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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 :)