Black, a colour so powerful that it never gets out of fashion, and the next word ‘palette’ is a stark contrast, bringing to mind an array of vibrant colours. That is the impact, the 22-year-old Ashma Kamat aimed to have with the unique name for her venture
By Meenal Bale
The entire concept of the Black Palette Studio revolves around the exclusivity of being a hair, make-up and nail studio. Set-up at a prime location in Caranzalem, the inaugural of this unisex studio was held on the auspicious occasion of Gudi Padwa on 28th March 2017.
“I have always been fascinated by hair styles,” says the proprietor of Black Palette Studio, Ashma Kamat. “I have always wanted to visit a salon which was exclusive for hair cutting and styling. Be it fashion, beauty or grooming, the only thing that remains constant is ‘change’. I have aspired to create that lasting magic,” Ashma adds.
Ashma has completed her Bachelors in Commerce from the S. S. Dempo College of Commerce & Economics and initially aimed to get into a field surrounded by numbers. “It was while studying for my CA entrance test that I realized my interests and passion lie in an altogether different industry. As I stepped into college, I began my research on all the possibilities of career opportunities that I could explore,” she states.
The bug of entrepreneurship sub-consciously crept in when her father Rajkumar Kamat, Executive Director of BNI-Goa and Managing Trustee of the Goa Entrepreneurs Mentoring Services (GEMS), persuaded Ashma to attend the Passion Test conducted by Janet Bray Attwood. Following which Ashma’s determination strengthened. She enrolled herself in one of Mumbai’s top academies – Toni & Guy, (the franchise of a London-based renowned brand) and acquired an International Diploma in Hair Dressing. This was followed by attending multiple workshops on professional make-up and styling by the Fat Moo Academy. She has also pursued a certification course with Bina Punjani in Goa that focussed on customization for bridal photo shoots.
Ashma believes that the short stint in Mumbai has played a major role in shaping her life as a professional. After she finished with her certifications, she came back to Goa and freelanced at the Relooking Beauty & Slimming Center for a while. Over a period of time, she realized that it would be wiser to set up her venture in her hometown, where she would be more energized in experimenting with looks and make-overs. She has previously been a part of the make-up team at the Goa Konkani Film Festival (2016) and a couple of destination weddings as well.
“As I grew up, I always wished I could do something related to the grooming industry. I just wasn’t sure of where to begin. After the Passion Test, things started falling into place. I have received immense support from my father. Right from introducing me to the CMRY scheme for women entrepreneurs that has comparatively low-interest rates and added subsidies; to helping me look for a place. He sat with me for long brainstorming sessions, giving suggestions, recommending vendors, and helping me start my business. My family and friends too, have played a major role in the successful setting up of my venture; not to forget the ever supportive BNI Members,” she adds proudly.
The entire look and feel of the place has been pieced together with the help of multiple experts. The civil work has been executed by Naveen Karapurkar, the architecture and interiors by Rajesh Kenkre, the furnishings by Bhawarlal Suthar, graphics by Cruz D’Silva and lighting by Daud Electricals.
Being a new age entrepreneur, Ashma took to social media for marketing and promoting. With regular posts on Facebook and pictures on Instagram of satisfied customers with new looks, gauging the response by the number of prior booked appointments as well as walk-ins; the business seems to have taken off well. Besides, the traditional method of word-of-mouth publicity has helped too. The Black Palette Studio now also has its own website.
The products used at the studio are of Wella and Tigi Bed Head, which lie in a premium range of consumer products and provide excellent results. The prices of the services offered are reasonable. A team of five individuals, with prior work experience have now been personally trained by Ashma to assist her. The studio is open from 10 am to 10 pm, on all days except Tuesdays. That makes it a perfect hub for those looking to achieve a customized look, be it for a mid-noon wedding, or a late evening party.
“The beauty industry today has been captured by few major dominant players and I personally felt that this should be the change, that I would like to be a trendsetter for. People should be able to gain the maximum benefits at a very standard rate. Quality will always remain our prime USP! Even the styling tools that we use at the studio, have directly been sourced from the manufacturing company,” says Ashma.
Coming from a background that has been highly exposed to various genres of entrepreneurship, and having briefly interned at the Regional Office of Business Nirvana Inc. (the Goa arm of Business Network International), one would think that Ashma wouldn’t face obstacles while setting up her own business.
On a conclusive note, when asked what was her biggest challenge, she simply says “Convincing people around me that I was actually serious about setting up my own studio! I have always wanted to make a mark for myself. I love being independent and self-sustaining. Today, I have come a long way to achieve that level of acceptance for my profession and my aim will be to make it last.”