 40 days old
So finally, 9 weeks after birth l came back to work. Oh my oh my. As a devoted fan of Emma Issacs, CEO of Business Chicks who stated she was back at work after 1 week from having her 4th child, l was seriously shocked at how difficult l found the ability to concentrate. The first drive to the office with no body else in the car was so surreal. As l opened the door to see my amazing team before me, l realised that like Emma, l really loved the balance of work and family, but there needs to be a rock solid support group for you to take care of the home for you to do that. It took a good 3 weeks back at work before l felt to be myself and really focus on my job like before. 
So 3 months in, l get asked almost daily about how l am managing work and baby. Quite an interesting question, considering a couple of billion women are doing it as you read this, so how hard can it be? The truth is, its hard, really life altering hard. I have mourned my independence many a time and long often for the freedom to come back to me. However, on the flip side, now that l have this little Mini Me (come on, l had to use that term!), l am more determined than ever to continue to build my Ottoman3 empire, for now the stakes are higher. I am the ultimate role model and l cannot make any excuses.
My top 3 tips to getting back to work after birth are:
1: It take a VILLAGE for reals! Support - if you are lucky enough to get your family involved with child care and they are willing to do it, TAKE IT! There is something quite magical watching grand parents fall in love with your kids. And for those that do not have family support, ask your maternal health nurse to give you some contacts for child care. There are lots of facilities made available locally for you to go and suss out. 
2: Make ME time - Everyday & l mean everyday. If l had a dollar for every time someone said this to me, l’d have at least a hundred bucks right now. But it is true. 10 minute hot showers bring such energy for the next couple of hours.  I have continued to get my nails done every 3 weeks and that is my little something that makes me feel pretty even though l still have a pregnancy belly after 12 weeks!
3: Be present - The logistics of getting to work can be quite the ordeal, so make it count when you get there. No need for this ‘mummy guilt’ malarky. You have earnt your right to be at work and not think about your bubs for a few moments. Never forget who you were before, for l truly believe the child you are raising chose you for who you were to be their Mummy. So embrace your time away and get your day DONE!
My favourite part of a work day is driving up the drive way of her daycare knowing that l have a child to pick up. How lucky did l get! 
Skylar Sarkissian
Dressed by Bardot Junior
Skylar at 12 weeks
Skylar in Pearls
Styled by her Grandma today at child care! 
Dressed by her cousins hand me downs & Grandma’s pearls that were once mine for the inheritance and now obviously have been shifted!
Skylar Sarkissian
Skylar meeting the O3 Brow Babes at Highpoint

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