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Be your own boss: Meet Noeline Pereira 

By Mahika Panditha 

There is something extremely enticing about being your own boss – the whole concept just invites creativity and freedom, which I love. Earlier this week, we had the pleasure of having a chat with one of Sri Lanka’s amazing boss women – Noeline Pereira. If you think her name sounds familiar, that is probably because you have heard of or have been to her specialty salon “Noeline’s’” Aside from running the salon, she also handles a bit of CameraLK which we discuss later on. Noeline is the youngest of a family of four, and hopes to make both CameraLK and Noeline’s internationally known, which we are so excited to see come about. Have a look at what Noeline had to say to us here at Happinez and definitely do check out both CameraLK and Noeline’s when you can! You will not regret it. 

So, what drove you towards entrepreneurship? 

I have learned to get out of my comfort zone and try new things at a very early stage of my life; and I have understood by overcoming those challenges that if you want something bad enough and if you work hard, you will succeed, and the reward you receive is priceless. Which is what I think that has driven me to become my own boss and it has certainly opened my mind to the immense possibilities that the world has on offer. 

Talk to us about Camera LK and Noeline’s. How was the process of starting up both those businesses? 

CameraLK was a small startup that my now husband, Anushka Gunasinghe started in the year 2010. It all started with an unexpected Singapore tour in 2010 where he was asked to bring some cameras, and that laid the foundation for this business. Then he began pre-orders and continued to import cameras at a low rate and was able to promote the small business through the CameraLK Facebook page. CameraLK was officially launched in 2011 and later we were able to break the then monopoly market by dropping the prices of cameras which were priced even higher than the international price rates by three or four companies. We found a gap in the market and started catering to it, and both of us were able to take our small home business into the largest multi-branded showroom in South Asia and the largest Sony showroom in South East Asia. 

Noeline’s was a post-Covid-19 (first wave) business venture, and that is something that I am truly passionate about – fashion and beauty. From a young age, I was interested in art and I think through this venture I was able to express the love for art and fashion combined. Noeline’s was initiated by the thought of finding a “one-stop specialty salon”, all under one roof to get my monthly beauty regimen done, since I could not find a premium luxury beauty care provider, bringing international quality beauty care to Sri Lanka, so I decided to be just that. That was the beginning of Noeline’s, a specialty salon to get your monthly pampering done in a cosy, homely environment that is also luxurious and sophisticated at the same time – a true “one-stop specialty salon” that offers a diverse range of beauty services that includes nail care, nail encasements, eyelash extensions, semi-permanent makeup, and waxing. 

Being able to wake up every morning for something that you love and get paid for is such a blessing. What I love most about my job is the rewarding feeling of getting someone extraordinarily beautiful and seeing them appreciate and seeing them being confident. It is art, and it makes me proud. 

What would you say were your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

I think this was the turning point of my life, when I was younger not being selected to a certain team made me heartbroken and unhappy, and to overcome my failure I put in double the work than the students who actually made it to the team and I was able not only to be selected to that same team but also to represent the national team and be the captain of that very team, that taught me the greatest lesson of life; that the most important step we can take towards achieving a goal is taking action! When pursuing our dreams, we have to do it the old fashioned way, give in all you got –101%. Ever since, my perception of life changed, I always had and have a can-do attitude towards anything in life. 

If you could say one thing to yourself when you were launching your businesses, what would it be? Your thoughts are the strongest form of frequency, you become what you think about; a problem is an unsolvable problem only if you think it is an unsolvable problem. 

What is your motivation? 

I like challenging myself and advancing my personal level, wanting see my dreams becoming reality is what motivates me on a daily basis, and through personal experience I know “discipline” is the open door to the creative process of making nothing into something, thus I wake up every single day full of excitement to conquer the world and to unravel the opportunities that’s thrown at me by the universe. 

How do you balance your work and personal life? 

I pride myself on giving 100% of my attention to whatever that I am doing. So, I’m not the kind of person who’ll be checking Facebook or taking personal calls while I’m focusing on something at office or while I’m at work, but I make sure to apply that same thinking to my time at home or gym – giving all my focus to my family and friends… or when I’m at the gym, I give all my concentration and energy to that one thing. I never shy away from taking my personal time off, my breaks, and eight hours of sleep at night. I’ve found that it allows me to recharge well so I can give my all during the workweek without burning out. 

Any words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs? 

First thing is basic, what you believe and think is what will come true to you, and everything you believe is a choice; the more grateful you are the more you get to be grateful about. 

Secondly, if you want to stay motivated and achieve your dreams, first you have to eliminate procrastination from your life. It’s not easy. But it’s necessary. 

Thirdly the essentials – identify a potential market, find your breakthrough idea, then identify the gap, and provide something unique for your customer. Always remember “AWARENESS IS POWER”. Then set your long-term and short-term goals with milestones; always visualise the results. Don’t forget to reward yourself for achieving the set targets. 

Stress is inevitable, but learning how to cope with it is vital. Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise can have a highly positive impact on your mental health as well as physical health. Last but not least, always be willing to learn new things, read, research, watch, and finally, be grateful; it’s important to remember that it’s not a single lane of traffic but a multiple-lane highway to an endless world of opportunities. 

Lastly, always remember, happiness is a state of mind. We can all be happy if we look for the things that we’re grateful for – be determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation you may find yourself in. 

Other than running your businesses, how do you like to spend your free time? 

If I have worked super long hours, I like to watch some Netflix or go for a walk (so I won’t feel guilty for not working out) – it is my way of shutting my mind off and relaxing. 

However, I typically start my day with a morning meditation session and I work out three to four times a week, play a little badminton on weekends, and like I said, I am a seeker of knowledge, so I read a lot and watch a lot of documentaries, and that’s how I spend my spare time.

 

PHOTO © Pamod Nilru