Physical strain after a long day in the henna booth

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PeaceHeather
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Physical strain after a long day in the henna booth

 Hi guys, long time no visit!

So I've been operating as a Real Live Henna Artist for money and everything for five years now.  What started as a glorified hobby is... well, still kind of a glorified hobby, but I'm making more money this year than ever, doing more festivals in addition to the weekly farmer's market, and I've got repeat customers every week now, which I didn't have last year, so yay!

But here's the thing.  I think my booth layout needs a little help.  I read somewhere in these forums, years ago, about "levels" and having a high seat, a mid-height seat, and a low stool so you could work on clients comfortably.  But I think I'm doing something wrong.  My "high seat" right now is just a regular chair because that's all I've been able to afford up to now.  I usually sit on a low wooden footstool (we won't discuss how my butt feels after six hours), and for feet and ankles I'll have the client rest their foot on the stool while I sit on the floor.  (I have a bamboo rug for the purpose.)

There are designs I still don't feel comfortable doing or even offering, even after all this time, because I can't figure out how to place myself and the client in such a way that I can get the henna on without ruining the design.  Vertical surfaces like a calf or an upper arm are the worst.  If a client asks me to do both the palm and back of the hand, I'm not sure how to go about it.  (I've been having them rest their fingertips on my carton of baby wipes to keep the palm off the table.)  Wraparound designs like bracelets and armbands make me nervous - in fact I've refused to do armbands because I have NO idea how to make those work.

Anyone out there have any suggestions?  I don't want to dump a bunch of money into getting a cot or something and then find out it's a bad idea.

Many many thanks to you all!

Heather

www.facebook.com/HennaLafayette

www.littlefiddlybits.blogspot.com

ACWN
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Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
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Re: Physical strain after a long day in the henna booth

I'm normally from the hair side of things, but since you're asking for ideas... I figured I would offer *something* to give you a starting place...

 

I found this - [link] - and figured it would work well for leg and foot designs, says its 4.5 ft high. You can put a pillow on the seats to make things more comfortable for the clients and probably use a normal chair for yourself. And then you can use a foot stool or another chair for wrap around designs on the legs so they wont get smushed.

 

For armband designs on the upper arms, you could have them sit in a chair and rest their forearms on a TV tray (got one, black plastic, from Walmart for $20 - [link] - site says $60, but I know I didnt pay that much in store) with a pillow under their forearm. This would keep their upper arm touching nothing. For bracelets, you could use the same tray but put two little boxes down for them to rest their arm on so the wrist doesnt touch once the pattern is done.

 

If you invest in a sturdy enough TV tray (the one I bought I also use to groom my 30 lbs dog on - it wobbles when she moves, but it holds her weight), you could have the clients sit on that folding step stool then put their feet on the tray so you can do their legs on a level surface. Then you can work under, over and around them!

 

 

Just some ideas that popped into my head. Hope these give you some places to start. :)

PeaceHeather
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Re: Physical strain after a long day in the henna booth

 Many thanks for the suggestions!  I'll take a look at the links as soon as I can - but I'm getting ready for an all-night gig today and trying to stay off the computer.  Cheers!

Jen
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Last seen: 3 years 11 months ago
Joined: 2010-04-26 06:47
Re: Physical strain after a long day in the henna booth

 Ikea has a VERY inexpensive tall chair called the Franklin, if I remember right. It folds up smaller than a director's chair, its cheaper, and its lighter. Just make sure you pick up the one that is bar height!

I have that, then a padded stool that is the height of an average chair. This shouldn't have a back though because that will get in the way of positioning sometimes. Use this as a seat for hands and such. Have a lap desk for the client to put their hands/arms on over their lap. For feet used a foot stool as a seat and have the client sit in the high ikea chair, put their foot on your padded, chair height stool. Walmart has both an affordable folding footstool and foldable, padded chair-height stool!

If you want to learn a lot about positioning, spend some time observing in a tattoo shop. That's where I learned!

As for designs you're not comfortable with and those darned wrap arounds... You just have to do it! Dive in. Find yourself some volunteer skin and get practice!

PeaceHeather
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Re: Physical strain after a long day in the henna booth

 This is what I remembered reading about all those years ago!

What I do right now is a watered-down, low-budget version:  I have a normal folding chair and a table for hands and forearms.  I sit on a wooden footstool (which is fine for the three hours of farmer's market, not so much for the six hours or more of street festivals and fundraising events).  For feet they rest their foot on the stool and I sit on my snazzy bamboo rug.

I just need to shop around and see whether a director's stool and/or a cot are in my budget.  Things have been going so well for me this year that the answer is probably going to be "yes", which is great!

Cheers, and thanks for the advice.

Heather

juliem
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Last seen: 3 years 8 months ago
Joined: 2010-08-18 15:50
Re: Physical strain after a long day in the henna booth

I've been doing henna festivals for 9 years.  I sit in a folding camp chair ($15 at Walmart), because I find that it is the most comfortable for me.  I NEVER get out of my chair to do henna on anybody, and we do about 30 shows a year.  I have the customer sit in a folding metal chair ($15 at Walmart) because these last forever and will hold a lot of weight.  I have a pillow on my lap that I have customers put their hands/arms/feet on.  I wash it after every show.  This has been working for me, my husband, and my daughter for YEARS.  This way, I can sit the entire time, and be comfortable in my chair with the fan blowing on me!

Hennacat
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Joined: 2010-04-25 15:31
Re: Physical strain after a long day in the henna booth

This is such a good question - I always take a table - one of those slightly taller tables to put the clients hands on, and a lower seat to do legs and ankles. This year I am planning on buying a bar stool high directors chair, as these are now more readily available in the UK.

For wrap arounds the wrists - you can also look at setting the clients arm in an 'arm wrestling' position and working around the wrist like that. A lot of people can't stay still that way however, so it doesn't always work.

 

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