A decade after founding the hugely succesful blinkbrowbar Vanita Parti takes the time to talk us through what motivated her to become an entrepreneur and changing a whole sector of the beauty industry.
What inspired you to start a business centred around eyebrow threading?
There was a huge gap in the market – London needed to shape up their brows and no one had heard of threading. It seems crazy now, but I knew that Londoners and eventually Brits everywhere would love the results.
After your first, which Brow Bar would you say was the most significant to set up and why?
Personally, I think Selfridges was a huge opening for us. It was a forward thinking store and offered a great profile for us. It not only attracts clients from all parts of London but also clients on a global scale.
Setting up your own business as a new mother must not have been easy, what were some of the most memorable hurdles you encountered?
The children were always in the background and when I answered the phone in the early days, the kids often gave the game away and let everyone know that my staff of 10 at the Head Office was really a staff of three, my two children and I. Often I've had to have them in tow and there are times when you drop the ball (many a time actually!) but it becomes part of life and now, as teenagers, they love the fact that I have an obsession other than them!
We’re guessing your job must be really diverse, can you talk us through a typical day in the life as the Founder of Blink Brow Bar?
No day is ever the same, that’s for sure. A typical day for me would be to drop my little one off at school, as the older kids travel independently. I then travel by bus or taxi, depending on my first meeting, to our Marylebone Head Office where I then spend my time catching up with my team internally. I can cover a lot in a day from looking at new product ideas, meeting with Marketing to plan our new Neelam Gill Model campaign, discussing treatments and customer service with the Training Manager or looking at sales by store to ensure we are doing all we can to accommodate customers. If I have lunch, it will be with my sister who runs Operations or will be a work meeting and chance to meet with someone in the industry or a trip to one of the stores. I try and get away by 5/6pm to ensure that the children have settled down to homework and chaos has not ensued!
You used Burberry model Neelam Gill as part of the blinkbrowbar campaign – what made you feel she was the right fit for the brand?
The idea struck me one day when I was travelling by tube and saw that Burberry had used an Indian model which is quite unusual. She was so striking, with fabulous eyebrows, I knew then and there that she had to the ambassador for blinkbrowbar. We made the call and here we are today! I also love the fact that that she is reflects everything that is so great about being Indian and British, everything that our brand is about.
Over the last ten years the eyebrow has seen a number of different trends; from being plucked into obscurity to the thick, power brow style commonly associated with Cara Delevingne – have you had to adapt the threading styles on offer to keep up, or do you just keep treatments consistent?
There are definitely trends, but on the whole we try to encourage clients to work with their brows and the natural shape of them as well as the shape of their face. It really has to be an individual consultation in terms of shaping. Fullness is a thing that I don’t think will revert back, but a sharp defined shape versus a softer, messier brows are current looks at the moment and each can easily be created through shaping and use of brow colour. Watch out for our Autumn campaign!
What’s your signature holiday style?
Kaftan tops, tailored shorts, flip flops, natural and relaxed.
Favourite accessory for at the beach?
A bright Indian embroidered beach bag.
Swimsuit or Bikini?
Lately a swimsuit. There are such fabulous cut away styles and they can be very elegant.
Pool or sea?
Warm Mediterranean Sea, what could be better?
What smell reminds you of holiday the most and why?
The smell of Ambre Solaire Suntan Lotion – a childhood scent that reminds me our trips to the South of France.
Where is the best beach you’ve ever visited?
Most recently, I loved Coco Mat on the Island of Serifos in Greece. Clear aquamarine water, quiet and no sea weed!
How do you adapt your beauty routine on holiday?
I overdose on Oil to hydrate the skin and hair. I use Mauli Oil for body and Ila as a facial moisturiser. I use Kerestase Hair Protector and Coconut Oil to moisturise my hair on the beach. Make up is a gloss for the day and bright lipstick for the evenings. Waterproof brow product, lash oil, kajal eyeliner for light eye make up with a clear nail varnish to keep hands looking healthy.
What’s your go-to beach hairstyle?
Frizzy! So I use hair bands and a side plait to get control. I never carry a hair dryer as it’s just too hot.
What would be your must have swimwear piece from the Melissa Odabash SS16 collection?
Sumatra Bandeau in green. Simple but striking.
blinkbrowbar founder, Vanita Parti MBE, is the pioneer of the walk-in brow bar and largely responsible for bringing the ancient technique of threading into the 21st century. She launched the first ever blinkbrowbar in 2004 and with an award winning line up of products and services Vanita has now done for brows what walk-in nail bars have done for nails. In January 2015, Vanita was honoured in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2015 for her services to the beauty industry, receiving an Order of the British Empire, Civil Member (MBE).