number of beauticians in the country:
Attracting customers a challenge
Women have many talents and some make use of these talents to come up
in life. It is important to sustain a business to reach long-term goals
and become successful. Sharmini Ovitigama has proven her talents in the
field of beauty culture and is today a much sought after beautician by
the new generation of brides.
She was interviewed by Daily News Business.
Q. What is the type of your business
and how do you set about it?
A. I am engaged in bridal
dressing and dress designing. I offer a total bridal package for my
clientele. I create my own designs and I have an eye to select what is
best suited for a potential bride.
Sharmini with her daughter
I started this venture after my marriage when I had a great deal of
free time. I always wanted to venture into something useful to spend my
free time meaningfully. It is now 20 long years since I embarked into
the field of beauty culture.
I started my career in my home garage in a small way and step-by-step
my business expanded. At the initial stage, my friends came to me for
beauty culture. However, dressing a bride was a dream come true. The
first bride I dressed was a sister of one of my friends and they
appreciated my work. This encouraged me to continue and from there
onwards it was the mouth-to-mouth publicity that I received that helped
The skills in drawing and painting I had from my tender age were very
useful to continue in my business. I had a formal training and with my
artistic talents and eye for creativity my business grew.
I have dressed over 3000 brides so far and have a growing customer
base. I select the bridals carefully to uncover the beauty of the bride
as it is the most special day in her life. I am very satisfied with the
feedback I receive from them. It gives me immense pleasure to see a
bride glowing with the dress and make-up I selected for her.
The business has grown steadily and has become a popular choice of
many potential brides. I engage in my business full time and it was
built up gradually. Though I started this to utilize idle time in an
effective manner, it has changed my life for the better. I intend to set
up a training academy in the land I purchased at Dehiwala next year to
train young girls in this profession.
Q. How do you balance family life and
Sharmini Ovitigama. Pictures by Saliya Rupasinghe
A. Most of my brides I
dress are from Colombo. The business was built up by me gradually as my
husband is abroad. I had the courage to move forward and face any
obstacle on my way. I always believe that my religion gave me the
strength to continue my business and it was a great support. I have a
daughter and she helps me in business. We plan to launch the Hair and
Beauty Academy together.
Q. What are the challenges you faced?
A. There is a large number
of beauticians in the beauty culture industry and attracting customers
was a challenge. It is important to do the correct thing and be
responsible. You could face any challenge when you are strong. Beauty
culture necessarily needs one to be artistic in the personal touch and
be talented. Not that every one has the talent and skills to become a
beautician. This was a challenge.
I always visualize the woman before me as a bride and do the make-up,
the dress and the hair style accordingly. I firmly believe in my
instincts that I could do a perfect job on a brideís important day. I
always strive to give my best to make a special bride. Dressing a bride
involves a certain amount of risk as you have to ensure that you
complete the job before the auspicious time. One needs commitment to
move forward. However, industry competition was never a challenge to me.
Q. What is your advice to women in
A. Be committed and
responsible in whatever you do. Dedication and application pays rich
dividends. You need to look for opportunities as there are plenty out
You have to start from where you are and reach the top. I built my
clientele with over 20 years of hard work.
It is important to maintain a cordial relationship with your clients.
Trust is an important element in business. Considering bridal dressing,
it is not a profession that could be practised through paper
qualifications. The requirements change from one person to another and
artistic skills play a vital role. Having a thorough knowledge of the
job is the key to success.
Q. What are your goals?
A. I set up goals and when
I reach them I set up another set of goals. I wanted to have my own
house and beauty parlour which I have already achieved. My next goal is
to set up the Hair and Beauty Academy in Dehiwala.
I have also provided education to my daughter to do well in life. It
is important that in a family, the wife has to be occupied. This also
commands respect from the husband.
I have a goal to provide education to girls in beauty culture in a
formal way thus creating employment opportunities for them. For this the
academy I plan to set up will facilitate my efforts. It is also
important to educate a woman as she will support the family and the
motherís influence is more than that of the fatherís.
Q. As a woman was it an advantage to
be in business?
A. Yes. I provide my
service to women. I am proud to be a woman and I cherish the opportunity
to make another woman beautiful.
Q. What are your achievements in
business and family?
A. My business in itself
is an achievement. I have built up a clientele and receive positive
feedback from them. I am happy the way I am now. Commitment had played a
major role in my achievements.
My daughter will continue the business and I am lucky to have her. I
am sure that she will take the business to the next level and make this
a popular choice of many women in the country.
Q. What is your contribution to the
A. I plan to set up the
academy and help young women to gain knowledge on beauty culture and
I consider creating a beautiful bride a valuable service. Their
smiles give me the strength to go that extra mile in dressing a radiant