Who We Are

Do you have 10 minutes?

Ok *takes a deep breath* 

This story goes to show that people see the potential in you more than you will ever see in yourself. I guess the old me would say I couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t be good at it…never in a million years would I think we would be where we are today. 

It all started while working at a mortgage firm with a long-time friend, Alice. She had come in and sat at my cubicle, chatting away about how our weekend went until I noticed she looked a little different but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  She finally told me she got her eyebrows “microbladed” and I was shocked.  It looked so natural and she looked so put together.  Believe it or not the next sentence that came out of her mouth, literally changed my life.

And right away my brain put me down, telling her “no, I could never,” or “no, I’m not even good at drawing my own brows, what if I mess up others?” was coming out of my mouth before I could catch myself.  Looking back, although I had so many negative thoughts I had a tiny whisper of “maybe this actually would be something I’d love to do” in the back of my head.  And it stayed there.

Finally, after a week of humming and hawing, my friend Alice convinced me to take an eyebrow course.  Before I can start, I had to figure out a way to convince my Asian immigrant parents that being in the finance industry wasn’t what I really wanted and that being in art was the way to go! (Yea that wasn’t going to go well).  After some time, I finally got the courage to convince my parents that the money would be returned once it was made back and this would solely be a “side hustle”.  I thought to myself, what could go wrong?  At the end, I am only losing money but gaining a skill, plus I had a full-time job already that treated me really well I can fall back on.

Michelle's first location
2016 – My friends & family supported me by surprising me with a decorated space

Once I completed my first brow course I was so nervous to mess up anyone’s brows..I didn’t do anything for a full month.   But as I got the courage to start, I didn’t stop.  I worked a full-time job and would take on clients every day after work and during the weekends.  This happened for a span of 3 months straight.  I was so scared to quit my full-time job and lose a steady income.

After transitioning taking clients from my house to a 100-sq. ft. room rental at a spa, I officially had my own space.  I felt as if it was the final move in order to build up the courage to quit my full-time job.  Whilst taking clients I noticed a pattern where they would ask me if I knew any good eyelash artists that I can recommend them to, and that was when I realized if I can convince my sister to learn this, it would be a good side hustle for her and she would have clients lined up already.

When I convinced my sister to take the plunge and quit her full-time job, things went on at an even faster pace.  We were then becoming busier than the spa itself, and that was the indication that it was finally time for our own shop.

kingsway storefront
2017 – Meraki’s first location located on Kingsway & Willingdon
lash beds at kingsway location
Inside the Kingsway Meraki location

Our first location was on Kingsway by Willingdon and Metrotown.  I remembered building all the Ikea furniture, planning everything and making sure that it would be perfect.  If you drove by you would see all the beds lined up parallel to each other full of ladies getting their lashes done or just sitting at the front waiting area laughing and socializing while waiting for their turn. This was when our team grew from 3 to 11. 

At times when it was a full house, we had to open up extra beds to accommodate clients.  It was then, we decided to look for a second location and expand.  My sister Jenny (our pro shop locater) came across the first location of our old spa we rented from. She was telling me that I would absolutely love it because it was much bigger and had two floors with high ceilings. She could not have been any more right. I fell in love instantly, I could already imagine how our Meraki family would grow there and the endless possibilities the services we would provide to our clients. 

Once the lease was signed, we realized we have come full circle from renting a small room at that very spa to TAKING over their first location. We just couldn’t believe it! 

Burlington Meraki Storefront
Michelle and her dad

Now, I am definitely not saying this was one straight road and everything just fell into place.  It was more like a windy one that had constant road blocks, pot holes, and no exits.  We battled through so much crying, life stages, and even a pandemic!  What really got us through each stage was the support we had for another.

Michelle and Jenny's first recognition
2016 – Our very first recognition from Burnaby Now for Best Eyelash Beauty Bar
Michelle and Jenny
2019 – Me & Jenny at Meraki Burlington Grand Opening

Fast forward to today in 2022, we have serviced over 10,000 appointments, won multiple awards, 600+ 5 star reviews, and have become a one-stop shop with 20 talented artists that can utilize their artistic skills in making others feel and look just as good.  Meraki has become a hub for artists to start their career in beauty, seeing if there is passion, and eventually fully transition to a full-time career.  One that they can take charge of their own schedule, and even becoming financially free.

We want to be your Alice.

xo Michelle

The Team