We met Michelle Tran, the owner of Meraki Browbar when our co-founder, Michelle decided to get her brows done. As described by her, "it was one of the best decisions I have ever made". Tran loves what she does and we see the passion in her for her business. We are super excited to have the opportunity to interview her.
1. Where are you from?
I am born and raised in East Vancouver, definitely proud to be Canadian!
2. Describe your typical day
I am all in one: the accountant, receptionist, artist, book keeper, marketing coordinator and assistant! My day typically consists of meeting with new clients and answering emails and booking appointments in between. Usually I post all my social media in the evenings. With a crazy schedule making lists definitely helps me keep organized and sane!
3. Tell me about Meraki Browbar and how did it come about?
Meraki means to do something with soul, creativity, or love. When you leave a piece of yourself in your work. I was really picky when it came to the name and my brand, I knew I wanted something that would stick with the company for a very long time so I really wanted something that was different and with a lot of meaning. It took me about 2 weeks to find the word 'Meraki'. It's funny how I actually came across the word. I was looking through dictionaries, thesauruses, and looking at everything for inspiration. Than finally, I decided to clear my mind and just think really simple for once. I decided to go on google and search 'pretty words' and I came across this beauty. Lol! I am not making this up!
4. What do you wish you could tell your younger self?
Do. Not. Pluck. Your. Eyebrows!!!!
5. You quit a 9-5 to focus on being a creative entrepreneur full-time. Tell us what that was like and challenges you have faced. Any advice to other women who want to start a company?
It was the scariest thing in my life thus far. I started helping out with my father's business when I was only 7 years old and an official employer when I was 14...I even had two jobs when I was in high school! So it's safe to say my resume is full with experience working for others. Without having residual income it means when you are on vacation -- you will not be paid, when you're sick -- you will not be paid, there are no benefits, no one will be there to hold your hand. The actual switch from 9-5 to self employed was probably the hardest compared to anything I have had on this journey. Looking back I don't regret it one bit...if the smallest accomplishment is ten times more rewarding because I know it's for my own business.
The number one challenge I faced in becoming a self-employed business is really, will I be good enough? Especially with a high demand in society where microblading is a huge fad and it is very competitive, how will I stand out from the rest? I try by staying true to my roots and what I believe in, being honest and realistic with the clients outcome and even simply having good customer service makes the biggest difference.
Some advice I would give to women who start their company is persistence. I am 100% certain you will not succeed the first time. You almost have to keep failing in order to succeed. Additionally, you can never do everything on your own. For you to create a successful business you need to realize and trust that other people can help you grow and work as a team.
6. What does it mean to be a creative entrepreneur?
To be creative is to translate what you see into what you do and create. Being able to have the freedom (because I am my own boss) in showing what I am capable of doing is awesome because there shouldn't be any limits in creativity!
7. What's your ultimate way to wind down?
The most ideal, ultimate wind down would be a technology-less environment with a warm cup of tea and a massage. I feel myself calming down even thinking about it!
8. What social media platform(s) do you use for your business and how are they useful?
I use Instagram and Facebook. I definitely think Instagram had a huge impact on my business. Almost 80% of all my clientele is because they had found me on Instagram and liked my photos. Something about seeing the actual outcome of the clients brows after the procedure really appeals to clients and encourages them to book an appointment with me.
9. In life, or in business, what's been the biggest accomplishment?
In business my biggest accomplishment would definitely have to be taking the first initial step of starting the business. When I overcame the fear of quitting my 9-5 job and going in to the unknown, I felt empowered; like I was able to accomplish anything.
In life, my biggest accomplishment thus far would be finding concrete friends and family who are there for you through thick and thin. I was infamous for starting a hobby and never finishing it. I had so much going on in my mind I always wanted to put it down on paper before I lose the momentum. After I had finished the Permanent Cosmetic Course I had numerous times where I wanted to just quit then and there (no really, it was more than 20 times). But the loved ones in my life kept pushing me to keep going and even surprised me with my own room to do my work in! (that was when I knew there was no turning back!). If it wasn't for them I would definitely not be where I am today.
10. What is on your to-do list that you desperately want to check off?
The one thing I desperately would like to check off is having my own store! I have been in the customer service industry for more than 10 years so I would love to call something my own. I have huge ideas and would love to create something where ladies (and hopefully men) would call it their haven. In my perspective, looking good is a huge part in feeling good. So if I am able to create the feeling of being beautiful inside AND out, I'm all for it! Hopefully, you'll be able to see that happening very soon :)