Wink Brow Bar: Entrepreneur Umbreen Sheikh Dishes on the Birds, the Bees & the Brows by Belinda Lichty Clarke
"Mothers should teach their daughters the three Bs: the birds, the bees and the brows!"
This is licensed cosmetologist and mompreneur Umbreen Sheikh's mantra, and it's served her very well. As founder and CEO of Wink Brow Bar, Umbreen's empire includes three Wink Brows Bars in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn and one in London. For those who can’t make it to the salon, Wink has an eponymous line of brow, lash and facial products available for purchase online.
I got the inside track from Umbreen about how she created Wink Brow Bar, having landed in New York City from London in 2003 armed with a new marriage and a biomedical sciences degree from King's College. She credits a lot of her success to her mother, who was herself a salon owner in London.
Q. How have you perfected your method to achieve that customized look that's not one size fits all?
"Wink has always been about enhancing your inner beauty and unique beauty. We all have gorgeous faces in different shapes, and we provide a customized look for every customer, by ensuring their brow shape, width, length, is proportionate to their face and personal brow goals. At Wink, it’s a variety of components to the 'one size doesn’t fit all' brows. When you're happy with how you look and how you feel, it shows up on your face. I take into consideration a client’s facial features, their jaw, hairline, face shape, lashes and brow desires – and shape their brows based on the holistic feel of that person’s face."
Q. What do you take into consideration and can you talk a little bit about what techniques/looks work best on which face types?
"First, it’s about training. We have an elite team of highly trained technicians that specialize in understanding face shape while taking into consideration the client’s aesthetic wants. Just because something looks good on a client, doesn’t mean that they would like it. For instance, someone might have the perfect face for full brows, but they want thinner brows, and we want them to feel empowered when they walk out of our Brow Bar – and at Wink we are all about ‘Confidence and Embrowerment.’ Though of course, we would definitely recommend what we believe is best for them. We would just also take the approach that at the end of the day, they are on your face and you have to feel great!"
Q. How did growing up observing your mom help you achieve your goals as an entrepreneur?
"My mom is my biggest inspiration – she’s the person that motivated to get into the beauty industry and pushed me to be the best person I could be. A beauty guru herself, she showed me from any early age the importance of discipline, the essence of pure hard work and the reality that when you keep focused toward your goals – you’ll succeed.
"I learned how to stay humble and that the biggest lesson you can learn is to stay authentic. That’s why I pride myself on creating products and services from techniques and materials that I’ve used on myself. My ‘why’ is to not just become an entrepreneur, but provide the gateway and tools for women to empower themselves through how they look and feel. I was lucky to have a mom that showed me how to define the bigger picture beyond just being an entrepreneur, but what can you offer to others by becoming an entrepreneur."
Q. What are the top three life lessons you've learned with regards to your business that you'd love your kids to know?
"Being an entrepreneur and a mom has been a whirlwind, and as much as I hope to teach my kids, they provide me life lessons every day on how to be a better businesswoman. They show me that you can gather inspiration from everything around you and to never forget to take a moment to just celebrate the opportunities that come before you. However, the top three life lessons that I have learned that I would pass on to my children are:
- "Discipline is everything. Nothing you want comes easy, but anything is achievable if you stay focused on the goals ahead of you.
- "Celebrate gratitude. My mom taught me how to stay humble and be thankful for the opportunities around me, I hope to teach my children the same.
- "Time management. Every great success comes with a solid plan, and if you set goals for yourself in a timely fashion you have a better chance of achieving them."
Q. What are your thoughts on lash extensions and how do you achieve a natural look?
"I love all things lashes as much as I love all things brows! At Wink we specialize in making you feel confident through the brows, lashes and face. We provide lash extensions in all lengths and fullness – depending on a client’s goals. For someone looking to enhance their lashes without going ‘full bloom,’ we offer a smaller set of extensions that provide that natural boost of a full set of lashes. Additionally, for those looking to make a bold statement with their lashes without extensions we offer a lash lift, that enhances your own lashes with a natural curl, as well as a lash tint that adds a bit of color. We have a solution for any type of look for every type of woman."
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