Mocha Henna at G Adventures Ignite the Night Event

G Adventures
Is it possible to experience a high off of your career?

Last month, award-winning Canadian tour operator, G Adventures (formerly known as GAP Adventures) and Planeterra Foundation held a 25th Anniversary and fundraising event at Toronto's historic Distillery District.  It was one of the most exhilarating events put together by PR and marketing agency, Faulhaber Communications (Applaud!). They contacted Mocha Henna this summer for professional henna as an attraction to their night market themed event and we were more than happy to deliver on their requests! 

The entire event was powered by theatrical attractions lined up all around the Fermenting Cellar. Mocha Henna was proud to be one of the prominent booths providing beautiful henna designs for the attendees.

One of the big highlights of the event was G Adventures Founder, Bruce Poon-Tip's announcement on partnering with National Geographic.  Lots of familiar faces were there-- Pay Chen, CP24's Melissa Grelo, and star of the night, Kardinal Offishall kickin' it as MC!

Dressed in traditional Indian attire, our team did a fabulous job beautifying everyone with exquisite henna designs. The attendees appreciated Mocha Henna's standards of strictly using certified organic henna which remains to be the safest form of henna body art.

We were so glad to be apart of this amazing event! Fill yourself in with some pictures below.

Our comfortable setup. Photo credits Risha Khatri

Our beautiful henna plates equipped with all the essentials for each of our
 talented henna artists. Photo Credit Risha Khatri
Sometimes my knee can substitute for a pillow!
Risha hard at work making beautiful henna designs!
A full house of anxiously waiting ladies for their turn.

Super gorgeous Manaal hennaing away!
Bruce Poon, Gary Knell, Kardinal Offishall

Mocha Henna at the GAP, Yorkdale Mall, Toronto

Last week Mocha Henna was invited to the GAP at Yorkdale Mall for a fun night of shopping and henna. It was an enjoyable experience collaborating! The line up was in full effect and I had never seen so many smiling faces hanging out with their henna'ed hands at one place!  So many of you mentioned that you had seen my work on Instagram which was so uplifting :)

As soon as set up was complete, interested onlookers including the staff at the GAP were crowding, asking questions and hovering over my side to watch.  The unfortunate thing about being a henna artist, is that it's near impossible to socialize because we're working non-stop to make you look beautiful!  Between the time I started and finished, I rarely got a chance to look up. The event was from 6-8pm but due to the anticipation we started early and continued until closing hours of the store!

Thank you to everyone who showed up to the fun filled event! The henna complimented the GAP style very well!  For those of you who missed out, here are pictures of the GAP styled by event sponsored by  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get additional photos as it was difficult to capture every moment under a busy schedule.  My biggest regret was not being able to take photos of the lovely staff at the GAP as well as my team who helped out tremendously! 

To see what I'm up to or where I'll be at next, follow me on Instagram and Facebook.


GAP event sign.

Me, just minutes before the rush began.

Yes, I was colour coordinating with the GAP colours.

Fresh Mocha Henna cones! Many were picking up and smelling the sweet scent of the henna cones.  I was up late the night before, handmixing, rolling and preparing the cones.

Hand selfie and table set up.

Getting my henna flow on!

The attraction!

The sparkle of the gems made the hands all that more prettier!

The infamous floral strip!

Pretty little mandala and a gap outfit in hand :)

Glitter dust and a peak of my henna ;)

A lovely symmetrical henna design.

A cool wavy design across the hand.

Happy with their henna but even happier to take this group shot!

I was so happy to see others just as interested and in love with henna as much as me. 

Waiting impatiently!

A view from outside the store.

You can't see me because of the crowd, but I promise I was there!

I remember doing a lot of small mandalas with the 'V' pattern.

Complimenting her tattoos with a lil' henna.

One of the last ones of the evening. An elegant floral strip.

