Caught Red-Handed Podcast Henna artists talking about henna

September 30, 2015  

I’m going to break an old taboo about talking about money with other people; I’m going to break it hard by talking to Sowmya Ranganathan about money AND broadcasting it to anyone who will listen. I personally think this rule is kind of stupid because it keeps people ignorant about money which causes us to make poor decisions about our money. This is especially problematic for small business owners who deal with money more directly than those who work for someone else.

12041677_10153223832488471_1868426706_nFor many reasons, I have wanted to cover this issue in the podcast for a long time. One of the minor reasons is to talk here about my own issues and journey regarding money. Growing up poor-ish and always pinching pennies I learned a lot about money, but I also absorbed some bad money habits, like buying something ONLY based on price…only later realizing that when you skimp on quality you end up spending more in the long run on a replacement or repair. I also always had a hard time spending money on on intangibles whose value I couldn’t quantify, like a weekend away to recharge the batteries and come back stronger.  I know from conversations online that a lot of you have questions and outright fear regarding money.

I also wanted to cover this issue as part of my not-so-secret feminist agenda. Let’s face it, most henna artists are women and we exist in a world where the power and the pursestrings are not always in our command. Most of us grow up without the skills to ask for what we are worth (financially, but also physically, emotionally and intellectually). When I first started doing henna professionally I used to state my prices with a question mark at the end and a look of begging for approval on my face. I have learned to put a period at the end of my sentences, but there are days when I feel guilty for asking for what I am worth. I’m nearly 50 and I recently asked for a raise for the first time in my life! I’m embarrassed to admit this. My boss agreed I deserved a raise, but when it came time there just wasn’t the budget for it. That sucks but it’s beyond the scope of this podcast!

Kenzi tries to multitask but fails. Focus.
Kenzi tries to multitask but fails. Focus.

This podcast may not be able to address our issues of low self-worth (I’ll see if I can find a guest who can), but I think that we can get valuable information out there to empower us all to take our finances to a new level. My guest, Sowmya, is a henna artist (JoyofHenna on IG) but also works in accounting at an internet startup in San Francisco. As you may or may not know, I also have an alter-ego as a software trainer. We talk about accounting concepts and tools, but also the soft science of how to set prices.

We are both fans of Square, Sowmya because she is an employee AND a user of Square products, and me because I am a user. We refer to Square a lot because we both use it, but what we say applies to similar products from other companies. We have also talked about doing a google hangout where we demo some of the concepts we talk about in the podcast, showing you how to work with spreadsheets and formulas, and also to give you tours of some of the products we discuss.

I promised that I would list the products we discuss in the episode which I will do soon.  Feel free to mention in the comments any tools that help you with your henna business.

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Perhaps you heard that a bunch of us Moroccan henna fans are doing a full weekend workshop in NYC at the end of February. Maybe you are interested but haven't made up your mind yet.  If that is the case, I hope that these conversations with three of the instructors--Nic, Nev and Noam--will help make the decision to sign up even easier!  You can hear in their own words what the three Ns are bringing to the workshop and why they think it's going to be amazing.  Rebecca and I will also be teaching at the workshop but we decided that our voices have been heard too much on this podcast already.  Below you'll find more information about the workshop and what to expect, as well as links to the Facebook event page and to the registration page. See you in February!

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November 16, 2014  

Welcome to Episode 22 of the Caught Red-Handed Podcast which is the first ever live podcast and therefore most of the intro is about my experience at HennaCon.  It was my first time, and one of my rare appearances at a conference.  If you’ve never been to a henna conference and aren’t sure if you’re ready, believe me you are.  The only prerequisites are a passion for henna, a desire to learn and grow, and a minimum of a few weeks of doing henna.  I was surprised to see that HennaCon offers so much to newbies and seasoned old pros. I’ve been doing henna for 16 years and walked away from this experience with my brain and heart full of so much new stuff, most of which I am still digesting a month later.  I met so many newbies who were all bright eyed and bushy tailed, soaking up as much information as they could , hennaing each other and getting hennaed.  The week after I saw their work on Instagram and noticed leaps in quality and creativity.  For me, HennaCon came at a good time for me benefit from it.  If you have listened to just 1 or 2 episodes of this podcast you’ll know that I have been on a journey to improve my skills (learning to roll and use cones, and also tampering with my paste) as well as finding ways to more deeply tap into my creativity.  My state of mind is very curious and receptive so HennaCon felt like a perfect match for my sponge-like state.  I absorbed a lot from classes, but also from talking to other artists, watching how they work, answering their questions which really made me think about how I work, hennaing and getting hennaed.

