TO some, he is just another fashionable socialite, but in the world of beauty, they call him the “Lash King”.
With close to a decade in the beauty industry, Craig Magengezha has established himself as one of the best in the business, a magician of sorts when it comes to eyelash extensions.
While the beauty spar business is usually associated with women, this particular individual has managed to crack that stereotype to earn a seat at the high table within the community.
His saloon, Craig Studio, which is located in Avondale, is a premium brand with a clientele that is laden with celebrities and socialites.
With services that include hairstyling, massages, eyebrow threading and tinting, waxing, weaving, nail treatment, facials and makeup to name just a few, the beauty parlour has gained a reputation for giving its clients the “red carpet” look.
It is not surprising that celebrities like Luminista, Pokello, Hillary Makaya, Zodzwa Mkandla, Malaika, Sofie Ndaba, KVG, Ruvheneko, Plaxedes Wenyika and Olinda, among others, have sought the services of this establishment.
Last week, The Sunday Mail Society visited Craig at his beauty hub to find out more about how he managed to earn his kingly status in this female dominated industry.
On arrival, it is not difficult to see that this is a high-end setup, exuding elegance from the reception area right up to the heart of the space. Some familiar faces can be seen lurking around, including popular makeup artiste, Deliwe Mutandiro from the Makeup Bar, which is also part of the studio.
After being made to wait for a few minutes before being directed to one of the massage rooms at the back of the saloon, this reporter managed to catch the eyelash tech in action as he put some final touches on a client.
Surprisingly, he was clad in a suit. The explanation was that he had just arrived from a business meeting and could not make his client wait while he changed, so he had just gotten right into it.
At first glance, nothing about Craig says “born and bred in Chitungwiza”, he looks more like the “born with a silver spoon in their mouth” type.
“I was born on 18 July, 1986 in Chitungwiza and this is where I spent the greater part of my life, attaining my education at Chinembiri and Tangenhamo Primary Schools,” narrated Craig.
“From primary school, I went to Zengeza 1 High School but then later transferred to Speciss College.”
During his time at school and even a few years after, he did not picture himself being in the beauty business.
“When I finished school, I went to work for my dad’s friend who had wholesale shops in Mbare, l worked as a cashier. I was 17 then and worked there for about a year. I then found another job at an engineering company based in Waterfalls. I worked there as an administrator for about three years,” he said.
As fate would have it, he befriended someone who was in the beauty industry and that is how he was introduced to the business.
“This friend of mine, Calvin, was based in Botswana and one time I visited him and he was telling me about this new technology in eyelashes which was not yet popular in Zimbabwe back then.
“He encouraged me to try it out since no one else was doing it locally. So I started learning while I was there. l then went for further training in South Africa, which is where I got my first kit,” said Craig.
While he did not take the craft seriously and did not practice even after learning the tricks of the trade, an opportunity presented itself one day as he was relaxing with friends at home.
“There is this friend of mine named Dannie, who asked if I could do her eyelashes while we were just chilling. I was not sure if I was good enough so I told her I couldn’t, but she insisted and I ended up doing a great job.
“She basically was my first client and as a well-known person, others in her circle started asking where she had done her lashes and she referred them to me. That is how I started my eyelash journey and as my reputation grew, I would sometimes have about 30 people waiting to have their lashes done. I was working from home then.”
In 2011, a year after starting the gig, his mentor came back to Zimbabwe and the two joined forces to start a beauty business that was called Calvin Craig International, with their first shop located in Milton Park.
After working together for two years, the two decided to part ways, with the separation giving birth to Craig Studio.
While the business was founded on eyelashes, it expanded into a one-stop-beauty-shop with hairstylists, nail technicians and a barber also coming to the party.
“After Calvin went to start his own thing, we moved to a new place but then the space became small as our clientele base grew. The owner of the building we rented approached me and said ‘why don’t you come and see the space that I have? I think it will do well for what you are trying to achieve’.
“That’s when we moved here about three years ago. It is hard to believe that all this started from the eyelashes because right now we are into almost everything to do with beauty.”
Craig is confident that his saloon is the best in town, something he attributes to the hard work being put in by his team.
“I know there are many other good saloons out there which have their own reputation, but what I always tell people is that at Craig Studio we have a certain standard that we have maintained over the years, which is what separates us from the rest.
“When people come here they spend a lot of money. So we make sure that we dedicate our time to them so that they get value for money without any disturbances. All the products we use are original, so I can guarantee you maximum quality in everything we do. We don’t cut corners.”