THE TWELFTH INSTALLATION OF THE BELLEBOSS SERIES
I hoped that with this series, I would find a way to appreciate the incredible South Asian women of our generation, who are breaking boundaries and paving new paths for themselves. Moreover, I would like other people to take a little bit of their time to realize how incredible the women around you are.
Especially if you are a woman! I know that at least one woman’s story in my #BelleBoss series will inspire you to follow your dreams, your vision and most importantly your heart. Even if that means breaking a few rules and many societal prejudices along the way.
Could you give us a little intro to those readers who don’t know you?
My Name is Nikki Arora,
24, I am a Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist by trade. I was born in Gujarat, India in a typical Punjabi joint Family, and moved to Sydney, Australia when I was 5.
Did you always have a passion for makeup or did you become passionate later in life?
I have always been a girly girl!
Even though when I was 7 I wanted to be a Veterinarian, and at 9 wanted to be a Dancer and then a Fashion Designer, but by 12 I was pretty much wearing a winged liner to school, so I guess I’ve always been into makeup.
Did you have any makeup inspirations when you were younger or anyone you admired greatly who inspired you?
I used to be and actually still am a big Bollywood fan. I love the whole ‘production’ that Bollywood movies are so instead of being inspired by a particular person, I think it was a lifestyle I was inspired by, I try to resonate that production aspect in every client and every shoot I do.
Is there any childhood/teenage memory or advice which shaped you as a person and how you run your business?
I think growing up watching my mum run her own business (she runs her own day-care), and balancing family life with a business, she would have to be my biggest inspiration!
She’s a superstar and if I could be half the woman she is when she’s running her business I think I’d be happy!
I am a qualified Makeup Artist.
I have a certificate from a local institution and then to advance my Hair knowledge I have taken international courses. As cool as it is to be self-taught, it is safer and 100% important to have an education in Makeup, especially when you’ll be working on someone else’s face.
It teaches you not only techniques to use makeup on someone else, but the hygiene and safety aspect also!
When I was graduating, makeup was not a career. I loved doing it but never thought of it as something that was long term. I settled for the next best thing – Fashion Design, but I left that in a month! I tried event management too! But it was quite boring, and then finally I settled for a Business Management degree and as painful as it was, I’m glad I did it, I actually do use a lot of the knowledge I gained from it, in my own business.
So, what was the moment that made you want to pursue makeup and get that qualification?
In 2009, when I was in grade 11 – I searched up Pink Orchid studio I saw that these women, were running their own business, that they were qualified! I started looking into local colleges that did certification courses and the rest was history. I knew at that point that this was what I wanted to do as a career! In 2009 I was in grade 11, and you kind of have to start thinking about university, and in the beginning of 2010, you had to put down your choices.
At that point, I was looking into makeup but there were no real options for it, and then I tried fashion design which I did get into!
Simultaneously- I was looking into private colleges that did makeup courses! And then I enrolled! On the other hand, I hated fashion design, so I tried event management and then within a few months (when I was finished with my makeup course) moved to business management.
And just went ahead with it.
Why I had to do those things simultaneously? Because makeup doesn’t bring you, clients, immediately, and to invest in my own business I needed to have more knowledge and work on the side. Hence the business degree. Not to mention working as a customer care agent for a year, then an apprenticeship with a beauty salon for a year and then working with benefit cosmetics and then finally 2 years ago- quitting the ‘on the side’ jobs to pursue my business and career full time.
What were the unexpected challenges you faced when starting your business?
I think everyone says running your own business is the best, but unfortunately, there are so many challenges! I think the main challenge that I wasn’t expecting was how many roles I will have to fill.
Aside from the makeup, you have to handle social media, finances, emails, bookings, etc it sometimes gets overwhelming and if you’re anything like me it is really hard to find someone on your wavelength to help/assist with those things. So I am still handling everything on my own!
How did you decide to start booking clients internationally? Is travelling to see your client difficult or is it fun?
I first started taking interstate clients and that was quite an easy transition. My first international booking was for Bali, and immediately after, Fiji. I didn’t really think about it, I just thought I’d write that I was available to travel to see if anyone would want to book me from overseas, and a week later I was getting enquirers for Destination Weddings! It is fun! But also, stressful and the one thing I have learnt is to remind myself that it is work, not a holiday.
If I get time in between to explore or relax I will, but not at the expense of work. I am so blessed to be able to travel, I would never want to mess it up by being careless!
What would be your big goal or aspiration for the future, the point where you would feel like ” I’ve made it “
I’ve always wanted to teach makeup. I think the day that I create an academy in which I am able to see people graduating and actually talking about how this industry is their career because of what they’ve learnt from me, that I think will be the day that I’ll truly say- I’ve made it!
Oh and side note – when I do Deepika Padukone’s Makeup. That would be a pretty close second
I think the law of attraction is the perfect way to describe my entire life!
Sometimes I would just think about something and it’s so strange that I would get the opportunity to do exactly that within the week! (I often wonder, what if I had just asked for something else at that moment – like a million dollars?
My dad always says that though, if you want something bad enough, it kind of comes and finds you.
How do you balance your business with your personal life? Is there any tips or advice which has helped you to do this?
I am actually the worst person to ask for advice on balance!
I love working so much, that I’m always either working or in Pj’s re-watching Harry Potter, there is generally no in-between.
I think the only advice I can give is the same one I was given. Our work timings are literally the exact opposite of everyone else! Sometimes you will miss your Dad’s birthday or your sisters baby shower, but as long as you know that and your family and friends support you and are understanding enough, it’s not that bad! Once you have momentum, it does get easier and in fact, you get better at managing your time!