When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March 2020, Winnie Chan was working for an insurance company.
Although having to work at home in a time of lockdown meant that the accident and sickness specialist does not have to put on make-up, dress up for work or meet clients face to face, the notion of canceling her usual beauty and self-care routines did not cross her mind.
Instead, the Canadian Filipino woman asked herself: what can I do to address my self-care needs in these challenging times?
“It is imperative to take care of ourselves: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically,” Chan said.
If there is one thing that she learned about her full-time job and the pandemic, she said that taking care of oneself is essential and finding something that you are passionate about and doing it as a career, a business or a hobby can transform a person.
A self-confessed “kikay”, a Filipino slang word for someone interested in make-up, fashion, accessories, or beauty products, Chan opened her home-based business Kikay Beauty, a beauty bar and space to pursue her passion in beauty and advanced skincare in December 2020.
Going to big beauty salons and getting its services are tricky, but the Coquitlam, B.C.-based Chan realized early on that these unprecedented times come with unprecedented opportunities as well.
“I started with addressing my dilemma in eyelash extensions. I know that putting it on is not a do-it-yourself activity – it has to be done professionally,” Chan shared.
Chan enrolled in a virtual class for lash extension certification and in a year, she eventually completed the aesthetician certification as well.
“I have not stopped upgrading my skills and learning new treatments or procedures. Time flies when you are enjoying what you do,” Chan shared.
As the new lash technician and aesthetician upgraded her skills and certifications, she slowly invested in equipment, tools, and supplies.
“Because of the COVID-19 restrictions and limitations, it made sense to open up a beauty bar at home,” Chan said.
“In this difficult time, starting a business is a gamble. I don’t have much room to splurge so I focused on what is essential in sustaining a small business,” she added.
Chan is hopeful that her new “passion” business will keep her busy providing services and beauty treatments – one “kikay” at a time.
“I believe that if one is not happy with what he or she sees in the mirror, that unhappiness will eventually affect one's emotional and mental state, so it doesn’t hurt if you pay attention and take care of your beautiful face first,” Chan concluded.