What does it take to build a business from scratch? We asked Blink founder and eyebrow threading pioneer Vanita Parti for her top career advice and about her journey so far
Responsible for launching the first ever walk-in brow bar in 2004, Vanita Parti has been a key figure in bringing eyebrow threading to the masses over the last ten years thanks to her company, Blink .
Having helped transform what used to be a niche area of the beauty industry into a service available on a much wider scale (and our go-to hair removal method of choice), Vanita went from security to start up opting to leave her prominent marketing role at a global airline to be her own boss.
Now with 22 brow bars and an award-winning range of beauty products under her belt, she acts as a real inspiration for anyone looking to pluck up the courage to swap careers and try something new. We chatted to the successful businesswoman about the ins and outs of her job, overcoming her biggest work obstacles and her top career advice for those looking to follow in her footsteps.
GTG: What attracted you to your job?
VP: Two things really - the need to be creative and the need to be my own boss. I really wanted to create my own brand and a concept that didn't already exist. I also loved the idea of being in charge of my time although I can't say that is strictly true anymore as Blink has grown!
GTG: What has been the toughest part of your career to date?
VP: Trying to run a company and bring up children has been tough. The earlier years were really difficult trying to set up a business on a shoestring and look after two young children at the same time. Everything is tough at the beginning as it takes time to prove your credibility, but it is also fun as you have little to lose.
GTG: Do you have a mentor and how have they helped you?
VP: Mentors are invaluable and rather than have one mentor in particular, I chat to many successful entrepreneurs and try and glean tips from them. I am learning that the best advice seems to be to trust your instinct – I have gone round in many circles but always come back to my first thoughts.
GTG: What was the worst job you ever had?
VP: I worked in an internet start-up for a while when I left British Airways, but I didn't really have a defined role. They paid a fortune but no one knew what they were doing and I realized boredom is too high a price to pay for a great salary.
GTG: What has been the biggest learning curve of your career?
VP: Probably not to be too emotional. Business is business and you need to be tough! You will always be responsible for an awful lot, but it comes back to what makes sense for the business.
GTG: What was the best advice you have been given along the way? And why?
VP: The best advice was from my time at British Airways. It was drummed into me that a good brand always puts the customer first rather than what might makes sense financially. I am not sure that this still rings true for BA, but I always think about everything from a customer's perspective rather than what is easier for Blink.
GTG: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this industry?
VP: Make sure that you have a really strong and clear proposition for your customer. Then keep going and don't let obstacles get in your way – be persistent and stay focused.
GTG: What is your team management strategy?
VP: I have tried to avoid hierarchy and to keep a consensual approach to decisions we make. I think people need to exercise ownership and work to their strengths.
GTG: What is the one piece of advice you would give to your 17-year-old self?
VP: I had no plan which is no bad thing, but I would now tell myself to be more confident and take advantages of wonderful opportunities and the fabulous freedom I had - perhaps to live abroad and learn a language. I don't think having a plan at this age is always necessary, but just making the most of every opportunity.
GTG: What does the future hold?
VP: To grow Blink into a fabulous Eyebrow Emporium globally. We are on our way with a wonderful range of products and our recent launch at Saks New York – it’s a really exciting time for us.