10 Annoying Things that Newbie Henna Artists Should Avoid

The title of this post should actually be:

10 things that wanna-be henna artists should not do!  

We all get it--henna is a lot of fun to do.  It's also very lucrative and an easy business to get into, as long as you have your ducks in a row.  You should always make sure you are following government guidelines, regulations, business licensing requirements, and get insurance to cover your self.  

However, there are also 10 things, among many, that wanna-be artists should never do!  

1—don’t steal other people’s photos and make them part of your own portfolio!  How many times have you seen that pretty HennaByDivya piece on the internet, and then saw it on someone else portfolio?  It's just not ethical, and it's cheating your customer.  As a newbie, make sure you build a portfolio of your own.  (ask a few of your friends to come over one night, do a bunch of designs on their body, and take photos, or hire a photographer to take photos for you.  Then print these photos and viola, you have a portfolio.)

2—don’t start taking paying clients without having your henna paste ready!  Make sure you have tried out different recipes or reputable suppliers for henna paste.  Newbie artists should NEVER offer henna services by using bulk bought henna cones from the local Indian Store (unless you know it is a trustworthy supplier with an FDA or HealthCanada approved ingredient list.  Trust us, quality henna paste should not cost you $10 on the internet for 10 cones.  A quality supplier, who supplies handmade, all natural henna paste with essential oils will charge between $5-8 a cone, depending on the size of the cone.  You can order some here: http://www.hennaart.ca/Mehndi-Cones/ )

 3—don’t ask questions on community henna boards or groups about how to sell products!  Professional henna artists LOVE to provide you support and guidance when you are a newbie in the henna world, but we also work really hard to find our own suppliers, resources, and marketing to sell our own products and promote our own product line.  With henna being so niche and such a small community, it is important for individual artists to protect their business and product line.  So instead of jumping in wanting to sell henna products, do your own research.  Professional henna artists find it really annoying when a newbie wants to get all the information about selling henna products.  Do not get onto community groups or boards and ask questions about selling products.  We will not give you that information, and it just makes you look bad in the henna community.

4—don’t say yes to a project request by a client, but have no idea what to do or how to begin!  Another super annoying thing that newbie artists do is say yes to a project from a paying client and then get onto aforementioned community groups and boards and ask how to make it happen.  Do not offer a service, or agree to do a project if you have no experience in it.  Yes, we all get excited with the idea of getting paid to do henna.... but stop and before you say yes, research your project.  Better yet, make sure you have some experience with said project before committing to it.  For example, a client asks you to paint a wall mural with henna designs--well, if you have no experience doing that, you should ask the client for some time, and then go about making sure you can actually do this project.  It is okay to ask for advice, but to plead with professional artists about all the exact steps in doing a project like this is super annoying, newbies!

5—don’t offer services you don’t have experience in!! Newbies!  Read #4!  Just don't do it!  If you really want to offer a variety of services, make sure you have the portfolio and at least ONE experience to back it up.  Cakes, cookies, leather drums, custom shoes, murals, parties, bridals, festivals, and pregnancy henna?  Great! That is a very diverse portfolio, but make sure you have this under your belt!  Buy a box of sugar cookies, a pre-iced cake, and some icing to get your hands sticky with that sort of project.  Shop thrift stores for canvas shoes, drums, or leather accessories to start doing designs on fibers.  Go to a Home Depot and grab yourself a sheet of plywood, or drywall and paint a mural to make sure you enjoy doing work like that.  Offer a free henna party, bridal session, or hire models to test out how you will do small scale henna settings.  Then multiply everything by 50 to see if you can handle a large scale festival.  All in all, newbies, get some experience under your belt before offering all types of services.  just because you are an artist in another genre, does not mean you'll make a great henna artist.

6—don’t commit to a large festival or multiple day event and not know where to begin!  Large festivals require you to have a tent (or a nice tent set up), lots of supplies, lots of designs, and a pretty and attractive booth design to name a few things.  So instead of committing to a large festival, or a multiple day event, make sure you are able to offer your henna services at that level.  Most festivals are outdoors, so you have to be prepared with waterproofing lots of things, ready for wind and inclement weather conditions, and most of all, you have to be prepared with a nice booth design that is both attractive and functional.  Putting something together the last minute is not okay, and newbies, it's not okay to ask for advice on Thursday for a weekend event.

7—don’t book bridal henna appointments without having prior experience, a portfolio or even any idea on bridal designs!  Do you know how different it is to do bridal henna compared to doing a henna party?  Bridal henna appointments can take between 3-6 hours on average.  That means, 3-6 hours of you being crouched in the same position, probably with some aunties breathing over your neck, speaking a language you may or may not understand.  Don't event attempt to book bridal henna appointments without having a few bridal style appointments under your belt.  That means, hiring or coaxing a friend or photographer into taking photos for you while you do a model with bridal henna.  That includes both hands and both feet!  

8—don’t buy crap henna paste and then either use it on your clients, or ask in a group if “this paste is okay” If #2 didn't hit home, then hopefully #8 will!  Just don't buy cheap henna paste.  It's not good to work with, it's not good to practice with, and it's just not good quality!  There are so many people out there that sell quality henna ingredients and ready to use products, but people selling them at the fraction of the cost are not only selling you crap product, but they are also not properly educating you on what is in their product. Ever seen "mehndi oil" or "shelley oil"?  Notice how the bottles of this oil are so cheap ($2-5) but they never list ingredients.  Instead, opt for steam distilled essential oils.  Yes, essential oils cost a little bit more ($5-8 for 10 mLs), but they are well worth the investment for a great henna paste.  (check out our recipe here:  http://blog.hennaart.ca/2013/04/henna-arts-royal-treatment-recipe.html)

9—don’t call henna “tattoos”  Henna is not a tattoo!  It's an ancient form of body art, and should not be linked with tattooing.  https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/hennaisnotatattoo/
Don't want to be a part of cultural appropriation?  Don't call henna a tattoo.  No reasons required.  It's NOT a tattoo--it's body art, so don't use that buzz word newbie! 

10—don’t offer “white henna” and not know where to purchase good product-  Newbies--see #2, #8 and #9.  Henna is just henna, it's not white, black, purple, or blue or any other color.  It's a beautiful plant that gives shades of reds, crimson, burnt orange and dark browns when used to dye the hair, skin, nails of fiber.  The idea of "white henna" is not real!  Instead, just call it henna style body paint.  Don't link henna with anything else that is not henna.  Just don't do it!