Knowing what you want in life and achieving that goal with nothing letting you alter your course from the objective is a sure way towards attaining what Afreen Shiraz did within a few years. That is success.
She’s an entrepreneur, a stylist and beautician. Her business: Styling and Pret-Promotion. Her banner – Ellemint Pret and Ellemint Salon et Spa. Afreen Shiraz, now a major player in the fraternity, took time out to reveal some much valued advice and inspiration for the newer entrants. Here’s her take on work, success and life.
Q: What’s happening currently at Ellemint Pret and Ellemint Salon?
AS: Year 2013 was quite hectic as well as fruitful for House of Ellemint. We completed three successful years of Ellemint Pret which we celebrated with much fanfare. And Ellemint Salon et Spa celebrated its 8th year. Ellemint Pret plans to expand in 2014 and launch its own brand which is very exciting for us.
Q: Many people enter the field of fashion and beauty and then fade away within a few years. What is the reason for this and how can you make sure that you stay on top of your game?
AS: It’s extremely cut throat. One has to have strategies to stay on top of everything. My background and degree with Masters in Business Administration has helped me face the challenging market. I feel perhaps lack of education and experience could attribute to this fading away. Passion and commitment play a significant role as well.
Q: When did you first decide to set up Ellemint Salon et Spa?
AS: Beauty and beauty treatments were always my passion since college-days. After attaining my Masters in Marketing and gaining experience by working in various sectors like banking, advertising, teaching, etc, I realised my true passion and decided to follow my dream. It started from a small space in the vicinity of Defence and my clientele grew with time.
Q: You have been trained abroad as a stylist/beautician. Do share the details with us.
AS: My ground training started from Karachi. For various hair, nails, skin training and methodology I went to Italy followed by Malaysia and Dubai. I attend regular refresher courses locally as well. To provide our clientele with the latest products and beauty technology this is an on-going process. Continuous education is of utmost importance in this field.
Q: After Ellemint Salon, you ventured out launching a multi-brand boutique and display ‘Ellemint Pret’. What made you branch out in this particular arena of the fashion business?
AS: During my salon days, I felt there was a huge demand from my clientele, relatives, friends and well-wishers to further add a Pret store to Ellemint portfolio making it a one-stop-solution for ladies – salon, spa, clothes, shoes and jewellery all under one roof. After a successful five-year spell of Ellemint Salon et Spa, fashion was my next destination. It just came very naturally and I went with the flow.
Ellemint Pret provides a platform for upcoming designers to showcase their creations. It encourages and promotes Pakistani fashion not only in Pakistan but abroad as well. We’ve had a successful exhibition in the US and plan to have many more around the globe.
Q: What is the one outstanding feature of Ellemint Pret?
AS: Ellemint Pret, like my salon/spa, is targeted for everyone. It’s an extremely affordable experience. Adorning yourself with designer wear and latest trends in fashion at prices you don’t have to give a second thought to, is what Ellemint Pret is all about.
Our prices are very attractive for the clients. Casual Pret starts from Rs.2500. We base our service on convenience. No hassles of going to tailors or for embroidery or embellishments. We provide the latest updated styles and designs. At Ellemint Pret we stay updated in international trends as well. Our designers give maximum value and consumer benefit for each product bought.
Q: You have worked with top celebrities of Pakistan at Ellemint Salon et spa. Describe the process of working with celebs to create that celeb-style amazing looks.
AS: We’ve dressed celebs for personality shoots, models for fashion shows and shoots. Many are also our regular clients. Celebrities are as accessible as any one of us. They are generally quite accommodating and I have not had to put up with tantrums so far!
Q: What is your beauty regime?
AS: Facials are extremely important to maintain a healthy skin. I cleanse every night and exfoliate twice a week. Sunblock is a must to prevent any UV/sun damage. It’s convenient to have a two in one product so your moisturiser can be your sun block too.
Q: Basic make-up tools you always have in your bag?
AS: Make-up habits and tools differ for everyone, every taste. My must-haves include my favourite lipstick – as a matter of fact I only carry a lipstick in my bag!
Q: Advice for people about to venture in the fashion business?
AS: Follow your passion with honesty. Be yourself, discover your talents and follow it with honesty. And success will follow. Last but not the least have faith in yourself. God helps those who help themselves!
Q: What is the secret of standing out in a crowded market where both designers and stylists are rampant?
AS: Believing in oneself! Being a leader rather than a blind follower!
Q: Do you have any plans of extending your salon and designer outlets to cater to men?
AS: Not yet. Dealing with men is a different ball game altogether