Boasting a large Instagram follower base, Mendarewa Ethenpa never thought she would be a young entrepreneur and a well-known certified makeup artist and hairstylist. Her firm, Makeup by Me is a name to reckon with in the North Bengal and Sikkim region. Currently, Menda is the second-generation owner of Looks Beauty Salon and Spa in Gangtok and brides-to-be make a beeline for her services – waiting to be styled to perfection.
An initial stint in finance
She recounts humble beginnings, where she went to college, completed her education in finance and started her career with Axis Bank as an assistant manager. She served in this capacity for over two years, during which time she developed an inclination towards the world of glitter and glamour. Menda’s mother founded Looks Beauty Salon and she always believed that ‘beauty begins the moment you start to look beautiful’. In due course, she expressed her desire to retire and this was when Menda quit her job. She began working towards what she’d been always passionate about — make-up and hair styling.
Growing up, Menda was in awe of her mother’s personality. She worked tirelessly and with precision, delivering as she did top notch services to Gangtok residents. As a young girl often accompanying her mother to the salon, Menda learnt the ropes from her formative years. Like most family businesses, she was the ‘heir apparent’ but with the formidable reputation her mother had already established, there was immense pressure to live up to. But she rose to the challenge and she honed her skills, and even fulfilled the criteria to earn her certification as a make-up artist and hairstylist.
Ever the perfectionist, she enrolled for master classes under the tutelage of Mario Dedivanovic and Nina Mua from the Make-up Academy in New York City. In fact, it was Menda’s sister-in-law, Mrs. Nyima Doma Ethenpa, who led the initiative to locate the make-up school and familiarised her with the Big Apple.
Armed with innate skill and technical knowhow, Menda opened to a fabulous initial year – styling over 50 brides. Her work garnered praise and she even created looks for various beauty pageants. Over time, she gained recognition for her aesthetically pleasing looks. Her mantra is simple – ‘identify, relate, contour and feel beautiful’.
With fashion and styling trends always evolving, Menda and her experienced team keep up with the ever-growing demand for beauty and wellness services. Without doubt, Looks Salon & Spa has lived up to the family’s expectations as also their clientele’s stratospheric demands.
The supportive better half
Being an entrepreneur is no easy task and added to the fray are two young children. From heeding family needs to making sure clients are well looked after, and also ascertaining her team is motivated, Menda sure is adept at wearing many hats. She has been able to keep up on all fronts with ease and for this, she credits her better half for being a very supportive partner. He will even ferry her to early morning bridal appointments, making sure she needn’t worry about their two adorable children. Menda says her husband really is the wind beneath her wings.
The seasoned make-up artist firmly maintains that both women and men should take pride in grooming themselves well. Typically, men seem to receive grooming tips from the women folk in their families. She encourages men to also take time out and adhere to a beauty regimen. Indeed, Menda’s firmness of purpose shines through when she states ‘success favours the well-groomed’.