For girls, from girls: Jaziba Magnificence Salon

Jaziba Salon, Maria Newsom/Buckliner

Midwood-mixed-use structure that defines the stretch of Foster Avenue from McDonald’s to Ocean Avenue, pairs storefronts downstairs, flats upstairs, and laughs with people from Azerbaijan to Zambia. There is a Bengali bakery, a Central Asian specialty market, a Dominican comfort retailer, Mexican bodegas, a Pakistani barber and Pakistani-owned Carvel franchise, a Polish florist and an Uzbek cobbler (and I’ve ignored the companies in Newkirk Plaza.)

The 2 eating places that closed final yr, Behri’s, a vacation spot for West Indian bread, and Mamma Lucia, a longtime spaghetti joint, stay factors of pilgrimage at Foster’s, as Westwood and Rusty Nell, respectively, serving up distinctive places, Has slipped in the appropriate place. Like huevos divorciados and vegetarian pulled “pork” (jackfruit) sliders. And doubtless my favourite: a Chinese language hand laundry, the place the nonagenarian, who opens his gate at 7:30 a.m., nonetheless presses, folds, and wraps shirts into brown paper packages tied with string… so perhaps Not a match for Flushing’s selection, but, block for block, Foster Avenue surprises with a wide range of surprising services and products offered by the retailers round our spinning fidget.

Stroll-in welcome

Courtesy of Samina Akbar

Sandwiched between an house constructing and 4 row homes, 920 Foster, west of Coney Island Avenue, is one in every of these mixed-use constructions, with tenants from Mexico on the higher flooring, and occupying Jaziba Magnificence Salon. The ground of a two-family home, which may have as soon as been a parlor.

I used to be first drawn within the window by a poster in a $6 eyebrow particular advert. (The particular has lengthy since expired, however immediately’s fee for eyebrow threading continues to be so cheap at $7. And for each 5 eyebrow classes you pay, you get a sixth free!) I am going A woman, about 9, walks round in a chair behind the entrance desk.

“What’s your title sweetheart?” i ask.

“Jasmine,” replies the woman.

“Jaziba,” her mom explains, is the kid’s given title in Arabic, and therefore the title of the salon. The proprietor, Naeema Kausar, has three different daughters: Uzma, Hiba and Alia, after which Noman, a son, Smack. Mrs. Kausar is from Islamabad and has been in USA for 15 years. Lately, she moved from an house on Coney Island Avenue to a house in Staten Island, pursuing the American Dream of homeownership, Brooklyn fashion.

She kindly agreed to this interview.

girls solely

“Why did you resolve to begin the enterprise?” i ask. “It is a large deal, bringing cash collectively, discovering a spot, hiring workers…”

“Really it was my husband Nadeem’s dream,” she smiles. “It wasn’t my dream.”

“Actually? Have you ever at all times been good at it?”

“Sure, in 2012 I went to highschool for my cosmetology license.” No petty motion with 5 kids beneath the age of fifteen at dwelling. “Then for 2 years, I labored at three totally different salons for the apply.”

“And that is when your husband mentioned you need to begin your individual enterprise?” i ask.

“Sure, Pakistani salons are often run by girls,” says Naeema.

“As a result of males do not reduce girls’s hair?” i ask.

(If my barber Stephen ever retires, I am going to simply must shave my head.)

“However in truth, now in my nation,” Naima continues, “some males reduce girls’s hair. Within the final ten years, in large cities, they now have unisex salons…”

“However not right here. It is all feminine,” I famous.

“Sure, as a result of girls prefer it that manner. They really feel snug.”

I understood; I like this one too. It feels enjoyable, as girls let their hair down within the deep shampooing sink of this cozy two-room salon, whose storefront window and partitions are lined in posters of fashions with kohl-lined eyes, elaborately engineered hairstyles, and extra. Skinny with rosemary leaves. Weapon.

“You may’t peek into your store. Is it for privateness?” i ask.

“Sure, most individuals put on the hijab outdoors, however contained in the salon the pinnacle is uncovered.”

“In unisex salons,” Uzma explains, “girls cannot afford hair providers and waxing with out shedding their modesty.”

Courtesy of Samina Akbar


Whereas daughters assist across the store, reply the cellphone or sweep, particularly throughout busy instances equivalent to moon night time, or “The Evening of the Moon”, the feast that ends Ramadan and begins Eid-ul-Fitr, Naima has just one full-time worker, Samina Akbar, a stunning younger girl from Lahore. In New York since 2015, Samina attended a government-run magnificence college in Pakistan, the place, as she describes it, “he taught me every little thing.”

They usually taught him every little thing. I belief Samina with my eyebrows. “Simply pure, not skinny,” I inform her, solely settling into one in every of three beautician chairs. My phrases are pointless, he remembers. Samina holds a taut thread on my brow and works it up so shortly that the ache is negligible, tying particular person hairs right into a loop of thread, then shortly tightening to unravel.

