Navin Ahmed is a Dhaka, Bangladesh based makeup artist. A Super mom to Kiyaan & Avisa, the owner of Gala Makeover Salon and O Play Restaurant, she knows to balance it all! In 2011 the diva made the decision to channel her creativity of makeup artistry into what is now the city’s most hyped salon, Gala. Since then her artistry has kept her moving further with a bold spirit of entrepreneurship along with being the super mom. Now that’s what we call Fashionably Entrepreneurial Mom!
1) Let’s begin with introducing yourself.
This is Navin Ahmed. I’m the owner of Gala Makeover Studio & Salon & one of the partners at O Play restaurant & most importantly super mom to Kiyaan & Avisa, my son & daughter.
2) How do you balance work, a family, and yourself? Do you have any tips for other mom entrepreneurs on how to achieve that balance?
There is no set rule about how to balance work, family and yourself. Your family comes first and you will always automatically prioritise as a mom no matter what. My tip would be not to be so hard on yourself about achieving perfection.
3) Did you ever experience or have someone ask about “mommy guilt”? How did you deal with it? How do you suggest other women deal with it?
Yes constantly!!! Mommy guilt will always be there no matter what. How I deal with it is, I accept that some days will be harder than others for me to manage and that’s ok too. The expectations that society or we as moms/women have from ourselves, I don’t think men have from themselves ever. As moms we are constantly juggling many hats, whether we are working moms or stay at home moms. Take each day as it comes & pat yourself on the back that you are a super mom no matter what anyone says or how you feel because all moms always does what is best for their family no matter what.
4) How do you stay productive and focused while managing many responsibilities?
I stay productive & focused by blocking my thoughts when I’m at work. I feel that if I’m constantly worried or stressed, it does hamper my work & I push all negative thoughts at the back of my head & dedicate those few hrs to achieve my goals instead. I feel that this way I can finish my work quicker and get back to sorting what is the dilemma of the day.
5) How important is family support behind a working mom/lady?
My family’s support is the most important for me & I’m sure for all working moms. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my mom & also my mother in law. They are both my business partners at Gala by the way. We are a team who runs Gala & also raise my children. If it’s weren’t for them to be available constantly at my beck & calls to look after my kids, I don’t think, I would have been able to work stress free on my brides. My mom & I juggle who will do duty at Gala & who will stay home with the kids. Weekends are busiest at salons & my husband babysits while I work. We have a whole schedule going and i don’t think it would have been possible without the help & support of my family.
6) What are the things that help you stay organized throughout the day and get time for everyone and everything? Is there a special time planner, or workspace design or technique that you use? Tell us your time management secrets!
My time management secret would be that I plan the night before when I know I have a hectic day ahead. I feel like I really think clearly at night after everyone is off to bed so I like jotting down my thoughts and making a list so that I don’t forget the chores of the day. It really helps me to stay focused. I can check my list of things to do and get work done accordingly.
7) Does being a Mom help you be more professional at what you do? Has your career changed in any way?
Yes it definitely does. I don’t like being all over the place and being unplanned and being a working mom you absolutely have to be very organised & planned at all times. I think with all work there should be professionalism & structure but being a working mom, even more so, because you want to be aware of your every step. For example I want to finish my clients on time so that I can go home to my kids on time & have dinner with the family on time. It’s all very structured & professionalism helps to keep me sane & happy & my clients and home happy too.
8) There’s an opinion that business people shouldn’t talk about their private life in social media, blogs, etc. What’s your opinion? Is it okay to post the picture of your kid’s first steps in the Twitter account where you also talk to customers?
I’m not aware of these opinions actually...haha. But I do think, there should be some boundaries about what we post on social media about our personal lives, as while social media can be a powerful tool, it can also be a dangerous space. I think posting about anything healthy & positive is fine as long as people find you relatable & your post is helpful to others.
9) Tell us a funny kid-work balancing stories?
O God none are funny....I have had so many stressful kid-work balance moments. There are many times that I had to bring my kids to work because I couldn’t find someone to babysit at home. And there were times when Avisa or Kiyaan would just not let me work. & these are brides, it’s already stressful at the salon & brides can never be late, we always have to make sure they leave our premises on time to reach the venue. So I have had some days when my daughter or son would sit on my lap as I do makeup! Not funny again...just super stressful! But Alhamdulillah never faced any issue with the brides, all of them are always supportive.
10) 3 recommendations to Moms who dream about being entrepreneurs, but just can’t get started?
My 3 recommendations to moms who want to be an entrepreneur would be:
- Find a trustworthy person to look after your kids for when you are away at work. Can be a mother in law, or mom, sister. Everything will not be how you would do it but it won’t be bad either. Accept that your close kin will always want what is best for your child as well.
- Set up a routine for your child that is easy to follow. For example, fixed meal times, nap times etc. Your child will thrive & also the person taking care will have structure too in your absence.
- Have faith in yourself. You are a superwoman no matter what.