Veteran turned Beauty Entrepreneur: Ahmad Azmi

Ramon Ray, editor, spoke with Ahmad Azmi, veteran and owner of Amazing Lash Studio. They discussed how Ahmad transitioned from military serviceman to Beauty Entrepreneur and why Ahmad wanted to venture into the world of small business.\

Ahmad Azmi: Veteran, Beauty Entrepreneur, and Businessman

Ahmad actually grew up all around entrepreneurship. As a child, he was exposed to what it was like to own and run a business as his family always had local delis, jewelry stores, and restaurants growing up in Pakistan. “I’ve always had a business background growing up,” Ahmad mentions. Ahmad’s parents wanted him to be a doctor or an accountant, but Ahmad tried those and knew they just weren’t for him.

As a new veteran in America, Ahmad faced the rough transition back into the non-military world as many servicemen and women do. Ahmad knew he wanted to go into business for himself, so he began searching what types of small businesses were popular and successful. “You know, what kept popping up was beauty-beauty-beauty,” Ahmad states. Ahman goes on to explain that the beauty business was booming and specifically in hair removal and extensions. He never saw himself as a Beauty Entrepreneur, but the time was right and he knew he could be successful doing it.

With a knowledgeable background of the struggle of entrepreneurship, why would you want to start a business?

Ahmad admits that he has always been willing to take risks – much like what it takes to start a small business. “I’ve always been a better {and} a gambler, so I was willing to take a risk, “ Ahmad mentions that his personality was always one of a risk taker. Ahmad describes making up silly challenges and bets while in the military to seek out competition and gamble on who would win.  This time around, Ahmad was able to do some background digging before jumping in head first, which he attributes to taking a calculated risk in starting a business in the beauty industry.

Going into a Franchise Business

When questioned about how he got started in a franchised eyelash extension business, Ahmad told Ramon that he had a close friend who was already involved in the industry that was willing to help show him the way. Ahmad explains what should and shouldn’t be considered when thinking about starting a franchise business.

Things to Consider Before Opening a Franchise:

Opening up a business is never easy on the wallet, and Ahmad admits that franchising can be rather expensive. Ahmad points out that the advantage to opening a franchise business is that the name is already out there and recognizable to potential clients or customers. “We know these names.. so it was kind of cookie cutter,” Ahmad says. He says that the company he went with, Amazing Lash Studio, and its sister companies already have a following, so there was a level of popularity already established.

Ahmad also mentions how he did the research on another eyelash extension company to understand the business model behind the name. Ramon agrees and points out that comparing business models is an important aspect since something like eyelash extensions may not be as common as say a fast food franchise, so their business models are likely very different because the rotation of clientele is likely very different as well. “I was a little nervous,” Ahmad says about going into an eyelash extension company, but tells us that the background of the industry gave him the comfort he needed to be confident in taking the risk.  

What’s it like being a man in a woman’s world?

“Realistically speaking, it hasn’t made a difference for me on my end of the spectrum,” Ahmad tells us. He mentions that he has hired very good managers and directors to be the face of the studio. He may be there, but he wants female faces to the studio so that the female clients are comfortable. “Also my mom is in the cosmetology field – she has her license ”. Early exposure to the beauty industry helped Ahmad ease into the industry.  

What is any final advice you’d give to small business owners?

Ahmad mentions that he has a team of employees that really help the studio to function efficiently and effectively. Ahmad says that “you need those employees that are people persons.. you want them to be friendly,” especially in the beauty service industry. Hiring a good team is Ahmad’s number one piece of advice for running a business smoothly. Ahmad says finding honest and good employees is essential.

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