Full Name: Rezoana Dilshad Ridita
Business Type: Online
Name of Business: Ridita’s Henna
Henna, the art of decorating women’s bodies is deeply rooted in Middle Eastern and Asian cultural customs, particularly at religious ceremonies and wedding festivals. Dilshad Ridita, a Qatar based henna artist, who holds a deep passion for the art, shares her story on how she became involved with it.
bq: Tell us about how you got into this line of business…
RD: I’ve been practising the art of henna to nourish my soul and my artistic talent has been fostered since I was a child. I used to love to apply henna to my friends and family members. In 2012, just before Eid, one of my close friends came to me, asking me to adorn her hands. She was so impressed with the progress of my skills that she wanted to share it with others.
Soon after, she created a Facebook page to showcase my work and urged me to post updates regularly. Then to my utter amazement, the page began to spread around so fast that I was totally shocked by the number of fans, which now stands at around 5000. Consequently I began to receive lots of inquiries to do henna designs for various events, weddings and the like. This made me excited and I decided to spread my service to others as well. So this is how I became a professional henna artist and have been offering my services in public venues and private gatherings in Qatar ever since.
It’s certainly exciting to turn your hobby into a profession. How did you get such huge traffic to your Facebook page within a short period of time?
RD: Actually, I was over the moon with the number of traffic to the page myself. The only thing I did was share my page and apparently my friends did the same. That was it.
bq:That’s certainly interesting, tell us a bit more about yourself…
RD: I live in Qatar with my family and I am studying telecommunication engineering technology at the College of North Atlantic, 3rd year.
So how does your business function now and what do you charge?
RD: It’s cool. I have to confess, I am rather slow in picking up on the business aspect of it, because I genuinely enjoy in creating henna so much. However, I get calls regularly from customers and I try to provide my clients the best possible service. The costs depend on the type and length of the design.
What is the difference between your service and parlor service?
RD: Of course, there are some differences, otherwise why would people come to me in the first place! When you’re going to an artist you should get something unique and that’s why I offer customized designs that are not available at the parlor. A lot of people already come to me with the design they want and I always try to apply it in the exact same form. On the other hand, at the parlor they offer only limited designs from their sample book. In addition, my rate is reasonable in comparison.
How do you go about creating the design?
RD: In essence, every henna artist has their own style. Since I always apply henna flawlessly freehand, I can craft most designs and apply the sketches clients bring me. I work with different design, depending on the occasion and preference of the customers – the main types are Arabic, Moroccan, Indian and Asian. I usually show them design samples and according to their choice, I then do them.
Who are your customers?
RD: Mainly Arabs, Indians and even some Westerners. I find it pretty interesting when I get a European or American customer as they are not familiar with the henna culture. Actually they are mostly tourists and when they come to visit Qatar, they are interested in it, as it is a new thing for them. Usually they search on the web about the culture of Qatar and when they find my Facebook Page, they contact me, inquiring about my service. I really enjoy meeting people from different backgrounds and I always try to provide them a fun, safe and enchanting experience with this art.
bq: Where do you buy the materials from?
RD: I always use the best product to ensure perfection and customer satisfaction. Basically, I purchase my materials from the local parlors. I always consider two factors when buying henna – skin safety, to avoid any allergic reaction and the long lasting color.
bq: What are your profit margins?
RD: I genuinely enjoy crafting the art by henna so much and my aim is to provide the best service to my customers, so at this point I’m not thinking of the profits yet.
How long does the color last?
RD: Normally it stays for one week, and then it begins to fade out. The color intensity varies from person to person and the care given to the design – moisturizing each day with chlorinated water will shorten the lifespan of your henna. Before going for henna you shouldn’t apply any lotion; just wash your skin well with soap and water. I also suggest applying oil (almond/coconut olive) or sugar paste on the henna as soon as it dries. It is also better to just wipe the henna rather than washing it off.
bq: How do you see the competition and what do you do to cope/stay ahead?
RD: Competition is big enough, as henna is in high demand by women in Qatar. I always put enough effort to complete the design as close to perfection as possible. I also use top quality products, as henna is my passion and I love doing this from the bottom of my heart and hope my customers will feel the same way.
bq: What are your future plans with this business?
RD: After completing my studies, I will build my career in the telecoms sector. I will however never give up henna, as it nourishes my soul and I have a plan to continue doing it, in addition to my career.
bq: Do you have any advice for those who want to enter this line of business in Qatar?
RD: If you are truly committed to working in this field, then you have to follow your dreams and be creative in your own way.
bq: What is the most memorable experience that you would like to share?
RD: Once I had to deal with a huge number of customers in the same day – around 45. Usually, when people inquire about an appointment, I schedule it so others aren’t kept waiting. I did the same for that day as well, however what I couldn’t foresee was that each customer would end up bringing several friends along. I was so overwhelmed, I ended up finishing at 2.30am! This was quite a memorable day for me.
Last but not least, I once got an invitation from ‘Al Arqam Academy for Girls’, to be a part of their henna event and I had lots of fun with the cute kids. They were so excited about it, jumping from joy all around, asking me to do flowers, animals and all sorts of odd things. It was really great fun!