Epifania: Describe your childhood. How did it shape you?
Jira: I would doll up my friends and family. I loved to play dress up and do makeup on the people around me—every weekend and weekday after school. I would even do makeup on strangers on the street!
I loved to shop to for beautiful accessories. I would follow all the new makeup and fashion trends. I never missed one. At University, I finished my bachelor’s degree in advertising and worked at a few production houses. One day, the assigned makeup artist didn’t show up. This was my chance! I filled in and my colleagues went wild. So supportive! I realized right there that my career path had changed forever.
Epifania: From there, what happened? How did you transition?
Jira: I went right into being a full time makeup artist at a different production house. I got to be more creative and made decisions for the company. I took control, got in touch with every client, and soon brides came to me. I made sure they looked their best. We did makeup, hair and wardrobe, and then went off to photography and video. I had many makeup artists working under me and then life was not exciting enough (insert a little sarcasm here). I can’t stop doing things, I had opened 2 businesses at the same time.
Editor’s Note: It should be noted that both Jira’s parents had their own businesses. Her dad owned a jewelry shop in Thailand and her mom had her own furniture shop.
After working for more than five years at the most famous studio in Thailand, I felt like I was at the top of a makeup artist’s career. I asked myself, “Is this all?” I wanted to see more. I traveled to Hong Kong, Taiwan and France to get makeup and hair classes, follow all the fashion industries. This was my first time falling in love with my freedom when I traveled. Freedom challenged me to be somewhere new. And then another question came, “If I could succeed in business and start from zero, where would I go?” I then moved to San Francisco.
Epifania: After your move to San Francisco, what happened? What were some of the challenges you had to face?
Jira: My first year in the Bay Area was all about shopping, dressing up everyone, enjoying the culture and meeting new friends. Soon enough, I realized that I had spent $40,000 within one year; I had $800 left in the bank and no job. OMG, what should I do? I don’t have money? I couldn’t ask for money from my parents, that’s how I am. I ended up working at a restaurant, bartending in order to make money and continue my dream. I cried everyday but never gave up. I learned equally from successes and failures. I thought I wanted to go back home but I never did because I didn’t finish my goal yet.
I had thought to get my master’s degree but I did not have money. How could I stay in this country and have a job to take care of myself? Things changed me, I decided to get my cosmetology license.
Epifania: Why start your own business? Why not just work for another makeup artists?
Jira: I was born to be a leader. My parents and my brother are business owners. I’m very creative and love building things from the ground. I’m a workaholic because I’m in love with what I do.
Epifania: You have trained all around the world? Why the Bay Area?
Jira: Why not? People from all over the world gravitate towards San Francisco. It’s our dream city. I love the Golden Gate Bridge; I remember seeing the golden gate postcard when I was in my country. I love ocean, the beach, the weather, the sky, fresh air, victorian houses and I love the Bay Area people who are very laid back.
Epifania: What excited you about the makeup line? What inspired you?
Jira: Well, I have 3 companies (Wowpretty Makeup and Hair Agency, Jira Couture Salon and Jira Couture Products) and have done more than 5,000 weddings. My clients inspired me to make my own cosmetics; people asked me everyday “where can I get good cosmetics?” I knew very well what quality cosmetics were (and weren’t) through my experience, following trade shows and studying the ingredients. I did the homework.
And then, an idea…
“If I have good client base why don’t I make my own products?”
Epifania: Then what happened? How did you go from an idea to a product?
Jira: I knew what the clients wanted and needed. Why send my clients to another cosmetic line more expensive than mine? So, seven years ago I created my own cosmetics line, Jira Couture. The name Jira Couture is derived from the meaning for rainbow or naturally occurring colors from the pure elements of the Earth and in the highest fashion. Finally my dream happened. It took me three years, but I found a manufacturer in NY who could make cosmetics for me. My first product was luxury lip gloss. It sold! Through the years, I learned a few things. I often paid a pretty penny for it.
Epifania: How do you overcome struggles for the business?
Jira: There is an old Japanese saying, “fall down seven times, get up eight.” It means never give up. You can’t rush the business to be success overnight. It takes time to be a success. You have to have the right product, the right market and the right time.
Epifania: What are some things you wish someone told you before starting a business?
Jira: I knew it would be an uphill battle; but, recently, I realized the battle is never over. There is always some new challenge to overcome. The bar keeps getting higher. Of course, when I was beginning, I thought there would be a goal to meet; and, when I met it, I would be happy. But, happiness is relative; there is never enough time! I have realized the key to a successful life is not to be happy, but to be happier. This is what I bring to my clients with my products.
Epifania: What are three words to describe your business?
Jira: Love never ends. I love all my clients and people around me; I love what I do. I want to make sure that they have good products in their hands, my products. Jira Couture products will be in the hands of people/clients that I love.
With love, from San Francisco,
Every woman needs to have one lip-gloss, right? Jira Couture product point is skin care treatment base, every product we have has skin care ingredients such as minerals that are paraben free, pure natural organic ingredients providing vitamins, antioxidants and sun protection with rejuvenating skin hypoallergenic properties and most importantly multi-purpose use. At a nice price, approved by the FDA.