• Anna Khorram's business got its start as a temporary kiosk at Westfield Hornsby. (Supplied)
Anna Khorram took a leap of faith when she set out to introduce a beauty secret from her Iranian culture to the Australian market. Determination - and some helpful financial advice - helped her get ahead.
By
Small Business Secrets

15 May - 11:13 AM  UPDATED 15 May - 3:08 PM

When it comes to beauty, women will go to great lengths for the perfect eyebrow.

Plucking and waxing are the main methods of choice - but there's another way you may not be familiar with: threading.

"Threading is [an] ancient technique for hair removal. It's basically a natural cut [made] with thread. You twist [the thread] and remove hair out from [the] roots," Anna Khorram explains. It's popular in her native Iran, but lesser known in Australia.

So when she launched her Sydney threading business, she knew she was in for a challenge.

After convincing Westfield management to give her a chance, she started with a kiosk at the Hornsby location -  and a three month lease in which to prove herself.

"I remember the first couple of days people would walk and watch... one lady walked past [and] said what are you doing with that dental floss!"

The first few weeks were tough. But that curiosity eventually translated into customers, and word of mouth helped her business grow. Threading, Anna says, is a natural alternative to waxing - and "it's very precise."

Two years in, she was ready for a bigger location - but first she needed to raise $50,000. Anna says she couldn't qualify for a business loan, but her bank recommended another option: overdraft.

That combined with credit cards enabled her to make the move. Her shop is now just a few meters from where her kiosk use to stand.

"I feel like this is ten meters [distance] but it's like millions of miles of work to get there," she says, standing in the space her kiosk used to occupy.

Business has doubled since she made the move, and she's now hoping to open a second location in the next year.

The bigger premises has also allowed her to begin offering a new treatment, called Microblading.

 "It's like a very, very delicate type of tattooing because I apply the hair strokes one by one."

Lasting eight to 22 months, the procedure gives eyebrows back to women who may have lost them through illness, burns, or simply through over plucking.

"This is rewarding for me that I can give customers eyebrows and take away extra hairs. So I'm working both ways!" she laughs.

Having immigrated to Australia in 2007, she remembers struggling to find work - so she's proud she can now call herself a business owner and employer.

"When I arrived in Australia I was asked by everywhere I was handing my resume, what is your local experience? And I don't have any."

"I believe for new migrant[s] or many women that need a little more opportunity to learn language or become part of society - they need time and opportunity. I made Aura to give this opportunity to every women."

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