A beautician is hoping to give people a post-lockdown boost as she prepares to open a new salon.
The Elysian Parlour in West Bridgford is being opened on Monday by Maliyah Kayani, after a year-long wait.
This week’s announcement that beauty salons can reopen from April 12 means Mrs Kayani, 31, will welcome her first customers, despite being ready to open before the first lockdown over a year ago.
The salon will offer a range of treatments including microblading, manicures and chemical peels, and even has an on-site dentist.
Mrs Kayani said that she has had to keep pace with bookings since getting the green light, and cannot wait to get started.
She said: “I’ve been dreaming about this day where I own my own salon. I’ve probably done every single beauty and advanced beauty course you can think of.Inside the new salon (Image: Maliyah Kayani)
“Throughout lockdown I’ve stayed really positive. I haven’t let anything get to me or get me down. I’ve kept on adding to the salon and adding to my business and thinking of ways that I can improve.
“I was always taught it is important to be patient. They say patience is a virtue and they are right. Covid proved to me that planning is vital.”
The mum-of-two will be assisted by a team of 10 beauticians, with her family helping set up the business which has been 10 years in the making.
Mrs Kayani started in beauty as a teenager and worked as a make-up artist on catwalk shows worldwide while saving to eventually open her own business, even selling her own car to raise funds.
The pandemic has allowed her to improve the salon despite social distancing measures meaning that only one contractor could be on-site at any one time.
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Now the salon is ready to welcome customers, with an “Instagrammable” flower wall, a pink and gold colour scheme and comfortable furnishings.
Mrs Kayani says the unisex salon offers treatments to all and caters for groups including hen parties, birthdays and bridal showers.
She added: “I’m hoping that it will get everybody feeling happy and positive again.
“For all this time that we’ve been in lockdown, people have found it really difficult with children at home, so this gives them that time now to focus on themselves and get themselves back up to scratch with all their trending beauty treatments, get their skin glowing and get them feeling amazing again.
“I want everybody to have something to look forward to, and to be able to find everything they need, under one roof.”
Renuka Singh belongs to Kudebhar in Sultanpur district. She is now working in a high-end cosmetic story and earning Rs 4,000 per month.
Talking about her journey, she says, “Four months ago, I came to stay with my aunt, who lives here. I them decided that I should do something on my own. My parents were unwilling and wanted me to get married. Without telling them, I went job hunting and found that this store wanted salesgirls. I applied, got selected and spent four weeks training in the art of make-up and product details. I convinced my aunt not to tell my parents about this.”
Renuka’s father and two brothers are farmers and she is the only graduate in the family.
“I did graduation through a correspondence course. My two younger sisters gave up education after primary and now make cow dung cakes with my mother. I always wanted to go beyond the village and I have done it,” she says proudly.
For Renuka, her present job is not her goal. “I am learning English after my working hours. I hope to work harder and get better openings,” she confides.
Her parents know that she is ‘working somewhere’ and her aunt manages to convince them to let her stay on in Lucknow.
“The revolt will finally come the day they try to force me back to the village,” she says with a smile.
Shalini and Ragini, both sisters, are also in Renuka’s mould.
They belong to a Dalit family in Kori Ka Purwa in Bahraich district and they set their eyes in a big city for the first time when they boarded a bus to Lucknow in November last year.
Both are working part time in a multi-brand store and live in a paying guest accommodation that is actually a garage with six girls living in it.
“Our mother thinks we are doing our graduation in the university. They know nothing about our jobs. We had come here with the intention of studying but then we realized that earning money is more important than spending it on studies,” says Shalini, the elder one.
The girls lost their father three years ago to cancer and their mother is working in the fields to let the girls’ study.
“I am sure that when we visit our mother next month with our first salary (Rs 3500 each) she will forgive us. We plan to take up some more odd jobs after working hours to add to our income,” the sisters say.
Shubhi, a small-town girl from a family of weavers in Mau district, is another one who has knocked hard at the glass door and is working in a beauty parlour.
She worked for a month without any money at a local parlour, learnt the basics and then got employed.
She gets Rs 2500 per month and stay with the lady who owns the parlour.
“I do odd jobs at her house and she gives me food in return. I almost manage to save my entire salary,” she says.
What is worrying Shubhi is not what will happen when her father learns about her job but about her attire.
“He will be fine with the job because I work only with ladies but when he sees me in jeans and T-shirt, which is the parlour uniform, he will blow his top. I am worried about dealing with the situation but my owner says she will talk to him,” she explains.
Shubhi had come to Lucknow with a relative to study further after intermediate but she chose to get a job instead.
Shubhi plans to continue her studies along with her job and wants to do master’s in business administration one day.
Her parlour owner, Radhika Singh, says, “Girls like Shubhi are what modern day India is all about. They have faced the travails of life and want to cross over to a new world. They are willing to work for a new tomorrow and it is their positivity which is infectious.”