“Is threading one thing women be taught at dwelling, or are they skilled in a salon?” I direct my query to the floor-to-ceiling mirror.

“It is not troublesome, it is simply expertise.” Sameena dismisses it decently. “You be taught the approach, and after that it is simply apply.” As with all girl who has ever skilled a foul forehead, nonetheless, correcting the arch is not that straightforward. Samina palms me a mirror and I love my symmetrical brows: two good peaked ceilings.

Courtesy of Samina Akbar


“Who’re your clients?” I ask Nayeema, questioning who else will profit from this expertise.

“Everybody. It is blended. Principally Pakistani, but in addition Uzbek, Bengali and Jewish.” I do not know why I used to be shocked to listen to conservative girls time and again jaziba; that is Midwood, we combine.

“Goes to the salon in Pakistan one thing that girls do frequently?” i ask.

“A couple of times every week. There are too.” She solutions.

“What does it imply in your clients to come back right here? What do girls speak about?” i ask.

“Household schooling. Not too many dangerous issues. Simply positives, not negatives. And we do not speak badly about individuals.” Naima emphasizes this final level.

“So you are not Naima, the therapist?” I joke. “For instance why aren’t you advising individuals about their love lives?”

“No, however I do assist girls.” she provides.

By this she implies that she networks. Naima is aware of individuals. She connects new immigrants to important providers that assist ease the transition from the outdated to the brand new.

a negotiation

as-Salam-Alaikum, nonetheless contemporary from the Eid-ul-Fitr vacation two days in the past, a girl with a henna tattoo, flashes with goal and begins the dialog. What I select from Urdu Crossfire in English is: “twenty-five.” Then, after a extra full of life joke, Naima, I collect, makes her closing supply: “Sixty-five to every.” ,Thanks“The lady nods and leaves, slamming the door shut.

“Did she conform to sixty-five?” i ask.

“He has accomplished.” Naima laughs. “Immediately is the marriage get together of the three sisters,” she says, so they need get together make-up and hairstyles. They usually need a low cost. We’re doing it on a sixty-five per individual foundation.”

It’s a centuries-long custom that consists of an all-female prenuptial gathering—a mehendi get together—to do the henna, make-up and looping locks of hair in elaborate updates. It could take Naima and Samina three hours or extra to arrange the bride’s household for the marriage. nikkahoor authorized Islamic marriage, might be carried out prematurely within the mosque, with solely the quick household, however for Marriage processionOr on the marriage day, hosted by the bride’s household, each households are out in full pressure, placing forth their finest satin-slicked toes.

Courtesy of Samina Akbar

the artwork of mehndi

“Does each little woman be taught Mehndi?” i ask.

“A few of them, not all,” Naima replies. “Little women who prefer it do. Nevertheless after highschool most women need to be taught to use mehndi.

“And the place did you be taught?” I ask Samina.

“At dwelling, on my palms and on my toes. I used to be about 18 and my mother’s sisters and my cousins ​​used to go to. We are going to apply on one another. Then they began coming to me on holidays, weddings.”

“Younger Samina will need to have been good,” I noticed.

“She was,” mentioned Uzma. “However you understand, mehndi is not only a flower. Some are very summary.”

“How do your clients resolve on a design?” i ask.

“We now have a binder,” Naima gave me a binder and I turned to a web page of cross-hatch basket knitting bands that had been engraved on the fragile knuckles. “They will select from right here, however now lots of people have the photographs they need on their telephones.”

“It is what you need!” Uzma provides.

Samina magnifies a picture of a purple henna design beginning on the pinky toe, and dealing its manner as much as the large toe, like a ribbon, earlier than curling on the high of the foot, then tucking beneath the heel .

“Maroon mehndi is conventional for weddings,” she explains.

“I heard you disguise your boyfriend’s title someplace within the design,” I say.

“It is extra of an Indian custom,” corrects Uzma, “nevertheless it’s additionally turning into well-liked in Pakistan.”

“Have you ever named your groom someplace Samina?” i ask.

“Within the heart of my hand.” A small smile lifts the corners of her mouth, and I think about Samina’s painted palm opening towards her new husband—Osman-Embedded together with his lifeline…

What is going to occur subsequent?

Naima is wanting to usher in a nail artist, who can be a wonderful addition to Foster Avenue, because the sandalwood season stretches annually…

The place do you see this enterprise in three years?” i ask.

“I would wish to develop to a second location,” she replies, “perhaps towards Avenue J or to Cortelleau.”

And would not it’s nice for these of us whose brows and boring fingers attain for a contact of henna magic and refreshing manicures? Insha-Allah,

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