Getting to know you: Shahena Ali

What do you currently do?
In 2007 I founded The Powder Lounge Brow & Lash Bars and more recently, the Glamour Express Brow & Lash Bars, which are located in large high street stores such as Topshop, Debenhams and Superdrug. We also have an innovative range of The Powder Lounge beauty products, with new products constantly in development. 
 
What is your inspiration in business?
The needs and demands of our clientele have always been the driving force behind the direction taken by the business, as well as the types of products we decide to launch. I saw a gap in the market for express brow and lash treatments and subsequently The Powder Lounge was born!
All of our products are also highly innovative, such as a new range of make-up containing mood enhancing pheromones. This is something that has not been seen in the beauty market before and so a very exciting new development.
To use the old cliché, necessity is of the mother of invention and is a major contributor towards inspiring me in business.
 
Who do you admire?
I very much admire the work ethic of my father actually! He has always been self-employed and had drummed it into me for years that hard work (and good timing) will always pay off.
 
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
I delayed launching products because I had wanted to extend the range of services which The Powder Lounge could offer before entering the market. Looking back however, I would have launched our products much earlier as there has been such a demand for them. The earlier they were launched the less competition we would have had within the market, which would also have been an advantage.
 
What defines your way of doing business?
Effective planning and organisation is obviously key when it comes to running a successful business, however I am also a great believer in the importance of following you instincts. Combining the two is a very effective way of doing business successfully. The other aspect of good business is the people you work with and choose to employ. The business is only as good as the people employed in it and without good people, there would be no success in business.  
 
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Persistence, planning and hard work are the foundations of a good business and sooner or later these will always bring their own rewards in making your business a success.
 
I would advise those new to business to stay determined, don’t get emotional and don’t give up. It is inevitable that you will encounter difficulties throughout your self-employed career, either from external factors or internal factors.
You are likely to come up against problems that you may not have planned for or expected; problems that you therefore may not have a definite solution or answer for.  It is important to remember that you need to take an objective viewpoint when making decisions, accept help when you need it and not get too emotional about things.
Through approaching everything with the right attitude, there is a higher likelihood of getting through any problems that arise, hopefully ensuring that your business is a success.
 
It is also important to be you need to be passionate about the field in which your business is based. Starting a business is full of ups and downs and you need to maintain a hunger for knowledge in order to keep updated about the field in which your business operates, in order to get through the bad times as well as the good.
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