We had the good fortune of connecting with Fatima Khan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Fatima, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting my own business began when I moved to Texas before my junior year of high school. I had moved from a diverse area that I had known and grown to love after seven years, to a more isolated and uniform town. I was the only South Asian girl on campus and constantly felt alienated. I knew many other students of different backgrounds that constantly felt as if they couldn’t connect with their peers, due to a lack of diversity and cultural awareness. I often heard classmates using stereotypes as a way to categorize my culture. I wore mehndi (henna) to school after a cultural event and many people pointed it out, and I felt proud to be South Asian. It brought up many conversations in class with other peers and even teachers. People had so many questions about mehndi and my culture, and it felt great to be able to answer those questions. I saw it as a way I could use my culture to bring others together while raising cultural awareness. I realized I could help bring this unity to my community if I started practicing myself; that is how my business was born.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business is a way for me to bring my culture to others. I am most proud of how many people I have educated this past year about Mehndi and South Asian culture itself, and how many people I have brought together because of it. Something unique about my business is that I have used it to help hospitalized and immobile patients to help cope with the stress of hospitalization, etc. The goal of my business is to show the value of cultural appreciation and awareness. Getting to where I am today business-wise was not easy. In the very beginning, my clients included my mom and my brother whom I had to pay to be allowed to practice floral designs on. In school, I realized a lot of people were not educated about Mehndi. Many thought it was permanent, caused chemical burns, cultural appropriation of people that were not of South Asian descent, etc. I overcame these challenges by making a Cultural Equity club at my school and hosting fun and educational Q&A meetings. This really helped the word spread. What I want the world to know about my story and my brand is that using my culture as a means to bring people together is something that anyone can do. The impact I have made in my community can be anyone, and the power that holds within itself is incredible.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting the area, we would start Monday off strong and go on a huge shopping spree. Specifically, the Galleria and Northpark. Of course, we would stay at the Omni Dallas Hotel and go on a late-night swim. We would go to Catbird for dinner, and I would force my best friend to order the Hibiscus Salmon Tataki because it is to die for. Tuesday would be the Dallas Museum of Art. It is genuinely an amazing experience to visit. Uptown and the Katy Trail to experience lively nightlife, and take pictures. We would also go on a Dallas Cowboys Stadium Tour. Daves Hot Chicken is definitely near the top of the list for food. Lastly, I would take my best friend to the Dallas Karting Complex so we can end the trip with some competition.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my parents. My parents came to the US in an effort to give me more opportunities, and they have done nothing but push me to be my best. They have seen my potential, even on days that I lounged around and watched Netflix. Even through crayons and pigtails on the first day of school. Even through tears of failure. My parents have never failed to make me feel like I cannot achieve what I put my mind to. Mehndi (henna) was something I never saw myself doing- in fact, I used to call Mehndi artists the night before cultural events and beg for an open spot. My parents made me realize that it is never too late to start and that I can achieve anything by putting in work and effort.

Instagram: @healinghandsofhenna

Other: email: yo.it.fatima@gmail.com

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