by Angela Purnell
Having the opportunity to interview Khadija of Henna Sooq is an awesome opportunity for anyone, but the fact that the reason I’m here (loving henna, attending the Henna Intensive and Retreat, and blogging) is all thanks to her… Khadija gave me my first henna tattoo!
I have always admired the art, and many years ago, I received a jagua tattoo while on vacation in Ocean City, Maryland. Then, while my sister and I were attending a natural hair show at the Convention center in Washington, DC last August, I met Khadija at her henna booth. She displayed a wide variety of henna products that now make sense to me- but were a complete mystery then!
The booth was constantly surrounded by excited customers anticipating their henna tattoo, flipping excitedly through her portfolio to select a design. Everyone patiently waited their turn and enjoyed watching other customers receive their henna. Excitement and awe would spread to those surrounding the booth once a tattoo was complete, and everyone around took delight in the beautiful, elegant and clean designs she created!
The smell of the henna was intoxicating; I left her booth feeling like I had a mini spa treatment. And for the rest of the day, I was a celebrity flaunting her beautiful henna design adorned with glitter!!! The slightest wave of my henna-adorned hand brought about a rush of excitement, awe, compliments and questions from anyone within viewing range. Over the next 48 hours, I was in for an unexpected treat as the stain transformed into a rich, dark chocolate! This girl makes some GOOOD henna!! Love her!
I had been experienced with henna for hair before I became interested in henna body art. I loved it for my own personal use, and my husband, Jamal actually really pushed me into carrying henna for hair products. Natural hair is such a huge market and so diverse. I love it.
Do you have any creative rituals or routines?
Not really. I’m just so busy and wish I had some type of routine or ritual. Maybe someone can suggest one for me!
Who (famous) would you love to put henna on?
I’d absolutely love to do henna for Beyonce. Jamal’s cousin is her nail tech, and I’ve heard so many good things about her as a person, and how she’s committed to people she works with. I also especially like doing henna on people who sincerely like henna.
Henna in western society – is it here to stay or a passing trend?
It is here to stay for life.
I’d like to see continuous pushing of the paste and creativity. I would love for more artists to come together for the love of henna.
What other forms of art do you like?
I run the Henna Artisans page on facebook – which features henna-inspired art I love.
What is the funniest or weirdest henna tattoo request you’ve received?
To do henna on a penis. It was hilarious!!
What is your one guilty pleasure?
Eating out way too much! Every trip I go on, I have to find the best restaurants and try them out.
How large is your family? How many children do you have and what ages are they?
What motivated you to open Henna Sooq?
I love being with my kids and wanted a flexible schedule. I wanted to do something I really loved and making money from that was such a great bonus. I saw the Canadian market as being wide open for the “henna” taking.
In Montreal in 2005.
What did you find most challenging when starting your business?
Building a good website – and getting help in that area.
If you could do it all again what would you do differently?
I would have started all my book keeping and taxes in an orderly fashion from the start, so that I wouldn’t have this tedious task taking me away from the creative parts of my business that I love.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business?
If you plan on going into this business for more then 5 years, then get your books in order from the start! Working for yourself has to be your passion and drive. You have to know and learn what you want and go for it. Make sure you keep it all balanced,so that you always know why you started and can continue to love what you do.
What is Henna Chai?
Henna Chai started as our annual henna conference, which then became a retreat. Now, in 2016, it has become a series of Henna Weekends held monthly.
Describe Henna Chai: 12 Months of Henna Weekends and the motivation behind it.
A light bulb went off one day as I was thinking about all I had to do to plan this one annual weekend. I was so overwhelmed with the thought of all the work and so forth. So this little light bulb brightened up and the thought of just doing henna weekends with my favorite henna artists would be awesome. I would only need to do this once a month, and with 1 artist (or 2) each time.
What are your plans and goals for Henna Chai: 12 Months of Henna Weekends?
The plan is to have the best henna artists come and teach. It would be a time for artists to concentrate on 1 artist at a time and get more individual attention. It allows for access to online classes for students who want to learn worldwide. This also keeps Henna Chai relevant and sets it apart from other henna events. I also strongly believe in evolving and we all have to keep up with the times.
What do you enjoy most about hosting Henna Chai: 12 Months of Henna Weekends?
I enjoy that I also get to learn and be a student. I feel like I have more time to appreciate each artist.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Khadija! We so appreciate your dedication, enthusiasm and artistry!
Great chat with Khadija!!! Stay tuned for more interviews – Coming soon!
Sarah Baxter-Arias – www.danceandsingsarah.com
Jeff Brooks: www.photog4naturals.com
Khadija – www.hennasooq.com
This blog was brought to you by the Henna Intensive & Retreat. Want to learn more about the art of henna and body art? Join us for a 5 day/ 4 night retreat in the beautiful mountains of sunny Southern California! Find out more about this life changing event at www.hennaintensiveandretreat.com