Eyebrow expert Shavata wasn't plucked from obscurity - her hard work, talent and tenacity helped her to build a unique brand. Find out how she made brows big business...
Quite probably the most famous and celebrated brow expert in the world, Shavata Singh first made an impression on a Vogue editor before going on to tend to the eyebrows of models, high flying business women and celebrities alike at her dedicated brow studios. I caught up with her to discover how to grow both great brows and business empires...
Firstly, why eyebrows? When did you discover that you had a talent and an eye for shaping brows?
I always say brows found me, not the other way round. Brow shaping became my thing at the Michaeljohn salon on Mayfair’s Albemarle Street. Clients loved the results and kept on coming back and that’s how it all began….
How did you get started in the industry? What was your big break?
I trained as a beauty therapist and my first job was as a therapist at Michaeljohn. My big break was that I was the only threader on the team and clients loved the results so much that they kept on coming back. Harrods approached me and offered me a space in Urban Retreat and I began to grow the business.
Was it tough starting your own business?
There were many challenges. For example when starting the product line one of the biggest challenges was finding a company to produce the Stencil Kit in quantities I wanted. We couldn’t order masses of stock like other established beauty brands, but I persisted and it worked.
Did you have a mentor or role model?
I’ve been inspired by the hard work ethic instilled in me by my parents.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love that I can achieve results for my clients in such a short amount of time and that some of the clients that I’ve been seeing for a long time have become firm friends. I love to see them and catch up.
What words of wisdom would you give to an aspiring brow expert or beauty industry business owner?
Work hard and believe in yourself; my successes all came as a result of hard graft, attention to detail and excellent service. Never be tempted to cut corners, always strive to be the best you possibly can. And always listen to what your client wants, never be afraid to ask questions.
Whose brows would you love to shape that you haven’t as yet?
I would love to reshape Kate Middleton’s brows to make them softer so that they frame her face better.
You have two children - how do you juggle family life with running a business?
I always do my best to set aside as much time as possible to be with my children at the important things, like school events and after school activities, and I try to pick them up from school a few days a week. It’s just a matter of being organised with my schedule and having a great team at the office.
How do you approach your own beauty and grooming regime? What are your essential products?
I love Sisley Mascara , £38, because it doesn’t smudge and it makes my lashes look thicker and longer. The New CiD Lip Gloss , £12.50, is great - the mirrored packaging and the little light inside makes it perfect to use in the evening or in the back of a cab when there is never enough light! Bare Minerals powder is another staple as it’s natural and light, as is Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush , £15.50. I just love this product as it lasts forever, is easy to apply and comes in great colours. Lastly I’m a real fan of Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream , £105, and the whole brand in general.
Any hard and fast brow shaping rules?
Always get brows professionally manicured, because groomed eyebrows make all the difference. Eyes are the most important feature on your face, so having them perfectly framed with beautiful brows only makes sense. The whole process takes no longer than 15 minutes. Even if you only go once in your life, to ‘find’ your shape, it will be worth it.
Also remember that brows are sisters not twins; if you try to make your brows identical you will end up plucking them to nothing.
How do you like to relax and switch off from the day job?
I love to spend time with family and friends over a meal.
Do you have a favourite treatment (other than brow shaping!)?
I enjoy regular manicures and pedicures!
Who are your top people in health, fitness and beauty?
I have facials with Dr Nigma Talib , 24 hours after one of her facials my skin will be glowing.
What do you think of the current brow trends? Do you think that the current popularity for bold, Cara Delevingne-esque brows will last?
The current trend is for having thicker brows with flatter arches, with the arch further out, which is a look best achieved if you already have a well-groomed and maintained thicker brow. I always advise that people see a professional for a brow style; if a celebrity’s brows suit you naturally, then it’s fine to be inspired by them, but don’t just assume that they will suit you. Brows need to be very delicately shaped to complement the contours of the face, which are different in us all.
To achieve this fuller brow look you need to leave your brows to grow for as long as possible - the cycle of hair growth is around 8-13 weeks so it’s best to be patient and prepared to wait a while for them to grow back before visiting a professional. To give the illusion of a fuller brow I recommend using a tint, as it can really help make the brows appear thicker and fuller, or if you’d rather, use a pencil like our Double Ended Pencil , £9.50, to fill in any gaps. Filling in brows will make them look fuller and help to define your eye area. Each morning, apply a brow tamer to ‘set’ the shape of the brows for the day – this is even more important when you have a fuller look.
What’s the future for your business empire? How do you see it growing?
We are launching a brow studio into the new Harvey Nichols in Baku this year which I am hugely excited about. For me it’s all about consolidating the existing business and growing internationally.