Check Out Chhaya (Charu) Rege’s Story
Today we’d like to introduce you to Chhaya (Charu) Rege.
Hi Chhaya (Charu), thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I first started my journey as a henna artist in India after seeing the incredible work done by other henna artists at weddings and holiday celebrations. Seeing their skill and dedication inspired me to channel my inner artist as well. I started learning how to do henna (known as mehndi in India) in my home city of Pune before moving to New York in 1996. At the time, I was still shy about doing my art in public, and so I continued my work as a microbiologist instead. However, one day I was at a street fair, and a certain booth caught my eye. In that booth was a man doing henna tattoos for dozens of people. Seeing the customers’ enthusiasm and love for something so integral to my culture gave me the drive to get over my nervousness. I decided to do henna myself and began practicing on anyone who would let me (mostly my friends and family). When I gained some confidence in my skills, I started my business in small pop-up markets in New York City, just to try it out. It was a huge success and especially important for me because I had recently become a single mom. I was working in a middle school then, and my henna job was flexible enough that I could do it even with my other job. This gave me more time to take care of my kids, as I wanted to ensure they could succeed in life. Eventually, I decided to move with my two children, and we came to Austin six years ago. It was slow at first, as being in a new city was very confusing and I had no idea where I should start. But eventually, with the help of my family and the friends I made in this new place, I became a vendor for the city of Austin. Currently, I live in Round Rock, and so my business takes place in both cities. It has started growing quite a bit due to the popularity of live music events artwork in Austin. I do a number of different events, from festivals and weddings to birthday parties and even corporate events. I am very excited to discover what the future holds for me, I can’t wait to share my passion with all my customers!
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