By PREMA JAYABALAN
“It was during my wedding about seven years ago, when I first got a calling to be a make-up artist. I was actively looking for a makeup artist to do my bridal makeover and I could not find anyone who could cater to my simple requirements. There were not many good make-up artists in the northern region, back then,” explains Shantini Prithivi Raj, professional make-up artist and founder of Glitz Bridal Studio, when asked how she ventured into her own start-up.
Shantini is a much sought after make-up artist in the northern region for weddings, receptions and corporate events. She has even spread her wings and is being booked by brides from different parts of the country.
A pretty woman with exquisite taste, it’s hard to believe that Shantini was once an engineer before becoming a make-up artist. Both professions seem to be worlds apart.
An engineered path
“Actually, I have always been interested in arts since young. During our childhood, my twin sister and I used to attend art classes and we had beautiful paintings framed all over our humble home. My ambition was to become a graphic designer, an architect or some sort of an artist since I knew that was where my strength was.”
However, her parents had different plans for her. They wanted her to take after her father’s footsteps and study engineering instead.
This proud mother of two did her diploma in E&E (electrical & electronic) engineering at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and pursued her degree in E&E Engineering at Universiti Tenaga Nasional. She graduated in 2006 and worked as an engineer till 2012.
“I worked as an engineer in various fields, i.e. solar installation and R&D, solar panels manufacturing and LED designing. Being a very hands-on person, I really enjoyed working in the solar field where I was highly involved in installations of solar panels in rural areas, doing research on renewable energies, testing the solar panels in manufacturing lines and maintaining solar equipment for optimum productivity,” reminisces Shantini.
The turning point
Though enjoyable, Shantini’s job was equally demanding. She was expected to be on site whenever machines were down and was on call 24-7. This did not help when motherhood came. At that time, she had ventured into her make-up business on a part-time basis.
“The thought of venturing into this field happened during the difficulty I faced when I was about to get married. After the wedding, a little thought crept into my mind asking me to give becoming a make-up artist a shot and I thought… why not?”
Shantini then took all the relevant courses needed to get her certificate. This was inclusive of a course in make-up, hairstyling and the art of applying henna. She was totally geared up to put her courses to good use.
Facing the family
“My mother was shocked when I first told her about my decision, but later gave me her blessings and fully supported my new ambition. Though my parents dreamt of having a successful engineer for a daughter, they both trusted me and stood by my decision and are continuing to do so till today.”
Nevertheless, this determined woman did face slight difficulties when it came to assuring some family members and friends who were concerned that she was about to step into a “no-fixed-monthly-salary” lifestyle. Most of her family members were not business owners, hence it was challenging to convince them.
A learning curve
Shantini started off as a part-time make-up artist. She was doing this for the first two years as she wanted to establish her business well before venturing into it full-time.
“It was not easy managing engineering, make-up and a very young family; all three needed a lot of attention and it was truly very challenging but somehow I managed to pull through with the help of my family. I left engineering when my make-up business got overwhelming and I could not cope doing both. My daughter was very young at that point and I wanted to be sure to spend enough time with her too,” she recalls.
This charming woman says that her profession has given her countless opportunities to interact with various people, besides being a part of joyous events. In these six years, she has learned how to enhance her communication skills, build her charisma, how to manage her finances within means and be more confident when dealing with people.
“I realised that it was only when I went full force into make-up that I was able to achieve greater heights in this field, as I was more organised with my work schedule.”
Is it tough?
Apart from being a make-up artist, Shantini is also a home keeper who tends to the needs of her husband and children. This demands more time and attention as this dynamic woman is a firm believer of family comes first.
When asked what gave her the courage to continue, she simply smiled and said that her passion kept assuring her that this was what she was meant to do. She always tells herself that her brides need her and she needs them; which was the reason why she ventured into this field in the first place.
“My biggest support is my husband with his ever loving and encouraging nature. He helps me with home chores and the children when I am away at work. He always stands by my side and constantly gives me ideas and feedback, and backs me up emotionally and spiritually.
My parents, sisters and in-laws, have been equally supportive and continuously motivate me to take this enthusiasm to greater heights. Above everything, I am ever thankful to God for I know nothing happens without His will and grace.”
A career out of the norm
The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams. – Oprah Winfrey
“Personally, I believe that we have limited time and that we should not waste it by living someone else’s life. We should follow our heart and intuition, and do what makes us feel happy. At present, there is a growing number of youths pursuing their skills over a professional degree. Most of them are very successful in what they do, though it may be tough in the beginning,” states this courageous entrepreneur.
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great! Take a risk – if you win you will be happy; if you lose you will be wise.”
Shantini Prithivi Raj, the lady behind the makeup brush.
One day in the future
This energetic business woman aspires to open up her own bridal academy and to take her business into the international arena one day.
“I am very happy with what I have achieved so far and what fulfils me is the bride’s smile when she sees herself in the mirror, and when her parents thank me for making their daughter so beautiful… that is priceless!”
Prema had immense pleasure writing this story as she loves to hear about the daring plunges taken by people to change their lives. For more Women & Career articles, click here. If you have a story to tell, write to her at email@example.com.
First appeared on Leaderonomics.com. Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 27 June 2015