Mehroon and Syra Gulam
As told by Mehroon:
My sister and I are of Pakistani and Chinese parentage, so henna has always been in the family. When Syra was four, our family lived in India for a few years. That was when we were introduced to henna cones – they weren’t available in Singapore then.
Syra’s the artist and I’m the decision-maker. When Syra was 14, I gave her a tiny table space at the monthly flea market booth I set up and she did henna on kids to earn pocket money. We then started our own henna booth at bazaars, and that’s how the business grew.
Henna is as personal as your handwriting. As sisters, our handwriting is very similar – and therefore so are our henna designs.
We make about 9 kilograms of henna paste a week, packed into 600 cones – everything is done in-house. We’ve also expanded to doing henna for hair. This treatment, which uses seven herbs, nourishes the scalp and leaves the hair shiny.
White henna and glitter henna are very popular because they’re pretty. Unlike regular henna, it doesn’t get absorbed into the skin. It just dries on top of it.
To provide our clients a relaxing henna experience, we set up a studio two years ago. Doing it in their homes can be cramped and uncomfortable. We have henna wraps and plasters so clients can move around and sleep without messing up the designs. If countries like Dubai and the US can have henna studios, then so can we.
We teach low-income mothers how to draw henna. It’s a good skill, because they don’t need a huge capital to start. When we have big events, we recruit these ladies to help out.
We’re already taking bridal bookings up to December 2017. We still do walk-ins, though.
AS FOUND ON
Photo: Afiq Omar
'Syra and I have been friends since we were 15, and I’ve seen how she has progressed over the past ten years. So naturally, I got her to do my henna for my wedding. I told her the styles that I like but for the most part, I let her run the show. Her work is very clean, uniform and neat – it’s great that she makes her own henna paste so consistency is guaranteed.'
#01-08, Tristar Complex, 970 Geylang Rd (www.syraskins.com.sg). Mon-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm. Casual henna starts from $10.