Michelle Tran, 28
Co-founder, Meraki Beauty Bar
Life Story: Michelle Tran’s first “job” was serving frozen yogurt at the Yogen Früz franchise her father owned. “I was seven years old, and I was too short–my dad would put down pineapple cans so I could stand on top and serve people,” she recalls.
Tran’s parents were both refugees from Vietnam, and she attributes much of her and her younger sister, Jenny’s, work ethic to observing their father, who was also an optical technician, and her mother, who sewed. “I watched my parents work really, really hard,” she says. “They taught me that family is everything.” In high school, Tran dipped her toes into the beauty business by making some cash doing nails for other girls before prom. She and Jenny opened Meraki Beauty Bar, a one-stop beauty shop, in Burnaby in 2016.
Bottom Line: Meraki Beauty Bar, which has more than 300 five-star reviews, has won Burnaby Now’s Best Lash Care and Best Brow Bar awards. The business now has a team of 21 aestheticians, and Tran has started her own education program that focuses on post-graduation guidance. Five out of every six Meraki students continue to pursue makeup.
Closed during COVID-19, Meraki is keeping afloat by selling delivery products. Looking further ahead, Tran’s goal is to expand into Southeast Asia. “I would love to have some sort of program where people would get Meraki Beauty membership cards and go to locations all over the world,” she says.