The Rotterdam Shermain Drenthe used to work for a big corporate organisation until she changed her life in 2016. She took a completely new approach to her work life and decided to open her own salon, Brow Diversity. How did she start out and what can we learn from her journey?
One day Shermain couldn't suppress the feeling she had been rationalising for a long time. She was no longer willing to work for a boss. She wanted to start her own business. She was yearning for freedom and she wanted to explore her creativity to its fullest extend. She felt like this was never going to happen working for the man. After doing her research and multiple signs it became very clear to her that she was going to open her own brow bar. And she was going to do that without any experience in the beauty industry.
But why brows? Shermain noticed that beautiful brows was in the top 3 of women's grooming needs. Brows have the power to completely change a woman's expression. And it's very difficult to find someone you can trust completely. Once it goes wrong it goes wrong entirely. Shermain wanted to take on the challenge and make sure that everybody in town felt comfortable in her chair.
Social media became a big source of inspiration for Shermain. She watches the work of others for inspiration, but it's purely that... inspiration. She always ensures a signature look which could be best described als bold, but natural. She has a very personal, unique style. Yet, every person is different. Because of the diversity at Brow Diversity Shermain has learned to work with different skin types and colours, treatments and personalities. What diversity means to her? "Simple - you too!".
"Rihanna is my biggest inspirator"
Rihanna is a big inspiration to the Rotterdam based entrepreneur. The star from Barbados has become famous because of her singing skills but she also built an empire with her makeup and fashion line. Diversity is the core for Rihanna's business. And recently she also launched her skincare line. "She shows me that everything and anything is possible", Shermain says with a sparkle in here eyes.
"I owe my success to seeing to the needs of my clients. Brow Diversity is a magnet for positivity and creativity and that's what people are looking for these days", the energetic Shermain. Her clients trust her and she sees her clients as her 'brow family'. She always offers a listening ear, thinks along with her clients and motivates them with her story.
“My clients feel like my brow family”
Shermain's life isn't completely taken up by running her business. She's also the proud mom of her twelve year-old son, Jonell. Just like his mom Jonell is very passionate. Not about the beauty industry but about soccer. But Shermain knows just how to combine their two passions. She build her schedule around her son so she can be present during her son's matches as often as possible. Shermain also has a strong safety net and she experiences a lot of support from her family and current partner. Together with them she frequently enjoys a glass of wine and good food. That's how she relaxes. "But I can also be sitting at a restaurant and out of nowhere an idea pops in my mind that I need to write down in my notebook. I don't really have a on/off switch", Shermain confesses.
Running a salon means more than just styling brows. Shermain does everything herself - from social media to administration to sending out orders. The only thing she outsources is her bookkeeping.
Shermain's vision reaches beyond running her salon. Last week she not only celebrated her birthday but also the opening of her new location, where she provides training and treatments. But in the meanwhile she's already plotting her next move. What that exactly entails she will keep to herself. "One should be silent about goals until accomplished..". One thing is for sure, with Shermain's willpower and positivity she can amount to anything she puts her mind to.
Her advice for starting brow entrepreneurs? "Don't be too hard on yourself. You're not just going through this process for you but for many other people as well.".
Photography: Shannon Kanhai