Recently, Desh-Videsh sat down with the winner of the 2013 Tampa MyShadi Bridal Expo Mehndi Competition, Vaishali Mehta. Learn more about Vaishali and how she got started in the henna business.
Desh-Videsh: For those who are not familiar with you or your work, can you share a bit on how you got started in the wedding industry?
Vaishali Mehta: There were never any intentions about entering the wedding industry. It started out as a hobby that I enjoyed for personal satisfaction. I believe you have to enjoy what you do. A friend needed a personal favor at the last minute and requested for me to pitch in and do the mehndi for her wedding. My work was appreciated and acted as a reference, and before I knew it, I was not only doing what I liked, but it was also earning me money, becoming more than a hobby and giving me insight into how much talent and dedication goes into our events.
DV: How does it feel to be the winner for the MyShadi Bridal Expo Mehndi Competition?
Mehta: I feel very honored when my work is appreciated at such a large platform, especially when it is given to me after comparing me to many of my equally talented colleagues.
DV: Your passion for this art form is evident. What inspired you to become a Professional Henna Artist?
Mehta: Much of my personal satisfaction turned into appreciation, which led to confidence, good word of mouth references and a lot of learning about how to manage an independent business. The drive to move forward as a business came from my background in graphic design, my experience, and exposure to different aspects of our culture. Knowing that I have a creativity and imagination as well as skill helps me to reflect my individual personality in my work.
DV: What inspired your winning Mehndi design?
A wedding in a woman’s life is an event that is often imagined and dreamt about. Sometimes, when just sitting idle thinking about that day or the one you are going to spend it with can lead to the feeling of inner tickle and joy that makes you feel good. I wanted to capture the process of creating those dreams and of the good moments to come.
DV: What other wedding related services you offer?
Mehta: My main focus is henna; however, it is also in the presentation that enhances the Henna. So, I do use a lot of adjunct materials, like glitter and different accessories to express my work. In addition, I have also been involved with decorations involving gifts that are exchanged between the families.
DV: What is the biggest lesson you learned your first year in business? What was the biggest lesson you learned in this past year of business?
Mehta: The first year in business is like learning how to swim in the ocean. As a homemaker with the opportunity to further your likes, you quickly find out that it is not just about talent. You need to find the platform and ability to fund the expression for that talent. It also required prioritizing life, being able to balance family life, and striving for success in my professional goals. Over the last year, management, scheduling, and monetary management were key learning features, that is in addition to expanding into different ways of expressing my work.
DV: What has been your favorite wedding or moment that stands out to you and why?
Mehta: I cannot lie, I still remember the day that I got married. The feeling of knowing that you are about to spend the rest of your life with someone you have chosen to do so, not just inherited, can be exciting yet nerve wrecking. Knowing that a new journey is about to start, you are treated as a princess, all your needs are met by a simple request, and the pampering from friends and family is an additional bonus. The entire journey can be so joyous. Each wedding I have been to, I have enjoyed how different women experience this joy and the glow they reflect on their face. Watching those feelings of inner content and the dreams about to come true are always the best.
DV: The economic climate affected the U.S. wedding industry in a profound way over the past years, including the normally untouchable high-end segment of the market. To what extent did it affect Indian weddings and your business?
Mehta: I have seen a wide spectrum. There have been people who have downscaled their celebrations to a more financially practical approach. Others have tried to maintain the same standards as their previous family weddings – not to be left behind but also not to be completely lavish. Others, destination weddings have been a recent craze and people do make arrangements for the entertainment and comforts of their guests. As per my business, I have tried to always spend my time with the marrying couple and their families if needed and gotten a perspective of what they would like to express and tailor my services accordingly.
DV: Do you provide your services locally, across Florida, or even all over the United States?
Mehta: Currently, I am trying to focus in Florida. However, the idea is to grow the business, so that is a destination that needs to be reached.
DV: What suggestions do you have for brides planning their wedding?
Mehta: It is your wedding and your dream. Listen to what your family has to say and be practical about the budget and all of the process. However, also remember, this event is a commitment for life and most of you have probably dreamt of that special day. So, please make sure everything does go according to your plans. Be meticulous about the details and communicate about the expectations from your family members and friends, manage time efficiently and after all the hard work, don’t forget to enjoy the precious day.
DV: Do you have any suggestions for brides who are planning their wedding Mehndi?
Mehta: It should reflect your personality, one of your groom and the world you are about to build together. It should make your groom hold your hands and just look at them over and over until he can say these are the hands I want to hold forever.
Recently, Desh-Videsh sat down with the winner of the 2013 Tampa MyShadi Bridal Expo Mehndi Competition, Vaishali Mehta.
Learn more about Vaishali and what inspired her winning design. Phone: 813-948-8436, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.