~ Heeramani Patra ~
It is always refreshing when you find out about a new venture that does not only sound promising and exciting, but it actually is just as it appears.
Well today’s WOTW has this down to pat with her small business which is really just a passionate hobby of hers.
Heeramani Patra is an Indian national with an MBA in Marketing and Finance but has instead chosen to invest in her passion of Henna Art.
Patra’s business has hit St. Lucia like a tidal wave and she has seen her popularity soar as locals flock to her base in Bonne Terre to get their unique tattoos done.
The friendly businesswoman moved to St. Lucia to be with her husband who works here and has since delved into her art work which she has always enjoyed doing.
She said her mind was set when she saw how locals responded to her art work and whilst she could have gone down the corporate route with her MBA, she decided to do what she loves most and make people happy at the same time
Henna is a dye which is prepared from a plant and is used in the art of temporary body art (staining). Henna is also used to dye hair and fingernails, as well as fabrics like silk, wool and leather.
In tattoo form, they can last anywhere from five days to two weeks depending on how you look after them as well as your skin type.
To date, it is still an important custom in many areas as a form of family traditions like Bridal henna nights.
This ancient art form was found in places like the Arabian Peninsula, South Asia, Carthage and some parts of North Africa, as well as the Horn of Africa.
The artist said her tattoos are non toxic, can be placed anywhere about the body and are applied completely pain free.
Patra said she doesn’t even see the art as a business but a hobby and a way to meet new people and make new friends.
She said: “So many people have come to me as clients but leave as friends”
Many people who are considering real tattoos, she said, have come to her to try the henna to see if they could cope with having a real one and so she thinks it’s a good tool to use when undecided about getting the real deal.
Patra gets invited to numerous events, mostly national and this is where her clientele builds up rapidly.
Luckily she said, she has the full support of her husband who lends a vital helping hand when she needs it most like looking after their children or helping her set up for big events etc.
She said she does not receive financial aid from anyone in the running of her business so it is solely based on client numbers. However, at the rate that her popularity is growing, she is doing ok.
Patra said the recognition and support she receives is overwhelming and humbling. She said: “I am very happy that people like my art work and really encourage me to do different designs. That’s what I wanted. That’s the reason why I started and I’m happy with that”
She said she is excited and is still getting used to people who she does not know, saying that they know her through her work.
The artist said it’s a unique feeling and it makes her feel very special: ““Though her first language is not English, people still find it easy to talk to me and we understand each other. Language is all about communication”
The best part of it all, according to Patra, is hearing her husband tell her how proud he is of her and she said, she cannot explain how that makes her feel.
As if Patra couldn’t get any more adorable, she went on to reveal that her secret is not knowing how to blend in with the islanders’ dress codes.
She said everybody says when it comes to her designs, she creates sexy styles as the tattoos are done on different body parts, but when it comes to her personal style, she is very conservative and would rather cover up so she doesn’t understand what is correct or acceptable to wear in St. Lucia and whether she should completely cover up or to wear less clothing, to blend in.
I say, wear what make you feel comfortable.