In this series, our collaborator Carolyne Brown meets the Local Talents—flagship stores in the heart of Alexis Nihon. These interviews are all about sharing, sincerity and proximity. We invite you to enter their world and discover who they are.
Let’s meet Noorya Hashuri, Owner of Zar Beauty Bar.
I think I've always wanted to have something of my own. When I was young, I was passionate about fashion and beauty, but I was working in a financial institution. It was different and I didn't really like it. One day I decided to give up everything and follow my dream: to have my own business. I did a lot of research to figure out what kind of business I would be interested in. I had the idea of providing quick beauty care services for the face and nails. I love femininity and I wanted to create a place where my clients could feel like a princess and receive the best beauty services.
What makes your brand stand out?
What sets us apart is our customer experience. We work very hard to provide the best customer service there is. Another thing that sets us apart is the training given to my employees to ensure that they are always up to date with the latest trends in aesthetics. We offer training internally and sometimes externally as well. Right now, Russian manicures are popular, so I sent one of my employees for training. When I hire someone, I give them a place to grow and learn new skills. I have built a strong and loyal team and I invest in my team.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to face in your career as an entrepreneur?
I opened my salon in 2019, so the COVID-19 pandemic hit me really hard. The first year of a business is crucial because you're still getting to know your clients. At the beginning of 2020, everything was going well, we had a lot of satisfied clients. I was very excited to start our second year - but unfortunately, we were hit hard by COVID and everything changed. I lost a lot of clients. Our client base includes people who work in offices nearby, as well as students. Without government support, I would not have survived. Today, my clientele is completely different. I am rebuilding and starting from scratch.
What is the biggest lesson that business ownership has taught you?
It is really important to work in your field for a while before starting your business. I was working in a financial institution, I had no experience in a beauty salon. I had to learn everything on my own to understand what I was getting into. My advice to anyone who wants to start a business is to get some field experience first.
Tell us a funny anecdote or event from your entrepreneurial journey.
When I opened my salon, a lot of people were comparing my prices to another salon. One day, a man kept asking me why my prices were higher. I told him this explanation: you have a Toyota and a BMW, they're both cars, they're both going from point A to point B, so which one are you going to choose? I find it very important to buy clean products and support small local businesses in Montreal. I want my clients to trust me - if there's a product I wouldn't put on my own skin, I won't put it on my customers' skin. I have my standards, I respect them and I won't change that. The experience I provide is like a BMW.
What keeps you passionate about your field?
Women still keep me passionate about my business. I want to offer my clients a place to relax and do something for themselves. As women and mothers, we don't always have the time, or take the time, to take care of ourselves. Therefore, taking care of my clients is very important to me.
What advice would you give to a future entrepreneur?
When you start, there are so many people trying to give you advice. You need to choose who to listen to. It's important to be open to other people's suggestions, but you have to follow your instincts.
What do you hope that people remember about your company?
It depends on the client. Some people remember the energy of our team or the cleanliness of our salon, while others come back for an employee they really liked. I always check our reviews online to make sure we are offering the best service. We also speak different languages, so we have many different ethnic groups visiting us.
What are your most popular products?
Definitely our eyebrow and nail services.
What is your best-kept secret?
I have great confidence in my team. Keeping my employees happy is very important to me.
I hope to grow this business. The beauty industry is in constant evolution. I would like to offer more services such as semi-permanent make-up, microblading and botox, and eventually create my own product line.