Upon closer examination of the city's beauty parlours, a discernible pattern emerges that divides the industry into two categories - one caters to the masses, and the other one known as boutique salons, for the niche spectrum of society.
While relatively new, the city's boutique salon scene has rapidly gained popularity among the upper-middle class. Beauty services have evolved beyond simple treatments and have come to be closely linked to improving one's overall well-being.
Many have been established by renowned beauty experts with prominent standing in the beauty industry. These experts typically excel in specialised areas of beautification, either focusing on hair-related services or makeup.
This is where Studio Ombre steps in – having the best of both worlds. The interesting collaboration among four Instagrammers who have a vast fanbase on their social platforms.
The salon is a joint venture of hair stylist Kazi Faraz Abir, make-up artist Pinky Peya, fashion blogger Mudassir Ahmed Anik (also known as 'Minimal Mudassir') and entrepreneur Evana Rahman. Each brings their unique expertise to create a unique and dynamic beauty experience.
Although 2021 saw the inception of Studio Ombre, its expansion to a second branch in a new location on 1 September this year, breathed new life into the venture. With the addition of Pinky and her wealth of experience in contemporary makeup, the infusion of newer inspiration provided Studio Ombre with the revitalisation it needed.
A Roman-inspired interior
Located in a two-story house at Banani 11, Studio Ombre invites men and women through separate entrances to the building. Upon entering the salon, the ground floor is dedicated to men while the first floor is reserved for women.
"Most brides prefer privacy. Moreover, they leave the premises wearing precious jewellery that requires added security," Pinky explained. "That's why we've provided them with a separate entrance and parking facility."
Both floors boast a space of around 8,000 square feet. Adorned with warm lights, earthy hues and rustic elements, the entire interior exudes a relaxing and soothing ambience that will put you at ease even before you avail of any of their services.
Designed by Nazirul Asif, the interior serves as a testament to Roman aesthetics. The arches, weathered trees and walls, complemented with wooden furniture, eloquently showcase the craftsmanship invested in its design.
The salon is segmented according to the service categories and can accommodate up to 40 clients at a time.
A unisex salon: Breaking stereotypes
Studio Ombre is the brainchild of Faraz, who harboured dreams of creating a unisex grooming platform. Inspired by this vision, in November 2021, he, along with Evana and Anik, established the Studio Ombre Dhanmondi branch.
However, within a few months of its launch, they realised that people at large still opt for segregated beauty-service platforms. As a result, they made the decision to exclusively cater to women.
Faraz is a certified hairdresser and stylist from Tony & Guy. Under his leadership, Studio Ombre has earned a lot of fame – mostly for the hair segment.
"We did offer makeup and other beauty services but hair services have always been our strongest suit. I could not vouch for the makeup part of our clients. I want Studio Ombre to be the best in everything. Hence, the collaboration with Pinky," said Faraz.
On the other hand, Pinky is a promising makeup artist and trainer, who got certified from Estasbella Makeup Studio in Indore, India. Pinky's makeup mantra is to enhance natural features skillfully rather than relying on too much layering. She is highly inspired by the Western 'no makeup' makeup look, also known as 'effortless beauty.'
"When Faraz approached me for Studio Ombre, I did not take much time to accept the offer. I knew this platform would be the right calling for me to nurture my creativity and showcase my talent to the world," said Pinky.
While Faraz and Pinky look over the hair and makeup departments of the Studio, Evana single-handedly takes care of the management and logistics, and Aniq looks after the marketing and branding side.
A solid leverage from social presence
Each of the four founders of Studio Ombre have a massive following on Instagram with over five-digit followers. All they all acknowledge that their social media persona gave them solid leverage in promoting Studio Ombre, and this is why they could create a buzz in such a short period of time.
"A lot of our followers religiously follow our activities and want to catch up with us. Many of them visit Studio Ombre to get our services so that they can get to know us in real life. When Faraz is in the salon and we post stories of him, we get a lot of messages from people asking how long he is going to be here and if they can come over for a haircut," explained Pinky.
The second branch of Studio Ombre was launched with just two months of preparation. As the team wanted to create a boutique salon, they preferred not to go for any commercial space. Instead they opted for a bungalow-type house in an idyllic location.
"The house, where Studio Ombre is located, was built in the early 1960s. It seemed too old to go for a total facelift. However, the moment I did my preliminary survey here, I knew this was the best fit for my dream studio," shared Faraz.
The team experienced a fair amount of challenges for this renovation. Just about a week before launching, the sewage system collapsed and the entire house was flooded with water. The roof of the house, being more than 60 years old, is prone to dampness and leakage. Faraz had to cover the entire rooftop with tin so that the rainwater wouldn't cause any further damage to the roof.