SWABY... I appreciate being my own boss
Lash-ing by appointment only
TWENTY-ONE-YEAR-OLD Khadije Swaby believes in charting smart career paths for her future. And so, the 2nd year political science major, who hopes to enter the world of law, did not bat an eyelid last November when she decided to pursue her passion for something more contemporary – lash fusion.
Having always enjoyed make-up artistry, Swaby found her niche in the art of lash fusion – a technique of adding lash extensions by single strands to one’s own eyelashes, resulting in a natural look and feel.
“Make-up interested me, but I have always been fascinated by lashes and caring for them,” she told UWIMONA Now. “I’m always complimenting people on their lashes, always looking at the different types of lashes, such as strip and mink lashes, and I always care for my lashes a certain way,” she said. It was no surprise then, when she started her lash bar business in the same month that she completed her certification. “I thought if I have this interest, why not try to make some money from it? I loved it and so I decided to capitalise on my passion. I did not waste any time starting my own business,” she said.
A full-time student, heavily involved in hall, co- and extra-curricular activities (on the Elsa Leo-Rhynie Hall), Swaby has experienced several challenges by adding entrepreneur to her list of endeavours. But she successfully manages her time by taking appointments only. “While I love my customers, I can’t afford to fail school so I just manage my time well, spacing everything out. For example, if I have three lashes in the week, I ensure that my assignments are finished over the weekend, and I still want to do other activities. So if I have practice [for a co-curricular activity], I don’t schedule my appointments close to that time.”
Since the inception of Kadior Lash Bar, Swaby has encountered several entrepreneurial challenges with networking and marketing her business, as well as meeting her business goals and objectives. “Being an entrepreneur has not been easy when it comes to branching out and getting people to know you. It is not easy and sometimes, because of the level of achievement that you want for your business and for yourself, it can be pressuring. Some days will be slow and others fast, so the slow days kind of stress you out, but then you just have to follow through and be persistent,” Swaby said. “It is a profitable business, most people are trying to do this now, so you have to constantly be keeping up. You have to make sure that you stay ahead of the competition and make your lashes look good. You also have to ensure that your customers don’t complain, that your prices are right, and that you always make your product attractive for customers,” she said.
Notwithstanding, Swaby has found joy in being an entrepreneur. “I appreciate just being my own boss, making my own money and knowing that I don’t always have to depend on my parents. Just the fact that I can have my own independence has been the most rewarding thing. If I want more groceries, for example, I can just do it myself, I don’t have to call my parents for that.”
Admitting that she has not always been the most sociable person, Swaby said that pursuing her political science degree has not only changed that part of her, but it has also helped her in the delivery of exceptional service in her business. “I’m not really the type of person that jumps out and talks to people, but school has helped me with my socialisation skills, from presentations and being able to do group work, to other little stuff where you have to talk to your peers,” she said.
“I also learned to socialise with my customers. Some customers don’t want you talking over them, but some customers will go on and on, so just being able to know what to talk to them about and how to talk to them, school has helped me with that,” she added.
Swaby’s future hopes are to provide employment through expansion of her current business and to establish her own law firm. “I want to eventually open my own firm, practise law and create employment. I want to extend this lash bar business, move it from being a home service to having a shop. I also want to expand the range of services into total body care including manicures, pedicures, facials and a new trend [known as] fat lasering.”
Swaby, lash bar owner and future attorney-at-law, is well on her way to becoming the distinctive UWI graduate, marked by her innovative and entrepreneurial ability.