Thao, Founder of Fili Brow in Rotterdam, was born deaf and diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2016. But nothing got in between learning how to do brows. Her adventure started at Mrs.Highbrow and continued in opening her own brow bar. How does she communicate with her clients and what can she teach us? Read all about it in this interview.
Just recently - after times of many operations and radioactive treatments - things are getting better for beauty lover Thao. The first year and a half after the diagnosis were the hardest. “I no longer had a thyroid, and it produces important hormones. My hormone balance was completely disrupted.” In addition, she was struggling with skin problems and a weakened immune system. Despite her health challenged and the fact that she found it super scary, she decided to open her own brow bar in September 2018. Because why not?
During the training as an all-round beautician, Thao noticed that the eyebrows were treated a bit superficially. She learned how to tweeze, but she wanted to delve into the shaping deeper. After it was her turn to model for a fellow student, and her full eyebrows had turned into thin stripes with small cuts, she didn't trust anyone to do her brows for her anymore. She kept wondering, how can I do this better?
Thao likes a challenge and never stops learning. After she was welcomed with open arms at Mrs. Highbrow and learned the tricks of the trade, she also specialised in PMU. Her business has been very important, especially in these challenging times. It gave her satisfaction to do what she likes and to pursue her dreams. “I was still recovering, but didn't want to stay at home. I always enjoyed my work, even though I was so tired. ” The items that are indispensable in her salon? Concealer and tweezers!
“I kept wondering, how can I do this better?”
Because Thao was born deaf, communication can be a bit more challenging. She reads emotions partly on the basis of eyebrows. In addition, she looks at someone's character, attitude and appearance to think about what they would like. "I can read lips well and in the worst case, a client can type on their phone to let me know what they're looking for". In any case, she has never experienced any problems with communicating with her clients. She thinks that is because her deafness is stated on her website and customers know in advance where they stand. But we're sure it also has a lot to do with her talent, skills and personality.
We all agree that customer is king. Nevertheless, Thao draws a line when it comes to customer service, especially when it comes to opening hours. “I often receive requests for treatments outside my opening hours. Now and then I want to do it, for example when a client has an important shoot. But it is also the intention that I can take my moments of rest. ” That is also the reason why she solely focuses on where her passion lies: eyebrows. She has left her accounting to a professional since the start of Fili Brow. And for several months now she has a team that takes care of her social media. Something that she recommends to other brow specialists. "If you don't understand something, invest in it."
If there's one customer who really stayed with Thao, it's the one who approached her at a coffee shop and asked her to model in her video. After the videoshoot, they started talking about their recovery. She had had a stroke that required her to rehabilitate and Thao was still recovering from her illness. “Later I got a message about how I inspired her and that she had also started her own business. So special."
The best advice Thao has ever received about her company is "just do it, do not be afraid". And more importantly, you are never alone. Thao is quite sensitive to stress and knows how important it is not to do everything yourself. Her tip is to simply ask colleagues and other entrepreneurs for help. “Think of it as getting your driver's license. After you pass, the adventure begins. Just like when you have registered with the Chamber of Commerce. ”
"If you don't understand something, invest in it."
The brow guru is putting off future plans for a while. She is currently enjoying the way things are going day after day. "The success of my brow bar shows that despite the setbacks my hard work has paid off." And she doesn't just get that hard work from anyone. Thao draws inspiration from her mother, who had to flee her native country of Vietnam and start over in Belgium. A country where she didn't speak the language and didn't know the culture. She made the best of it, something that Thao will always continue to do in Rotterdam.