Sara Vazir is a full time mum of two by day and a henna artist by night. Her passion for henna design evolved from a young age and has successfully turned her passion into her full time business. Sara’s henna is all the rage when it comes to brides and she loves to create special memories for all her clients. We speak to her about her passion for henna
Tell us briefly about yourself and your passion for henna?
I’m a full time mom of two by day, and a henna entrepreneur by night! Henna art has been my passion from a very young age, right back to when I used to watch my mom apply henna for brides. My first bridal henna was at the age of 11, when I tag teamed with my mum! So not only does the art of henna hold very fond memories for me, but it’s that warm feeling that motivates me to create special memories for all my clients.
How did you get into the business of henna designing?
All through my school and university life, henna was always a hobby that earned me some extra pocket money. Doing henna for cultural events, public fairs, art bazaars in Hong Kong and later for music festivals in UK during university, henna always made me stay close to my roots & helped me spread awareness about our Pakistani culture which I find extremely beautiful. My friends used to joke about how I should quit studying and just turn henna into my full time career... little did I know I would actually turn that into reality one day! Lol ofcourse I did graduate, and go on to a full time job back in Hong Kong. But that just wasn’t enough. I continued applying henna, and this time for hi-end corporate clients such as Dolce & Gabbana, Steve Madden just to name a few. Soon henna kind of took over my life, so I quit my full time job, and turned my lifelong passion into a proper business...“Sara’s Henna” (isn’t that so creative?!) in 2009 in Hong Kong. I’ve never looked back since! We have teams of freelance henna artists in South east Asia, Middle East, and now in Pakistan.
Where did you learn how to create such beautiful designs? Are you self taught?
I’ve always been an artsy person and I find inspiration in the most mundane everyday things such as doors, antique objects, jewelry, textiles. Nature also plays a huge part in my designs; turning complex flowers and leaves into intricate henna patterns. Apart from this, people and their stories inspire me. Each client, each bride brings along with her different emotions, different stories, different vibes. I use those as my inspiration in creating unique bespoke designs. I feel once I pick up a henna cone, the designs just appear according to the person I’m applying for: it’s the magic of henna!
How popular is white henna among brides?
So I actually started white henna due to my western brides’ requests. Back in Hong Kong, majority of my clientele were foreigners, who loved the art of henna, but weren’t too fond of the fading stain. For their wedding day, they would request for temporary henna tattoos. So I would put pure body paints in henna cones, and create jewel & lacey designs for them using white body paints to match with their wedding gowns. This proved to be a huge hit! However white henna only gained in popularity and became a global trend once I applied it for Huda Beauty in Dubai in 2015... and it’s still trending!
Is henna starting to gain popularity among non-desi brides at all?
Oh majorly!! Henna has always appealed to the non-desi market, not just brides but women worldwide in general; even celebrities rock their henna such as Madonna, Beyoncé with her belly blessing, Katy Perry to name a few. Did you know they even have henna conferences all over the world?! I myself have attended one such conference in Los Angeles, hosted by non desis and attended by western women from all walks of life! Some of these women are the most incredible henna artists I’ve ever come across! But not to deviate from the question; yes henna is extremely popular for non desi brides!
Describe a typical day in your life?
My typical day in life has changed drastically since I had kids! Back in my single days, my day would comprise of meetings, events, fashion shoots and all things henna related. Now however, my day consists of a very hectic routine of sending my daughter to school, doing house chores, cooking, getting my younger son ready and fed, picking my daughter from school. Lunch, shower, naptime followed by some outdoor play and home work time in the evenings. I only start my henna work and all business related things once I put them to sleep at night. By midnight I get onto my emails, then around 1am I start mixing henna, rolling cones and getting the supply part of it sorted. I usually work till around 3am, and on dispatch nights till around 5am. Pray and hit the bed. Ready for the alarm at 7am and off we go again! Each day brings its own surprises and mishaps! The days I have bridal bookings my husband takes a day off work and stays home with the kids so that I can go to work!
How do you manage a busy schedule, being a mum and managing the social media for your brand?
By giving up on sleep! Lol so far that’s the only way I do it. I use an app called Preview for my Instagram, where I create a grid for the entire week and I know exactly what I want to post. So every day at one particular time, I just post that. The rest of it all happens in the late hours of the night!
What are the future plans for Sara’s Henna?
It’s been my dream to have my very own Sara’s Henna studio in karachi. In fact to have branches all over Pakistan one day InshAllah. I am currently working towards making Sara’s Henna a household brand name. And once that happens I would like to open a studio; the first of its kind in Karachi. My aim is to have it before the end of 2021! In the meantime, I want to continue raising awareness and spreading the love of natural henna in Pakistan, and create that much needed switch between chemical henna and natural henna!
Advice for aspiring artists wanting to get into this field?
Never think this profession any less worthy than other more streamline professions. I’ve been able to travel all over the world thanks to my henna art as well as meet some of the most incredible people! So you can too! Henna art is an extremely respected profession, but you have to be confident in your art and your skills. If you respect your art and your time, others will too! Secondly Practice. Practice your skill every single day and don’t be afraid to share both your failures and your success. Make social media your friend! Lastly don’t sell yourself short! Charge what you’re worth, and others will find you worthy too.
You must meet all sorts of brides! Advice or tips for any brides to be?
The biggest advice I can give brides to be is: please give your bridal henna importance and your artist respect. Allocate a certain number of hours for your henna application in the comfort of your room and your pjs and don’t commit to anything else in that time. Just like a make-up artist requires complete concentration and a lot of time just for one events’ look, a henna artist requires dedicated time to do their job well! You are after all paying them to do a good job!
Also: please be kind to your skin and health and use natural henna!! You don’t want to remember your big day by the ugly henna scar you received using lethal chemical cones!