Since it’s inception in 2012 I have been a member of Victoria’s Women of Weddings networking group. Around that time I realized that because I didn’t have a flower shop and because I was fairly unknown in the industry (other than my online presence) I would have to get out and meet other wedding vendors in the city. In business you have to really make an effort to collaborate on projects, share ideas and build relationships to expand your horizons.

Over the next few months on the blog I am going to introduce and question various members of the WOW community, starting with the founder Sharon Rai of  Sharon Rai Hair & Makeup Artistry.

MarchEvent-230(photo credit: Spark and Whimsy)

Tara McHugh – Why did you want to start WOW and what do you hope members get out of being involved?

Sharon Rai – In 2012, I founded Victoria Women of Weddings (WoW) to bring together the luxury bridal business in Victoria. I recognized that general interest networking groups didn’t provide the direct referrals on which bridal businesses rely, so I envisioned an organization that enabled business owners who specialized in serving bridal clients to meet regularly to get to know one another, showcase our services and products, learn new business skills and industry trends, share experiences and best practices, and generate referral business for one another.  As business leaders we have much to gain from working together. We can refer clients to one another. We can learn from each others experience. We can share tips and trends in the bridal industry to keep us on top of our game. We can share our expertise, and build strong collaborative relationships.

Let’s be honest- we are busy business owners, and networking takes a lot of time and energy that can take away from what seems like our more profitable tasks. Each time I attended networking groups that were open to a variety of businesses in every industry, I felt that my opportunities for genuine referrals within a quick turnaround time were very limited. I thought “How much more effective could my networking time be if I could engage directly with other businesses who catered specifically to sophisticated brides?” I wanted to establish Women of Weddings- or WoW- because I recognized that our community of bridal businesses can support one another in ways that other networking groups cannot. We can elevate the profiles of each others businesses, and our industry, when we collaborate and promote one another strategically.  We have an opportunity as a community to enhance each bride’s complete experience by utilizing local businesses that are invested in one anothers success.
Women of Weddings is Victoria’s first alliance of prestige wedding businesses. Our mission is to elevate the profile of local bridal businesses within our industry through networking and collaboration. We come to together to learn, celebrate, showcase and share our expertise.


(photo credit: Deanna McCollum Photography)

Tara – Tell us about your business Sharon Rai Hair & Makeup Artistry and what you offer.

I founded Sharon Rai Hair & Makeup Artistry in 2008 with a single goal: to provide luxury on-location and in-studio hair and makeup experiences for brides. With this single-minded focus, I have earned my reputation as Canada’s premier bridal hair & makeup artist.

At Sharon Rai Hair & Makeup Artistry we are passionate about creating a luxurious experience for all our brides and we take care of all her wedding beauty rituals from the moment she says “I will” to the moment she says “I do”.

Our top priority is to make sure that our Brides can simply enjoy the day in a relaxed, stress-free environment, while we take care of every detail – even the ones they haven’t thought of.

Our all-inclusive packages include hair design, makeup artistry and styling for any event leading up to and including the wedding day.  We also take care of the bridal party, the groom and his men. We specialize in both Western and South Asian weddings, we also offer services like girls night in parties, and all-day touch up services.

“I always tell our brides when working with us they are pampered for the day; they don’t have to worry about looking in the mirror because we’re their mirror. The photographer is always looking at the full shot; that everyone is in the image, and standing correctly.  The bridal party looks and feels just as amazing as the bride, and forget about their role on the wedding day.  That is where we step in – as the honorary bridesmaid –  we are the real life Photoshop; we’re zooming in to check if the bride, her groom and party are perfect.  We look for fly-away’s, any shiny skin, everyone’s lips are perfect, her dress is fluffed and her veil is correctly placed – we cover all the details.’

Since founding Sharon Rai Hair & Makeup Artistry and devoting myself full-time to building my business and establishing my reputation as the first choice for sophisticated Western and South Asian Brides, my team and I have earned accolades and recognition locally, regionally and nationally:

• Wedluxe Award: 2010 Best Hair & Makeup Artist Winner
• Wedding Industry Experts Awards: 2013 Winners of Best Makeup Artist & Best Hair Designer in Victoria BC
• BC Wedding Awards: 2013 Finalist for Best Wedding Hair in BC
• South Asian Wedding Awards: 2013 Finalist for Best Wedding Makeup in BC
• Vancouver Island Wedding Awards: 2013 & 2014 Winner of Best Hair Designer on Vancouver Island
• Wedding Industry Experts Award: 2014 Winner of Most Popular Hair & Makeup Service in Victoria BC
• Vancouver Island Wedding Awards: 2014 Winner of Best Hair Designer and Finalist for Best Makeup Artist on Vancouver Island
• Professional BC Wedding Awards: 2014 Winner Best Wedding Makeup in BC, Finalist for Best Wedding Hair in BC and Best South Asian Hair & Makeup in BC
• Canadian Wedding Industry Awards: 2014 Winner Best Overall Hairstylist in BC and Winner Best Overall Makeup Artist in BC
• Canadian Wedding Industry Awards: 2014 Winner Best Overall Hairstylist in Canada and Winner Best Overall Makeup Artist in Canada

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Tara –  What is one of your favourite hair or make up tips you like to share with your friends and customers?

One question we always get asked is, how do you get the perfect skin?  Your skin is your canvas, and like any good artist, the first step is always to prime the backdrop to perfection before adding colour. Skin primers and beauty balms improve the appearance of fine lines, correct for colour variations like redness or sallowness, and smooth skin texture. Nourishing tinted moisturizers and light foundations create natural-looking skin, by enhancing the skin you’re in, it will help build confidence.

A big thank you to Sharon Rai for working so hard to create a wedding community we all want to be a part of! For more information visit Sharon’s website Sharon Rai Hair & Makeup Artistry.