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Large 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 my business.

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 business?


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 business?

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 there.

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 society?

A. I plan to set up the academy and help young women to gain knowledge on beauty culture and self grooming.

I consider creating a beautiful bride a valuable service. Their smiles give me the strength to go that extra mile in dressing a radiant bride.

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