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Posted by Littlefox on September 5, 2002 at 16:37:01:

In reply to: no longer doing henna in public posted by Darla so Dreadly on September 4, 2002 at 16:56:00:

Hugs and feels for you. I know how frustrating it can be living in
an area where you just get tired of repeating yourself over and over
again and never having any of it stick. I live in the middle of Jeff
Foxworthy's comedy material.... a place so redneck that most of the
people fail to get the humor because it's TRUE!!!! If I have to
explain one more time that henna does not come in black no matter how
much they pay me and tell them no I don't have a tattoo parlor hidden
in my back room (which is illegal in our state) I think I'm going to

Anyway.....For what its worth, here goes ;)

Two suggestions of some possibility for you for finding a clientele
that might be a bit more to your liking. It works for me but these
peoples may not be to everyone's tastes. Get yourself a contact
within the middle eastern dance circuit. These girls drop a couple a
hundred dollars on a costume alone and perform in troupes of like
minds. If you can get your foot in the door dolling up one troop for
performances, then you're half way there with a clientele that will
be informed about henna, want actual henna rather than tattoos and
will be relying on you to beautify them rather than just slap and

It's much more fulfilling as the dancers are generally American or
transplanted/mixed blood dancers, the haggling occurs but not to such
a great extent, and you don't get them as much telling you your
business. Most of them that I have met so far in my state have been
totally luckless in getting henna to work with them as someone has
been perpetuating the myth that henna and water alone is all you need
to stain. Anyway I'm rambling..... But check into the middle
eastern/exotic dance circuit. Less traveling, and at the same time
you're dealing with professionals who are actually knowledgeable
about it, and word of mouth travels quick.

The other suggestion is the SCA. Some love it, some hate it, but for
the majority of work I've found with it, the people are nice and put
a great emphasis on tradition over just slap and go henna styling.
Generally most kingdoms have an event every weekend, though in the
Midwest that can be hellish as some events are 6 to 8 hour drives,
but on the east coast it isn't that bad with a higher population
base. The wars are always huge sellers as is evidenced by Pensic War
and the like, but those are long affairs that are positively
exhausting and highly competitive, local events have a much more
relaxed atmosphere.

Again with the SCA you'll find several classes of people, but if you
can find an in with the middle eastern dance community you'll be drug
in on a great deal of specialty events that showcase the entire
middle eastern theme. It's very energizing.

Though again I speak on these from experience and can't speak really
beyond that to what other people have.... I started out in the SCA
and learned mehndi rather than trying to go the other way around so I
already knew the culture and had apprenticed to a well known merchant
so I have some name recognition. They aren't huge income sources as
you can only do so much in a weekend that lasts from 4pm Friday till
noon Sunday, but if you're cutting back to bridal and parties alone
and are looking for something to do as an occasional with less stress
and more willing to understand people who aren't looking for
substitute tattoos, they're possibilities. Merchant fees aren't that
bad generally if they're local level events, sometimes $10-20 a spot
others more, some just want a donation prize for one of their
competition. Best I've made was around $15 an hour, which isn't that
bad for and it got my cards passed out and has had me called in for a
couple of birthday parties and two dance troupe meetings ;)

Only thing to really remember if you try to go the SCA route, is that
they really do appreciate any attempt you make to keep the 'dream'
alive for them... so talk the talk, wear the silly dress, go the
effort to cover up your ice chest and hide your coke cans. Merchants
are generally overlooked for being blatantly out of period on some
things but that you go to the effort to provide a good environment
for your customers to be seen in will draw in people.

Okay, I'm rambling, feel free to disregard any of this, not really
advice, just some suggestions to a fantastic henna artist that we'd
all hate to loose to the moronic masses overwhelming you with their

Hope you find some comfortable medium with a clientele that doesn't
drive you batty!



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