The Rise of Henna Art in Toronto

There's more to henna folks!  The rise of trendy henna art has been flourishing the city of Toronto lately. I've been getting a ton of requests for non-traditional 'henna tattoo' style designs. It has completely grown on me and become my new obsession!

A typical non-traditional design resembles a piece of accessory or jewelry on the body rather than the the orthodox Indian or Arabic henna design. If you're not familiar with the different types of henna styles, google some images, you'll get an idea.

The inspiration comes from current fashions like bold cuffs, midi rings, chain rings, mandalas, gladiator sandals etc. These current trends intertwined with henna art, brings another layer of beauty and exotic accent to your painted nails or pretty sandals.

 I like to call this a Romanesque Style Henna Design with that whole gladiator look going on.

This resembles a western style motif.

Midi rings, chains and charms galore!

Creating fashion forward henna designs personally gives me the opportunity to take on the challenge of staying current and expanding additional motifs to my collection.

I've been doing henna for well over 15 years and every time an onlooker catches a glimpse of  a new henna design on me, I get stopped. The biggest way to make an impact to your overall look is with a cool henna piece.  You'll be attracting so much attention and compliments. It's eye catching and completely unexpected!

I have a feeling, if the weather gets any better,  the requests will multiply and who knows, I might have to open a full on henna salon with employees and all. Hmmmmmm...

Why I Became a Henna Artist

I'm often asked, why I chose to become a professional henna artist.

As I'm trying to concentrate on the next motif in a bridal, the questions and compliments start rolling in.  How did you learn?  Where do you get the ideas from?  You're so fast!  You make it look so easy!  I wish I could get henna done from you all the time! And the list goes on.  I figured answering these questions on a blog post would help feed your curiosity before I start hennaing you too ;)

Born and raised in multicultural Toronto, I was exposed to a lot of different backgrounds including my own Pakistani roots.  Henna was one of those things that was a must have on Eids and weddings in my family.  I grew up having my grandmother apply fistfuls of henna on my sisters and I. Occasionally, my mother would surprise us with a henna cone from her friends who would have recently returned from Pakistan.  It was this exposure that really ignited my interest in henna.

Henna cones were a luxury back in the day and there were no professional henna artists that I knew of.  My way of learning was by using my own creativity and from practicing, doodling and sketching. I already enjoyed drawing so learning to henna was like pouring milk in the tea.

I still remember the first bridal henna I did on my sister-in-law!  Till today she reminds me how I spent half a day doing her mehndi. (I'm so sorry Ammara!) Needless to say, it was a slow learning curve and although I had the passion, I certainly did not have the expertise. Learning to henna is like learning any other skill or trade, you really have to know your stuff inside out.  I eventually started experimenting with henna powders, agonising myself with rolling cones and honestly practising on anyone who would let me!  A few good friends of mine actually encouraged me to take this on as a side business.  They paid me for doing their bridal henna.  For the quality of workmanship, I sometimes wonder if it was even worth their money!

I didn't think that providing henna as a service would pick up until I did a little bit of research online only to find out that there was a world of henna out there!  There were so many professionals in the field of henna from all over the world. I got in touch with some amazing henna gurus in Toronto like Khadijah from Henna Sooq and Dimple Shah--I'm almost sure they remember me ;)  From them I quickly learnt that even though you could be someone blessed with the talent to draw a paisley or flower, you still have room to grow not only as a henna artist but as an entrepreneur too.  I pushed myself to learn as much as I could in order to master the art of henna in all its varieties and styles.  In 2007, I launched Mocha Henna, where I serve as the leading henna artist and owner.

The fresh smell of henna, the feeling of a sharp henna cone in my hand or a new bridal booking, it all gets me so excited. Becoming a henna artist for me was consequential not intentional. I really enjoy working with henna and sharing it with everyone in my path.  Who was it that said, enjoy what you do and you'll never work a day in your life!

{Okay, so this was my first blog EVER!  Let me know how I did in the comments below and feel free to suggest what sort or topics you'd like me to share with you :) }