An Indepth Interview with a Graduate of The Lash and Brow Institute
– TAMRYN COMBRINK
INT: Tam, tell us a little bit about yourself.
TAM: I’m thirty-five years old, a full time working mother of a ten-year-old son. I have worked in this industry for three years now, came from a corporate background but my passion definitely lies within the beauty industry and it always has. I have my own little business which I run from my own studio. Before I found a way to get into the industry I did corporate media and advertising, which I was in for a good couple of years. Typically, I was very unhappy doing that, and now… now I’m just grateful that I was able to find my passion within the industry through The Urban Lash & Brow Institute.
INT: How and when did you manage to break out of corporate?
TAM: So, I left corporate just over three years ago. It was basically at a point where I was super unhappy with just life in general you know… waking up in the morning with that horrible gut feeling that you have to go sit in corporate meetings all day, was just really eating at my soul. It was terrible. At the time, I had a friend that went through a very drastic health issue and she was diagnosed with one of the worst forms of breast cancer… and it was a kind of a wake up for me that life is far too short to not pursue your dreams. I saw that I had to do what I wanted to do… and that was when I decided to make a change.
INT: And why did you decide to go into microblading, and specifically with The Urban Lash & Brow Institute?
TAM: So, like I mentioned, with my friend being diagnosed with cancer, we were actually researching ways for her to do her brows, you know, because of the chemo, and I stumbled on microblading and microblading training at The Urban Lash & Brow Institute – well at the time it was called The Urban Beauty Lounge. Back then, microblading was really very new so I gave them a call to find out what is this incredible thing. The woman I spoke to was amazing. I got the gist of the whole procedure and then she said to me, you know you would be fantastic in this… you’re knowledgeable about cosmetics… you’re a perfectionist. Maybe you should give it a try. It was just one of those moments where the lightbulb goes on and I could actually see myself doing it as a permanent thing. And you know, it’s just one of those things where you just, you have to take the opportunity and the opportunity was right there in front of me. It was the best decision I’ve made in my life. I couldn’t be happier.
INT: That’s fantastic. That’s really good to hear.
INT: You said earlier that you’re working from your own studio. Is that a studio at home, do you have other people working with you?
TAM: It’s a home-based studio. So, no, I don’t have anyone working for me. I’m a solo microblading artist… but I do also work as a freelancer, obviously at [The Urban Beauty Lounge], but also at other salons on other days of the week.
INT: So, you’re actually able to plan your own day, you can decide okay, I want to go and watch my little boys’ soccer game or whatever he’s into. Sorry, I’m not taking a client thing, but you know I’ll see you at six. So, you’ve got like freedom-
TAM: Exactly! It’s definitely made my time more flexible. It’s amazing not having to answer to a boss anymore, and I know that whatever I put in, that’s what I get out, and I reap the rewards… not some corporate wannabe moving up the ladder. I am able to spend more time with my family and my son. I’m far less stressed when I get home in the evenings. I must that from this whole change… life… my lifestyle has changed dramatically. My health has improved. I sleep better at night. From a health and sanity point of view it’s just been the best decision that I have made.
INT: Wow. Okay. So, do you only do microblading?
TAM: So, I am specialized in microblading specifically, that is my go to, and that is what I’m known for. But I’ve recently qualified in a specialized treatment which is more anti-aging and micro needling. And then on the occasion I do eyelashes and extensions, but my main specialization is eyebrows.
INT: And you specifically have a personal connection to working on brows, having stumbled across microblading because of your friend’s need to feel better about herself. So, do you think that it can really do that? Can it really change a person’s confidence and self-esteem?
TAM: Absolutely! Yes. I’ve seen the effect first-hand, so many times.
INT: So, I imagine that must be quite rewarding and fulfilling at the end of the day…
TAM: Oh, very rewarding. Even though the industry definitely is tough, and if you want to be a fantastic microblading technician, you have to have a great technique. You need understand everything around the procedure and let clients know exactly what to expect. So, that at the end of the day, they leave their session feeling great and looking great, and they know to come back for a touch-up and what they can expect from the healed results, etc. But still, it’s very, very rewarding. I’ve had lots of situations where women come in with alopecia, or have been through cancer treatments, and they’ve lost their brows and it does so much for a person and their confidence, and just to be able to give that back to a person is amazing.
INT: Now, I have to ask, is it also financially rewarding?
TAM: Yeah definitely… financially this has been incredible in a sense that I never ever used to earn this much money working in corporate, let’s just put it that way… and I worked a lot. We had targets and sales and you know that was a decent salary but to be able to come and own your own business and manage your own time… It’s like whatever you put in you get out. And especially when you’re working with such specialized techniques, you don’t have to be shy about what you charge, because people are clients for your time and your skill so you can make great money in this industry if you are prepared to obviously put in the time. So, financially it’s been fantastic for me. I mean, I have been a single mom and to be able to just kind of give my son the education that he needs without having to worry about finances…? That has been amazing. And also, being able to grow my own business without the financial help from banks has just been great. So, yes, I’d say that it’s very rewarding financially.
INT: What would you say is the most challenging, or hardest part of what you do?
TAM: The most challenging part is managing people’s expectations, people can be very difficult, you’ve got to know how to read people, and you need to be open and honest about the procedure, don’t sugar coat things, because it will bite you in the bum at some point. So, managing people’s expectations at the end of the day has been definitely the most challenging part of the work.
INT: Do you have any advice for anyone who is just starting out, or who wants to get started in microblading?
TAM: From what I’ve learnt from coming into the industry… You have to be one hundred percent sure that you want to do this kind of procedure, like I mentioned to you, it takes a lot of skill, and it takes a lot of patience. If you are, then follow your dreams and just go for it. Don’t be scared to quit your job and pursue what you want to because yes, it’s hard, but it’s so rewarding at the end of the day.
INT: Thanks Tam. I appreciate your time. Keep it up! You’re a real inspiration.
TAM: Awesome. Thank you so much.
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