Name: Nazha Nasfin
Company: Naza Henna
Website: Naza Henna
How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up with henna in my culture, used during celebrations, holidays and weddings. I fell in love with the art form at a very young age, I think 10. I continued to apply it with a toothpick out of a bowl, not knowing how to mix it properly or apply it efficiently. When the internet came to life, I started to study and apply the techniques on myself and roommates in college. I also went to school for fine arts, which helped me grow as an artist. After graduation, I turned the hobby into a business.
What is your elevator pitch on what you do? I’m fortunate for the fact that my art speaks for itself. I’m always doodling on myself to try out new ideas for designs and when I’m around people, I find that they fawn over my Henna. I simply give them a brief overview on the harmlessness of the Henna and how it lasts for about a week or so. Before I know it, business cards are exchanged!
How do you define success? Do you consider yourself “successful”? I definitely feel that I’m successful. I believe that when a person outlines a set of goals for themselves and manages to achieve them, then they should feel successful. Whether it’s something as small as walking a couple of miles a week or graduating from a university, everyone has something that they eventually accomplish and should feel successful about.
What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far? The ability to not only do what I’m passionate about, but most importantly, be able to share this art form with so many people. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to employ and train other artists who have an interest in fine arts, as we all know, being an artist doesn’t always pay the bills! So helping other artists utilize their talents in a successful way makes me very proud. It’s also satisfying to see the smiles of my clients when they see the finished product. It’s what keeps me going.
What have been some of your mistakes? What have you learned from them? Like any artist and entrepreneur, I have made many mistakes and one in particular was attempting going into business for myself full time before I was ready. Sometimes as an artist you get over eager when things are going well and people are interested in what you do. Unfortunately, I made the initial mistake of not having the business side in order and that brought on a lot of challenging situations.
What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally? Personally I would love to raise a family. Professionally, I want to grow my brand and make my product line of balms, handcrafted items and apparel available nationally.
Who has been your greatest inspiration? I am inspired by any woman that has broken out of their social norm to become a leader in her own right. I was raised in a conservative Islamic home that wasn’t able or willing to assimilate into the American culture. I was expected to go to school and become a doctor or a lawyer or at least marry one lol. Becoming an artist was frowned upon. I have a lot of respect and admiration for women all over the world that found the strength and courage to step up and set an example. I love it when any woman proves that we can do whatever we want and be successful doing it!
When was the last time you were overwhelmed and cried from something provoked by work? I found myself overwhelmed earlier this year when my business began to grow at an exponential rate. It was tough keeping up with the demand of my clientele and finding ways to create a balance with my personal life and not work 14hour days!
How has your career affected your personal life/relationships? It can be tough balancing personal life with business responsibilities. However, everyone in my circle has been incredibly supportive and helped me to grow as a woman and as an entrepreneur. I feel that my career can at times take a toll on my social life, but because I have the right people around me, we’ve all become even closer.
Have you ever thought about giving up? What provokes those thoughts? The thought has crossed my mind before going fulltime for my business. I of course worked a full-time corporate job for 10 years while growing my business on the side. The fear of not having a steady paycheck or benefits is something that can be very intimidating when trying to venture off on your own. Almost like leaving the safety nest of your parents’ home lol. Now that I have ripped that scary band aid off, I’m doing what I love, every day. I work harder than I ever have, but I am very fulfilled and humbly living my dream. I don’t think anyone can ask for anything better.
What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights? Sometimes I find myself dreaming in hashtags. I’m always coming up with new ideas and marketing strategies and it can keep me up at night. The problem with working for yourself and growing your own company is that your mind is constantly in work mode.
What makes you happy? Being a couch potato with my boyfriend and our pets. It’s the best feeling in the world!
What advice would you tell your 21 year old self? I would tell 21 year old Nazha to take more risks for herself professionally and to not be afraid of sacrificing certain things. Oh, and to retain the shape I achieved at age 25, because our metabolism will never be the same!
What is the biggest misconception about what you do? There’s still a learning curve on what henna is, where it comes from and the safety of it. I am constantly education clients about the organic and natural henna recipes I use and to avoid black henna, which has PPD (hair dye).
What is your favorite quote? “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ― Hunter S. Thompson