The kind of work that raises a brow
It’s probably not one of those occupations you think much about, yet this practitioner can change the lives of her clients.
After a long and challenging corporate career, Jane Simpson desperately needed a change. One day, while coming home from the airport after a work-related trip, a thought spontaneously popped into her head: “You should be doing tattooing of eyebrows.” She quit her job, opened Jane Simpson Brows, and has never looked back. That was 25 years ago.
To say the business has been a success would be a gross understatement. Earlier this year, Jane Simpson Brows was awarded Best Small Business in Australia by the accounting software giant, Xero.
“It was a boon to me,” says Jane about the award. “You did it - well done!”
That sort of acknowledgement, however, is not what Jane finds gratifying about her job; it’s all about how she makes her customers feel.
“The one thing I learnt very quickly is that whilst I make them look better, it’s all about the confidence; about making them feel better, especially after having lost the brows…some have been in an accident or been badly burnt or anything like that. It’s about getting your confidence back,” says Jane.
Her customers include people whose eyebrows have fallen out or been affected by age, alopecia, illness or some other reason.
“And, closest to my heart, I do a lot of people who are undergoing or have undergone chemo,” she says.
Jane has a very good reputation and customers often come to her via referral from friends, oncologists, and nurses. She’s professional, yet very personable and has a sharp sense of humour. People instinctively trust her, which is a good thing, given that her job requires her to be physically close to a client and make a noticeable change to how they look.
Her clients sometimes get so comfortable with her that they tend to overshare.
Many of the women who have had breast cancer and a mastectomy will get transplants later on. And when they do…
“Well, they don’t want to keep that quiet, they want to show that sh*t off!” laughs Jane, explaining that some will lift their tops and yell “look at these!” or “feel these!” then grab her hand and make her touch them. It’s not offensive, though - it’s joyous.
Clients also get chatty and remove all their filters.
“I could bring down businesses, I could bring down marriages,” says Jane. “It’s phenomenal what they tell me.”
She says this in jest. Jane has high principles and integrity. In fact, one thing that really angers her is practitioners who are unqualified or unscrupulous.
“I spend probably 30% of my time fixing up bad jobs now.”
Sometimes, the damage is irreversible. Her advice to anyone seeking eyebrow work is to do lots of research.
“Ask as many questions as you can think of, and absolutely check their qualifications - even ask to see them,” she says. “I’m government accredited. There are only three of us in NSW who are government accredited.”
Jane has lived in Turramurra for 26 years.
“We love it. We love that you’re so close to the city but you live in the country. It’s a beautiful community. We’ve got 1500 square metres here with beautiful big green trees. It’s fantastic!
“[The business] just makes me happy, and this community makes me happy. I have the most sensational clients, and we just love living here.”