Meet Hennapreneur Mandy Roberge
What if someone were to tell you that you could put your child through university with income from your henna business? Would you believe it to be possible?
Mandy Roberge, the founder of Wicked Good Henna in Massachusetts, USA not only believes it’s possible, she’s making it happen - and in a way that you might not suspect - but it didn’t start that way. The artist, who started her business nearly seven years ago, recalls that initially her motivation for working with henna was to do something that she could both enjoy and do on her own terms.
“I had to make this work, and I wanted to make this work. In the early days, I would come home from a gig and be like ‘That is it! That is the thing! That’s what I want!’” And it wasn’t just for wanting, this headstrong hennapreneur knew that she simply couldn’t work for anyone else. “Working for myself has been a must. I had no choice. I’ve always done things my own way,” she says, “I was never going to sit in an office. I was never going to sit in a cubicle.”
As the demand for her henna services grew, Mandy found that the requirements for her time began to impact her work-life harmony, particularly in the early years. She recounts that festival season, in particular, was a challenge. “One of my summers when I had 7,000 jobs and henna was picking up, I sacrificed my kids, and at the end of the summer I said, ‘I will never do that again,’” she recounts, “I was never home. I was working all day long. I was gigging all night long. I would get home every night at 10 o’clock at night, and I felt like crap.”
That’s when she realized that she would have to make a change in her business - and it took a creative turn: she launched a series of library programs offering henna to the community.
Through nurturing relationships with librarians in her area, she’s successfully managed to establish herself as the go-to henna artist for library programs within her local library system and beyond. Her business model allows her to have scheduled work, paid at an hourly rate, with little opportunity for complications as her value proposition is simple: help the library to bring more people through their doors - and henna does just that.
Today, Mandy is a full-time hennapreneur who focuses primarily on serving her ideal client, the librarians who reach out to her for community enrichment programs, with the occasional festival on the side. In chatting with her, I couldn’t help but to be inspired by her excitement for her work and her dedication to being present for her family. But it was when I heard her next business milestone that it took everything in me to keep from throwing my hands in the air and let out a rally cry.
“Our kids are going to college, and most of my peers’ kids are taking out loans,” she says, “I really think I’m going to be able to pay for college. Like, I really think I’m going to actually put my kid through college.”
“That is going to be my biggest accomplishment. That’s the one I’ve got my eyes on.”
Watch the Full Interview Here
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