INTERVIEW WITH NEHA SURADKAR: Founder – Style N File
Q: How did you get your idea or concept for this business?
A: After completing my masters in Textiles and Clothing from Lady Irwin College, I started as a Project Associate and Guest Faculty in NIFT Delhi and then pursued my passion for teaching in Mount Carmel College, Bangalore. In 2011, we moved to Japan with my two months old son and there was no scope of fashion teaching in the new language. There I started exploring Japanese fashion, style and beauty; and cosmetic products. It was a wonderful learning experience and when we moved to Singapore in 2012, I completed my Diploma in Style Coaching from Style Coaching Institute, London. This was also the time when I was meeting a lot of new mothers like me and realized that after becoming a mother, women usually stop taking care of themselves. They are usually upset with their new body and do not have time to spend on looking for good clothes. Salon visits become infrequent and some even go to the extent of not brushing their hair for 3-4 days!
I decided to put all my knowledge to use and decided to launch my Private Limited venture in Singapore- Mirror Image and Style with an intention to help new mothers find their lost selves. Packages were designed to help them understand their new body and lifestyle better and also to make them aware of a few tips and quick fixes so that they can cut down on the time while getting ready. As we grew with this venture, we added a lot of other services like etiquette training for kids, teens, and business, makeup, and styling for shoots etc.
After moving to Mumbai in 2014, I pursued professional courses in Makeup, Hairstyling and Nail styling and then started working as a consultant with an international makeup and nail brand along with Mirror Image & Style. Once the time was right, I was able to fulfill my dream of having a studio and academy specifically for makeup and nails and thus came in Style-n-File in July 2016. I feel that there is a lot of demand for makeup and nail artists in the industry and there is a lack of trained professionals in this field. At Style-n-File, we aim to train aspiring nail and makeup artists and also anyone who is looking to step into this world of beauty.
We have completed 2 years and have opened an express counter in an indoor kid’s play area catering to parents who bring their kids to pamper themselves while kids are having fun!
Q: What were the most difficult challenges you faced while starting your business?
A: In Singapore, penetrating the Singaporean market was difficult initially. Most of my clients were expat Indians but gradually I started attending networking meets and with my capabilities and God’s grace, I was able to get Singaporean clientele too.
Coming back to India and starting work here was easier than I thought. After having an experience of starting up the business in Singapore, Mumbai was a cakewalk relatively. Within a few months, I was able to create a name for myself, form a team and kick-started.
Within a year of setting up in Mumbai, I got an opportunity to work as a PAN India Makeup Trainer for Cinema Secrets, an International HD Professional Makeup brand from Hollywood, U.S.A.
Also, in a short span of time, I am able to create my niche as a makeup artist who makes you look like a better version of yourself rather than completely changing your look; and also as a makeup trainer whose tips and techniques are simple, practical and easy to follow.
Q: How do you manage to stand better and unique in terms of competition?
A: At Style-n-File, The focus is on a specialized nail and makeup studio rather than a full-fledged salon, which is plenty. Apart from providing services, we are into professional training for Makeup Artists and Nail Technicians. We feel that since nails and makeup are two upcoming areas where there is a huge demand among people while the number of trained technicians is not enough. Apart from the full course as a nail technician/ makeup artist, there are specialized courses which existing technicians/artists can take up to upgrade their skills.
There are also courses for amateurs like personal makeup, basic nail art etc.
As a makeup artist, our U.S.P lies in making makeup look natural on the skin and not giving a “made up” look to the client. As makeup trainer, I like to make things simple for people so they can easily adapt to make up in their day to day life.
At Style-n-File, we aim to make Beauty, Makeup, and Nails a part of the lifestyle rather than something that is meant only for special occasions. We always take into consideration the lifestyle and budget while doing nails and also while recommending products during a makeup training session.
Q: How supportive was your family was when you decided to quit the job and start your own venture?
A: I had to quit my job when we moved to Japan and to Singapore within a year. It was in Singapore where I decided to take the plunge and start my own venture. This would not have been possible without the support of my Husband, who helped me at every stage starting from fine-tuning the concept, finances, to even taking care of our toddler when I had to step out to attend meetings. Also, I cannot take the credits away from my son, who at less than 2 years of age understood that Mamma too has to go for work. I can’t remember a single time when he cried seeing me go.
I feel really proud and blessed to have a family that understands and supports me always.
Q: Who is your role model and why?
A: I have many role models… I feel we can learn something from everyone… I try to learn whatever I can from every person I meet.
Q: How does your business contribute to society? (OR) How do you want to contribute to the society?
A: I would like to start some kind of scholarship programmes for deserving students that will help them pursue their desired career.
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