COMIC: A unique beauty parlour | Myanmar Times

Weekend tried a very special beauty salon, and was left speechless.


BORED of meaningless chats with hairdressers or too anxious to gossip discretely with your friend, while your nails are getting polished? Yes? Then Mudita beauty salon is made for you.

The beauticians from Mudita will not utter a word, and they will never repeat what they heard from your discussions. Promise. Why? Because they are deaf.

Nine female beauticians in their 20s are working at Mudita, near the Mary Chapman School for the Deaf in Yangon where they completed their education.

The founder of the salon, Daw Mya Kay Thee, explains that the deaf have an eye to capture the beauty in people. A regular donor to the Mary Chapman, she noticed that at one of the events organised by the institute. “These girls are very much into beauty – both for themselves and for others,” adds the elegant 70-year-old.

Daw Mya Kay Thee started to draw up plans to turn one of the institute’s former classrooms into a beauty salon. She sought permission from the headmistress of the school and started running her beauty business in August 2015.

Daw Mya Kay Thee does not make personal gains from this affair, but she is happy that the salon is making profits and is now sustainable. Until five months ago, she mainly funded the endeavour herself.

The salon has its own regular customers, most of whom are foreigners. “I have good feedback from customers. They come back because our staff is patient and focus on their work.” The fact that paying such a service is a good action helps, she suspect – but the salon is not a charity; it is a business.

(Given that they are foreigners and most probably not speaking Burmese, they might just think that they won’t miss out on the conversation anyway.)

According to Ja Seng Pan, the manager, the beauty salon welcomes 30 customers per week.

The staff was trained by professional beauticians and YouTube videos help them to catch up with new techniques. When things get quiet at the salon, our special beauticians also cut hair and polish nails of fellow students from the Mary Chapman School.

Playing it by ear

But the job isn’t a sinecure, and the endeavor is not short of challenges.

“Communicating with trainers and customers is the main barrier for us,” says Ja Seng Pan. One interpreter helps with this, but she is also a teacher at the school and cannot be at the salon 24/7.

Despite having a catalogues of prices, sometimes customer want to try new things. This has to be explained and negotiated.

Complains need to be handled eventually.

Weekend gave Mudita a try. For our review we required no safety net, no interpreters were there. It all went perfectly fine. We communicated through writing and signs. We tried hair wash and nail decoration. Most people come for face or hair wash and foot massage.

The prices are totally fair. A hair cut costs about K5000, a shampoo is K3000, a face wash is K6000, and nail art is about K2500 per hand.

Weekend was extremely satisfied by the skillful work done on my nails by Ja Seng Pan. Some could use a bit more practice. On the whole we looked better when we walked out than when we walked in.

“If we make mistakes or if our customers are not satisfied, we apologise and offer discounts,” she said through the sign language.

But dissatisfied customers are rare. Maw Tin, a regular herself, brings her 90-year-old mother to Mudita. “I love the staff’s patience here,” she says.

Mutida is the evidence that the deaf people can be employed in the beauty business, explains principal Daw Nyunt Nyunt Thein. “I am proud of it,” she adds.

Mutida is not a one-off, and certainly not the end of the story.

“I’d like us to open another salon,” says Ja Seng Pan. They cannot do it for now because there isn’t enough available staff. “But we are currently training one new staffer,” she adds enthusiastically.

“I have a plan to send two of our beauticians to Japan for a short time to study beauty techniques there,” says Daw Mya Kay Thee, “Later I plan to open a spa in the compound of the school.”

That information hasn’t fallen on deaf ears, Weekend will definitely be back to try that too.

The salon opens everyday day except Sundays from 10 am to 5pm. Saturdays have lots of customers so can book by calling the interpreter number 09253175824 and 09 968 838 844.

The address is No.2, Thantaman Street, Dagon Township, Yangon.


….. Joke Jester

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