"Opportunities come to those who are looking for them..."

November 15, 2021

Jyldyz Tashtabekova, the owner of the beauty salon in Kyzyl-Adyr village of Talas province, Kyrgyzstan / Photo: UNDP.

Entrepreneurship can be a hard and lonely journey if you let it. Like with many things in life, however, it is all about perspective and one's personal outlook along the way. This is what we learned from Jyldyz Tashtabekova, the proud owner of the Beauty Salon located in Kyzyl-Adyr village of Talas province in Kyrgyzstan.

At the age of 31, this young woman is one of the few in her region who was courageous enough to start her business despite the post-pandemic crises. Already equipped with experience in this field, she has so far been running her business smoothly.

Over the last few years before opening her own salon, Jyldyz has been working in one of the beauty salons in Russia. There she had learned to make a professional manicure and mastered her skills in permanent make-up.

“In Russia, I have got much experience and learned how to outreach clients. While trying to learn all the details in the field of beauty, I have got a dream to open my own salon one day. Working abroad and being a labor migrant is not fun. So, I always waited the day I return home. When all this mess with the pandemic started, lots of my friends and I lost our jobs and returned to Kyrgyzstan. In the village I reside, there were few beauty salons and I have quickly found a job. However, a month later due to the COVID-19 crisis it was broke as well. Left without income, I start thinking about opening my own business seriously and began to look for grant opportunities as I had not enough savings for a start-up” - she says.

Like a coincidence, Jyldyz’s husband had his friend visiting them those days and told about reading an announcement in LSG about UNDP’s grant programme for young entrepreneurs.

“Next morning, I went to our LSG to get more information. You won’t believe it, but it was the last day before the deadline. I asked my husband to help me with the kids and put all my efforts to complete my application. This is how my business journey started.” – says Jyldyz.

As Jyldyz already had been working in the field of beauty, she had some basic equipment. The grant money of 113000 KGS ($1330) was used to purchase necessary furniture, equipment for hairdressing and tools for nail services.

“Now my salon provides hair treatment, all types of hairdressing, manicure, pedicure, gel polish, nail extension, makeup and eyebrow shaping. We can also select and create an evening or wedding look” – she explains.

According to Jyldyz, one of the most difficult tasks in opening her business was searching for a suitable space. She wanted the place to be light and convenient for the clients. At the same it was supposed to be affordable as it was her personal contribution to start-up the business.

It is not easy being a business owner, taking care of one's family and taking care of a business at the same time. Jyldyz told us that her way of keeping things balanced in her life is to always be grateful, for everything, the good and the bad.

"Every morning when I wake up, I feel grateful to have been given the opportunity to see another day, to see my kids growing and live with my family in my homeland. From that point forward, I feel grateful for everything that goes on in my day no matter how big or small, good or bad.”

Financial hardship played a big role in the young life of Jyldyz, and it was the financial hardships that taught her the beauty of hard work and perseverance. Most of all Jyldyz is proud that she is providing 3 other women with a job. As a former labor migrant, she knows how it feels to be unemployed and work in a foreign country. Jyldyz has two kids: her son is seven and he has just started his first year at school and her daughter is just eleven months old. Starting her entrepreneurship and earning money allows Jyldyz to hire a nanny for her younger one, which means providing one more woman with a job.

“Now I have two masters of manicure and a hairdresser working with me. They have been cooperating with me from the very beginning. I am very lucky with my team. We try our best to create cozy atmosphere, maintain cleanliness and order. The grant allowed us to get the most necessary furniture and accessories when income improves and we’ll have free money, we’ll spend it on other additional things for our salon”.

Jyldyz says that, of course, there were difficulties and doubts in starting a business, but because of the support of her family and the trust of her husband, she coped with everything and all her efforts paid off. Looking forward, Jyldyz plans to extend her beauty salon to a wedding salon, where women can also rent or buy wedding dresses.

“Opportunities come to those who are looking for them. Be open to what comes you, be passionate! Nothing comes easy, and nothing is handed to you, but no matter what the obstacles are, believe in yourself. I think for any job, you need to find out what it is you are passionate about and then be the best you can be. Seek and ask for the support of your family and friends. Work hard and stay humble—and just remember the most successful people work hard!” - she says.

The opening of a beauty salon for Jyldyz became possible under the UNDP project “Implementing small grants to support the initiatives of young people at risk and community members in the development of their businesses, entrepreneurship and startups to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 crisis”. The project helped to implement 18 other youth startups in rural areas of Kyrgyzstan for more than 3 million KGS ($36 thousand).