A little about me.....I grew up as an only child to immigrant parents who arrived in San Francisco with $100 in their pocket and a suitcase filled with dreams. Watching my parents struggle to fit into a foreign country while working long days and in odd jobs was normal. After five years, they saved enough money to open their first restaurant and made $.25 per customer serving the best Chinese food in town. Later they sold the business and my mom decided to open a small retail jewelry store. Helping out was the norm and pretty much how I spent my weekends and summer vacations. Our family business was our home away from home where we gathered, laughed, quarreled, ate, hosted visitors, and spent all of our time together. Day in and day out, we custom designed our own masterpieces of jewelry-picking the best pearls and gemstone one by one, mixing and matching colors, remodeling old designs and making them new again. Designing was fun and a part of my teenage life. While other kids were watching TV or playing sports, I was making jewelry. Looking back, I now realize the delicate work that I had been doing since I was 10 years old would serve me well as a tattoo artist and product designer.
Knowing how hard it is to run your own business, my parents always encouraged me to get a higher education so I could get a "real job", like a doctor or a lawyer. They thought anything would better than being a shop owner. My parents didn't realize it at the time, but the family business would teach me more about people and problem solving more than any textbook could.
One day, my friend dragged me to go with her to get permanent eyeliner and being 18 years old, I said "sure, why not"! We walked into a simple, hole-in-the-wall esthetics shop where at least 15 women sat in plain chairs, waiting for their name to be called. We were instructed to pay upfront in cash and quickly shuffled to our seats. Names were called and women came and went quickly into the small little room in the back, afterwards all with tissues in their hands, blotting at their eyes. We thought about turning back but remembered we already paid so that was out of the question. After about an hour, it was our turn. My friend went in first and after about 15 minutes, she came out tearful, but alive. She said it really hurt, but it was too late for me to back out. My artist wore a face mask, instructed me to lay down, close my eyes and keep quiet. She couldn't have said more than 10 words to me. Then came the needle....I closed my eyes and tried to relax. Buzz-buzz, scratch-scratch, more buzzing, some tears, and it was over. After only 10 minutes of barely endurable torture on my eyes, I received my first eyeliner tattoo and was thrilled although my eyes were throbbing and tearing. That's when I had my "ah-ha" moment. Here's an artist who created art with her own bare hands, changed the life of women, and was a total lady-boss. I liked and respected that, I was totally intrigued. I went back to the shop, told my mom I wanted to learn cosmetic tattooing. She shot me down and told me to get a "real" job. Ok, dream diverted for now....maybe it was a bad idea anyway.
So being the diligent daughter I was, I listened to my mom and got my business degree and went to work for one the biggest firms on Wall Street. Dressing up in business suits, sitting at a desk, talking finances was success for my mom, but boring to me and just not where my heart was. But it was my job and I was supposed to join the rat race like everyone else, right? After four years, I quit but sure learned a lot about the financial markets. It was a great education I now know the difference between dividends, stocks splits, and I can read a company prospectus, yippee!
One day, I went to get a facial at a day spa and was told there was a well-known tattoo artist visiting from Hong Kong who could tattoo my eyebrows for me. Since I already had my eyeliner done, I was totally up for it! The artist used a tapping motion to repeatedly stab at my skin. 15 minutes later, I was the owner of two big black lines across my forehead. I was terrified, went home, and scrubbed my skin. That didn't go too well but luckily, two weeks later, I loved my new eyebrows! And that light bulb in me went off again, but this time, I was going to follow through. I looked up courses in permanent makeup and was on a plane the following week to become a certified PMU artist. To make a long story short, that was 15 years ago, and I still love EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. I love the ability to create, make women feel beautiful, to create something with my bare hands, to express my creativity day-in and day-out. I was hooked.
After 14,000 procedures and paying my dues with continuing education, I still feel so humbled and grateful for my special little "job". Everyday, you'll find me in my studio, where I'm constantly striving to improve my skills with new techniques and tools, motivating me to achieve the absolute best possible results for my clients.
My development and skills did not come without years of challenge and hard work for me. I never called in sick or took a day off. But when I came across microblading in 2013, it changed the way I work. I was finally able to tattoo the skin the same way that I sketched on paper. It was freeing, flowing, and a complete natural range of motion for me.
In 2014, I led the first-ever Microblading class in the US with one of my mentors, Dr. Linda Dixon, but continued to be frustrated with the lack of safe and high quality tools to perform great work. As much as I loved microblading, I hated the tools. I was frustrated with having to use questionable and mediocre needles attached to hobby handles that not only felt awkward but were ergonomically prehistoric. I didn't feel it was best for my clients so I decided- if the tools that I required to do my work did not exist, I was going to build them, regardless of the costs. Permanent makeup had been good to me and it was time for me to give back. Well, let me tell you right now bringing a product to market is way easier said than done. Being a type-A control freak, I set out to do things right and I wasn't going to let anyone or my lack of experience stand in the way. After all, 16 year-olds were becoming internet sensations and gaining millions of followers, so I was sure I could handle a little side manufacturing business. I forgot to mention at this time I started Harmony, I was also 6 months pregnant so I must have been delusional as well, but my team (husband and two kids) stood by me, and helped me create something I can be proud of.
Permanent makeup is my passion and the disposable Harmony™ Microblade is my contribution to an industry I love so much. I truly hope you like it. If not, I sure will have a lot of Harmony's to use for the the rest of my life!
Thank you to all the artists who came before me and helped me find my way and work so hard at their "real job". You guys inspire me every day!
Artist and creator of Harmony™ Microblade