There’s something that’s been playing on my mind for a few weeks (other than the dreaded tax return, but let’s just pretend that doesn’t exist for now).
For the second consecutive year, I have had the honour of being nominated for the title of ‘Henna Artist of the Year (North)’ with the British Asian Wedding Awards. Last year’s experience in London’s Mayfair was certainly one to remember and remains one of the highlights of my business life cycle so far. When I received the phone call and notification of being shortlisted as a finalist again, I felt somewhat bemused and surprisingly ambivalent. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to accept the nomination/shortlisting and attend the glitzy affair in London again.
The results were extreme:
Instagram: ‘Hell Yeah’ = 83%; ‘Na, U don’t need validation’ = 17%
Facebook: ‘Yas’ = 97%; (22 ‘likes’) ‘Nah’ = 3% (including 1 thoughtful advisory comment)
So, it made me think. Overwhelmingly, my supporters and followers are very VERY much in favour of me attending the awards ceremony. A select few of you will be very aware of the moral dilemma I experienced following the awards ceremony. While it generated plenty of attention, including a radio interview, magazine feature and local press coverage, I was concerned about the judging process that assessed the henna industry; were they aware of the difference between imitation henna and natural henna, for example? I wasn’t truly convinced. And there’s a huge part of this process that doesn’t fully sit comfortably with me, nor does it fall in line with the integrity that I hope I have carefully nurtured and developed within the henna community over the years. Wouldn’t this just undermine my credibility?
Judging by the responses to my social media surveys: Apparently not. For the overwhelming majority of my friends, clients and supporters the awards are seen as a great thing for me and my business: A chance at recognition.
For business, it has been great since I jumped on all the opportunities it offered and took full advantage of the chance for exposure. For my personal sense of validation as an artist, my creativity and henna ability, it made little to no difference. Which is where I currently stand, on the proverbial fence, undecided about the final decision. But with the statistics as they stand, it would be disrespectful to you, dear reader, the voters and all my supporters to decline the nomination. Fundamentally, this nomination and award is really a demonstration of thanks and gratitude to you all.
Then a more profound line of thought began to manifest itself… Maybe, this isn’t really about validation for me (*gasp* shocker, whut?!) but about what I can continue to bring to the henna industry as a business-person – The message that Natural Fresh Henna is the only acceptable option; The high standard that needs to be set for henna professionals; The benefits of building a strong and supportive henna community; The honouring of the thousands of years of henna body art that has transcended colour, culture or religion; and the truly enriching experience that henna brings to us all. Maybe… THIS is the purpose of the awards and my nomination?
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The online shop has temporarily been disabled due to technical issues. Your patience is gratefully appreciated while we work out the kinks behind the scenes.
The second ‘Intro to Henna’ workshop will be taking place in Manchester at 1pm on Saturday 27th of January. BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE.
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