Introducing our exciting new partnership with Ayna Ayna Beauty! We are thrilled to offer discounted rates and can't wait to share her inspiring journey as a beauty entrepreneur with you. Keep reading to learn more!
1: What inspired you to open 'Ayna Ayna Beauty'? Tell us about your journey as a female
business owner in the beauty industry… What makes you unique from other beauty salons?
When I moved to Istanbul, I couldn't help but notice a glaring gap in the market. There was a
dearth of beauty establishments that prioritised self-care as a lifestyle choice, rather than a
mere utilitarian service. Furthermore, there seemed to be a serious lack of English-speaking
salons, even in the most affluent neighbourhoods of Istanbul. It was disappointing to see that my
desire for a full spa pedicure was met with nothing more than a sloshy bucket of water, blunt
tools, and little knowledge about hand and foot care. I knew that I had to fill this void and provide
a truly indulgent and rejuvenating experience to those who craved it- myself included!
2: You are based in Istanbul, Turkey - are you originally from there? Tell us about your life/ when
did you become an expat?
I was born in Istanbul, but when I was six years old, my mother and I immigrated to Florida.
Growing up, I spent time between the two countries, always feeling like an expat or a native
depending on the situation. I moved to Budapest to pursue a Master’s degree. That’s where I
came into contact with the Russian methodology of doing nails.
After my Masters, I was visiting my mother in Istanbul when I was offered a teaching job that
came with a salary that was too good to turn down. I loved teaching, but I found it too corporate,
and unfortunately, the women in my industry were… not supportive of each other.
It was during this time that I met my husband, and together, we decided to pool our resources
together to open a salon. That was three years ago, and since then, the salon has weathered a
pandemic and we are now navigating a national financial crisis. As a business owner, it's been
challenging, but I remain determined to find a way forward and continue offering our clients the
best possible service and products.
3: As someone who works in the beauty industry what would you say are the biggest ‘beauty trends’
It definitely depends on your lifestyle. Women who physically show-up for work are really into
permanent makeup because it saves them time in the morning and it saves them from hauling
makeup inside their bags. They also prefer gel manicures and shorter nails.
Women who don’t work at all prefer gel extensions and services that have lesser time between each
appointment, like G5 massages or lash extensions.
Lash lifts are popular with everyone.
4: What advice do you have for women who may be looking for facial rejuvenation but don’t
want to go under the knife…?
The medical tourism has definitely gotten very popular in Turkey. For that reason, prices for
enhancements and reconstructive surgery are aimed at foreigners. For expats who are settled
and earning the local currency, it may be difficult to set aside funds for beauty treatments.
A customised facial with skincare expert and a 'Dermapen' treatment will give you a great glow
and you are only required to do it once a month!
5: What would you say is the best massage for healing and relaxation? Is massage good for
Any massage that you come to with a quiet mind is a great massage. If you cannot achieve this,
it’s best to visualise your own body and focus on the physical sensations.
For female expat women and female digital nomads, what beauty advice would you give...
When scoping out beauty salons, what should you look for/what should you avoid?
Make sure you can communicate with them. You don’t want to go in asking for long, loose
waves and come out with a short bob.
Look at their social media.
Are their pictures consistent? What products are they using?
Look at their Google reviews. Don’t focus on location too much. Great service is worth traveling
for. Look around. Is it clean? Is it in a safe neighbourhood?
Ask questions. Always make an appointment and show up on time.
Ask for prices. Have a local ask for prices, too! (some places are a bit…well, scammy)
Be open to new experiences. Every country has their own way of doing things.
7: Tell us about permanent make up - what does it entail?
Permanent makeup is the process of inserting pigment into the skin and is a form of tattooing.
The pigment is permanent but will fade somewhat over time and will likely need to be touched-
up through the years. It involves measuring and checking for accuracy. Only after everyone is
happy with the shape and colour and the area is numbed does the artist start the actual
8: Where have you traveled/lived/worked that has left a lasting impression on you?
Working as an international teacher changed me. I have worked in kindergartens to universities.
I truly enjoy conveying information to people and watching their lives improve. I like helping
people. I like making space for people to create and discuss.
There are a lot of benefits to traveling and a simple Google search will provide you with pages
of inspirational quotes. My favourite thing about traveling was learning how to make a city mine
and then letting it go. It takes time and care to cultivate relationships, finding bars you like,
picking out a nail salon, learning how to use the public transport…
And then you move and it’s like it didn’t matter. But it does. It does matter. It’s an incredibly
9: What beauty hacks/secrets do you have - what are the future beauty trends?
The future of beauty is education. More and more, women ask me about the active ingredients
in their skincare. Are they eco-friendly? Are they compatible with their particular skin? With the
global economy the way it is, we all want to minimise. There’s no room for the 18-step Korean
skin care anymore. There’s no point in over-saturation. You just need what works for you.
10: What advice do you have for women who may struggle financially to afford beauty
treatments but still want to look well groomed?
A targeted skin-care regimen consisting of a cleanser, serum, moisturiser will keep your skin
maintained. You can always call a knowledgeable salon and consult with them. Sure, they will want to try to get you in for a service (can’t really blame them), but the good ones will also try to educate you
on what you can do at home.
11: Lastly, how did you become established as a beauty business in Istanbul, Turkey?
I don’t want it to seem like I did this all on my own, I had seed capital (a mixture of my own
savings, my husband’s salary, and a little from my parents). I don’t want anyone to be under the
illusion that any of this was easy. Our efforts opened a door for me and I have kept that door
open through a lot of hard work. Owning a physical business in a politically and financially
unstable country is stressful and sometimes I have doubts about moving forward. I am currently
weighing my options and and wondering if I should jump into a new career. As a woman with
two professions already, adding a 3rd doesn’t seem all that daunting anymore. I feel like the
ability to acquire skills is the key moving forward.
We have partnered with Ayna Ayna Beauty to bring you discounted rates as a member of Her Expat Life! Find all the details on our website!
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