By Cynthia Vera
Growing up in Slovakia to a supportive family and an “amazing” childhood, Mirka Pittnerova knew she wanted more to turn her dreams into reality. She wanted more to make her parents proud and follow her passions.
When she was 21, she moved to the UK with no university degree and couldn’t speak English but she prevailed, working as an au-pair and started to dip her feet into the fashion and beauty industry. Here, she realised nothing could stop her from achieving success. Now, the international beautician and lash competition winner runs her own company Beauty by Mirka, whilst being a devoted full time mother to her twins.
You said you grew up in Slovakia and moved here in your early twenties. How did you adjust to the change in environment and a different culture and way of life? What were your original expectations of England before you moved here?
When I moved to the UK, I was 21 and I couldn’t speak English properly. The family was so lovely and sent me to school but I have mostly learnt from the TV and subtitles.
The country itself didn’t feel much different from mine and I have found English people to be very friendly. The only one thing that has changed for me was the responsibility. In Slovakia, I didn’t have to do anything and in the UK, I have the responsibility for 2 young boys and driving a car. I thought it would be easy as every 21 year old would say but, very soon I have realised how serious my job is.
How do you think your childhood experiences have shaped you into the person you are today?
My childhood was amazing. My mum and dad are the most beautiful and caring people anyone could wish for. My dad always taught us to be independent and not to rely on anyone. He is a very successful man and he wanted my sister and I to be like him. He sent me to the same university he went to but I did not enjoy it and left after the first year. I told him I will look after myself and I wanted to work. So that’s how I came to the UK. I wanted to show him that I can be independent and make money even without a university degree; and that is how my whole journey began. I came to the UK and worked as an au-pair for a year and straight after, I was confident in English, I had found a job in the fashion industry. But I always wanted more. I was always thinking about my parents and wanted to make them proud.
What was the driving force for you to start your career as a beautician, and how has it evolved since starting your own business and accredited beauty courses?
In 2008, I got together with my partner Ben and he opened a small beauty company. He wanted to do lashes and spray tans only for all his friends. I laughed at the beginning as it was very unusual for a guy to do lashes and tans. Little did I know that 2 years later, I would be joining him. Yes, he was so successful I had to come and join him, so he actually got me into the beauty industry. The business was very successful and we were so busy, we decided to open a beauty salon in our home town in Windsor. I wanted more and knew my journey had only just started. In 2016, we decided to open a beauty academy called Beauty by Mirka. Now, I am teaching all around the world and passing on my knowledge to our students.
“Nothing is impossible, right?”
How has your career in the beauty industry helped you express your creative abilities?
Traveling around and teaching our students is so rewarding. I am so passionate about my job. I am regularly doing new courses in my profession as I want to give them the newest information. There is always something new people can learn. I have done around 10 courses in lashes and I will do at least another 10!
“Never stop learning” is one of my favourite words. I have added myself into different FaceBook groups for lash artists from all around the world to learn more and to help someone who might need it. I saw someone who shared a competition for lash artists and I wanted to challenge myself, so I entered the competition. It was my first ever international lash competition and I won 3rd place. I have really enjoyed every minute of it. All the creativity I have used and I was very proud when I won. I wanted to become a judge and travel the world. Nothing is impossible, right?
I contacted the organiser of the competition and asked her how I can become a judge. She told me I have to do as many competitions as possible and win 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. And that was good enough for me to challenge myself again. I entered another international lash competition and I won 3 prizes; 2nd place, a special award from one of the judges, and best lash artist of 2021. My work has been featured in a few magazines now and one of the judges has done an interview with me about my work to be featured in her magazine as she was very impressed. I feel unstoppable now and I will enter as many competitions as I can to achieve my dreams.
Beauty and confidence are often interlinked, so how do you measure beauty and confidence? What does that look like for you or your clients?
We have many different students from all around the world and different age groups but what I love is to listen to every student’s stories to find out why they want to get into the beauty industry or why they want to do that particular training with us. Some students are already in the beauty industry and are doing amazingly well, so they just want to add another treatment on their list for their clients. Others have never been in the beauty industry and they feel it is time for a change and want to try what they have always been passionate about: beauty.
These types of students have low confidence and sometimes are scared to start something new as they think they are not good enough. Our aim is to support and help them as much as we can as we believe every student is different and learn differently. Each of our courses are bespoke and fit clients’ needs.
What path do you see your career taking in the future? Are there any new revenues you want to explore?
I would definitely want to become an international lash judge and speaker for conferences all around the world. I have my own product line now and the product is sold worldwide thanks to all our students and followers. I would love to have training academies all around the world.
You are a mother of twins who are in school now, did your experience as an au-pair prepare you for parenthood and how do you find the perfect balance between work and personal life as a business woman?
I always wanted to have kids but like everyone says “It’s not easy” and they are right, especially if you are running your own business. I try to work only while my twins are at school, so I always schedule my work for the morning making sure I will be the one to pick them up from school.
“When you are trying to grow your business, your work never stops.”
My partner is home most of the afternoons and that’s great help too, but when you are trying to grow your business, your work never stops. I feel there is no balance at all. Most of the time, I write down how my day is going to look and then something unexpected can come, so most of the days I am awake till late hours and have a very early start to catch up with everything. It is hard but if you want to achieve your dreams, you have to do it.
What advice would you give to young women who are trying to leave behind their 9-5 jobs in pursuit of their dreams and goals like you did?
My advice to the young woman who is trying to quit her 9-5 job is do it! Don’t quit your job without having a 100% guarantee for the other job position, but do something about it to move forward and reach your dreams. If you find something you are truly passionate about, go for it! Start doing your research about it and see what is required for you to do your dream job. Pick up the phone and ask questions. Find the best company for you. You need to feel the connection. Ask questions about help during and after the training. Don’t wait for tomorrow.