Homey touch

Wait three months for a facial here

Speech and drama teacher Nareeza Abdul Rahim offers facials at her home-based salon, The Face Canvas.
Speech and drama teacher Nareeza Abdul Rahim offers facials at her home-based salon, The Face Canvas.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Her mother used to run a facial service at home, and now Ms Nareeza Abdul Rahim, 29, does the same.

The full-time speech and drama teacher says having her own facial salon has always been her dream.

"My mother used to run her own home-based facial service. As a child, I would watch and be fascinated by how she was able to make people feel refreshed and relaxed," she says.

She is doing a good job: The Temasek Polytechnic business school graduate's facial services are so sought after that customers have to book slots three months in advance. There has also been an 80 per cent jump in the number of customers over the past two years.

Her business, The Face Canvas, started in 2015, is run out of a room in her parents' five-room Housing Board flat in Tampines - an average flat with a traditional kitchen and a living room with a huge wide- screen television.

But as you enter the bedroom where Ms Nareeza runs the facial spa, the atmosphere shifts. The room is softly lit with fairy lights hung along the walls. There is a proper spa bed with clean, fresh towels and Ms Nareeza dons a white coat when attending to customers.

She and her husband, a safety officer at a construction company, are waiting for their own flat, which will be ready in two years.

Ms Nareeza, who has worked as a beautician at commercial spas for two years, left in 2015 because "customers could be very demanding and sales targets were stressful".

Not wanting to start a full-fledged business without her own customer base, she decided to work as a full-time teacher and opened a homebased salon. "I didn't want to start my spa cold. I've always loved drama and acting, so the teaching job is perfect for now."

She adds that when she has her own house, she will most likely run her home-based salon full time.

Her facials range in price from $65 to $100 and she makes about $2,000 a month, working two hours in the evening from Mondays to Thursdays and six hours on Saturdays.

She accepts only female clients and uses Facebook, Instagram and beauty service booking app Vanitee to bring in customers.

Asked why she thinks people like going to her salon, she says: "It is very private and casual. I get to know them after a while as well, so we become friends. They also don't feel pressured to buy any packages."

Melissa Heng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 09, 2017, with the headline 'Wait three months for a facial here'. Print Edition | Subscribe