Back in Brooklyn one month after HennaCon here is what I’m thinking/doing/learning/planning. Starting with the podcast, i got a surge of ideas of different kinds of podcasts and people to interview.  Watch this space for these developments.  I’ve started practicing more on my own (it helps that it’s the slow season here).  In my practice time I am working on things that I picked up at HennaCon like Kiran’s shading, Neeta’s fills, Rebecca’s leaves, Joey’s dots and then putting them all together.  From the Moroccan henna class that I co-taught with Noam I realized that there is a huge interest in Moroccan henna. Before that I was despairing that no one cared about it and what’s the point of pushing it out there.  Thanks to all your support (especially those of you who asked me to henna you with Moroccan designs) I feel a renewed passion for it.  Nic and Noam and I are cooking up some projects in the realm of Moroccan henna.  Again, watch this space.

As for this episode of the podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kim Brennan, Jessica McQueen and Kiran Sahib on the subject of the creative process.  I hope the sound issues aren’t too disruptive; it was my first time recording in a live environment. After the conversation with these three awesome women and artists I put in a few woman-on-the-street interviews with HennaCon attendees recorded on my iPhone.  The sound quality on these is pretty terrible tho with all the background noise you may feel as if you were there, listening in person.

Remember to subscribe to this podcast via iTunes to always be the first on your block to get the newest episode. This helps me know how the podcast is doing and will also help me attract sponsors to help finance the podcast down the road. Please also rate the podcast on iTunes just so I know how I'm doing . Thanks!

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September 20, 2014  

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I interviewed 13 people (myself included) and got 13 different recipes. Imagine that! Incontrovertible proof that there is no secret recipe for henna paste, no perfect one-size-fits-all recipe. Who would have ever guessed that! All my guests are pro artists with years and years of experience and most of them are still working on their perfect recipe. Almost everyone agrees that you have you change the recipe according to a variety of factors: the weather, what kind of gig it is, what tool you are using, where your gig will be held, what kind of designs you are going to be doing, and possibly even the phase of the moon.

This is the last of the series on mixing henna. If you haven't found a recipe or a technique that you like after all these conversations there is no hope for you. Of course, I am sure you--whether wet-behind-the-ears newbie or season ole pro who has seen everything--will have learned something that will take your henna career to the next level. Go put some henna powder in your favorite bowl, find a spoon or a spatula and get ready to fill your ear holes with wise words from the henna pros!

Remember to subscribe to this podcast via iTunes to always be the first on your block to get the newest episode. This helps me know how the podcast is doing and will also help me attract sponsors to help finance the podcast down the road. Please also rate the podcast on iTunes just so I know how I'm doing . Thanks!

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August 24, 2014  

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Jared M. Burns Photography
Sarah Mixing - Jared M. Burns Photography

This episode of the mixtape mixology series is a classic East Coast-West Coast battle with Middle America officiating.  We have Sarah Walter in the West, representing Seattle (pictured above).  Deborah Brommer takes up the middle position, representing the flyover states from her home in Ohio. She's the perfect person to middle because she is very tolerant of all types of henna, mixes, essential oils and even tools.  She can roll with whatever is at hand which I found impressive.  Representing my East Coast peeps is Rebecca Freedner, based in Vermont.  No she does NOT mix her henna with maple syrup.  Don't listen to the haters!

The more I listen to all these mixes the more confused I am about what is best for me.  I'm making small changes in how I mix henna, nothing too drastic because I need to be sure I have a good and consistent batch for working on clients.  I think this winter I will have time to do some experimenting outside my comfort zone. What have you changed since you started listening to this mixtape series? Share in the comments.  After this episode, there is one more in the series in which I am interviewed by our very own Nev.

I mention this in the podcast, but just a reminder to register for HennaCon if you haven't already. I'll be there teaching an Advanced Moroccan workshop with Noam Sienna, and also doing a live podcast with a bunch of awesomely creative people.  Go to HennaCon.com to register and see you there in October!

