Hiral and I are fellow wolverines from Michigan..though Hiral’s birth country is India. I met her about 6 years ago when I was visiting Michigan. She still saw herself as an inexperienced henna artist. Fast-forward a few years and Hiral had rocketed to new heights in her henna skills. She is a model for engaged effort to master an art form and the results were amazingly apparent. Her path to super-pro included attendance at too many henna conferences to count (I exaggerate only slightly), constant learning and practice, and a trip to India to study with a mehndi master. She even packed up and moved out West where she could find more mentors, as well as a lot more clients. I think we can all learn from Hiral and her concerted effort to get from point A to point B, and beyond. I really admire her courage to go to India to study with a master as well as relocate for her art.
I’ve kept in touch with Hiral over the year through social media but we never really talked about the specifics of what she was up to. I was really thrilled that she agreed to let me interview her so I could learn more about her journey and share it all with you. I hope you enjoy the conversation at least half as much as I did!
Hiral Shah has loved mehndi all her life. She spent the first decade of her life getting henna done every chance possible by her Mom, Bani. At the age of 11, she started taking matters, or mehndi cones rather, in her own hands and doodling over herself. This hobby has stayed with her over the years until she began her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan. While she was studying for her B.S. in Psychology, she founded Hiral Henna, and the rest is history.
Hiral had a knack for mehndi so initially, she did not pursue any formal training for this skill. Once she decided to become a professional henna artist though, she began attending henna conferences in the U.S. and Canada since 2009. At these conferences, she learned how to do different styles of Indian, Arabic, Moroccan, Polynesian, festival, contemporary, and tribal henna. In early 2012, she also trained with Harin Dalal, and as a result, she specializes in dulha-dulhan and Radha-Krishna designs. She also taught at Henna Gathering in 2010, at the Spring Fling in 2011 and 2013, and at the Windy City Mehndi Meetup in 2012.