Remember to subscribe to this podcast via iTunes to always be the first on your block to get the newest episode. This helps me know how the podcast is doing and will also help me attract sponsors to help finance the podcast down the road.  Please also rate the podcast on iTunes just so I know how I'm doing . Thanks!

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July 9, 2014  

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I can hear you all out there banging your spoons against your henna bowls in anticipation of the next Mixtape episode.  Clang no more, put those bowls to good use.  This episode will give so many new ideas for mixing henna that you'll want to run to your kitchen right away.

The first episode ranged across the US, but this one narrows its focus to just the Bay Area.  Even though all my guests are in the same area they each have their own way of dealing with the climate and their own unique recipes.  All three are very active in the bridal scene, offering up some great ideas for making special paste for bridal henna.  We even have a minor controversy brewing over whether there is such a thing as dye release (possibly a subject for a future episode).

Interestingly all three of these women have very no-nonsense approaches to mixing henna.  Maybe there is something about doing bridal henna in an environment with a lot of henna artists  and a lot of gigs that makes a person become more focused on what works and what doesn't.  It sounds like there really isn't time to play around with different powders and oils and teas etc. but instead they have all strived to get the very best paste in the easiest and quickest way possible.  That said, they all arrived at their current mix through a lot of experimentation which is the core lesson from all of these interviews.

Remember to subscribe to this podcast via iTunes to always be the first on your block to get the newest episode. This helps me know how the podcast is doing and will also help me attract sponsors to help finance the podcast down the road.  Please also rate the podcast on iTunes just so I know how I'm doing. Thanks!

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June 7, 2014  

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Henna recipes are like snowflakes...no two are the same.  Or maybe a better metaphor is that henna artists are grannies with their own special recipe, made with love and no measurements, or maybe carefully measured but always with a little pinch of something you never thought of.

I floated this episode idea of a collection of interviews about henna recipes with a bunch of seasoned pro henna artists in my inner circle.  I thought maybe there would be a few interested in talking to me and maybe I'd get 5 minutes of tape from each. It turned out to be way more than that. One of my pro buddies wondered aloud how many recipes there could possibly and how would that make an interesting episode.  I hope she's listening!

My cattle call got so many takers and each call was a full conversation so I had to split them up into several episodes.  Here is the first batch ready for your hungry ear holes.  My guests were Sowmya from San Francisco, Wardah of San Diego, Victoria in Minneapolis and beyond, and Nev way up in Portland, ME.

Remember to subscribe to this podcast via iTunes to always be the first on your block to get the newest episode. This helps me know how the podcast is doing and will also help me attract sponsors to help finance the podcast down the road.  Please also rate the podcast on iTunes just so I know how I'm doing . Thanks!

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March 15, 2014  

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Disclaimer: It's hasn't yet happened that this podcast requires a disclaimer so I hope I am doing this right.  In this episode the existence of sex and sexuality is acknowledged.  If you are under 18, please ask your parents if you can listen to this episode. If  you are an adult and don't want to know that these things exist, that there is an industry devoted to it, and people who work in it, I suggest you close this browser window and walk away.

For the rest of you still reading, this episode is a treat, and an unusual one at that.  Donia is a business consultant to sexuality professionals.  Somehow I got it into my head that there are a lot of parallels between the work of a professional henna artist and that of a sexuality professional.  You will have to listen to the episode to see exactly what those parallels are, and I am sure you can think of a lot more than those we talked about.  The episode isn't all just sexy stuff--it's not sexy at all--but it's chock full of great business advice that we can all benefit from, at whatever stage our career are.

Donia was generous enough to share some great links, some of which she talks about on the podcast, and others that she thought would be useful to you all.

http://polyweekly.com/2011/03/personal-branding-for-the-sex-positive-educator/

http://www.onlinemba.com/blog/90-tiny-tips-to-build-your-personal-brand/

http://www.wikihow.com/Build-Your-Personal-Brand

http://diybusinessassociation.com/gobrandyourself/

Donia offers a free 30 minute consult to any one who fills out the form on her website: www.doniachristine.com

Remember to subscribe to this podcast via iTunes to always be the first on your block to get the newest episode. This helps me know how the podcast is doing and will also help me attract sponsors to help finance the podcast down the road.  Please also rate the podcast on iTunes just so I know how I'm doing . Thanks!

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