June 22, 2024

Sep. 26—It all started when 23-year-old Paul Kang decided to follow the advice of his grandmother and fly out to Punjab in India in hopes of finding a bride.

Having been raised in Yuba City, Kang was acutely aware of the cultural misconceptions associated with arranged-style marriages. Many of his friends discouraged him from pursuing it, warning him that this choice would lead to both unhappiness and financial ruin.

But Kang’s reality couldn’t be farther from these nay-saying predictions. During his time in India, he met several potential suitors, some with high-tier educations and lucrative careers, but the moment he laid eyes on Raj Kang, he knew she was the one and vice versa.

“We just immediately clicked,” said Kang. “I knew I was going to either marry her, or fly back home alone.”

Coming from a protective and religious upbringing, Raj Kang hadn’t ventured farther than 20 miles or so outside her village. In eighth grade, she developed a passion for skin and beauty care and started learning how to thread eyebrows. She began practicing her trade at home and in local shops and soon preferred this over a career in fashion, which her family had encouraged her to pursue.

“It just energized me,” said Kang. “Helping make people feel good about themselves and seeing what I could do for them with my own hands was very fulfilling for me.”

She was just 22 when she met Paul Kang for the first time. He was one of the only suitors she had encountered. She said she felt an immediate sense of connection to him having previously pictured their meeting in a prophetic-like dream.

“I always knew my husband was not yet in India and that he would be coming to me from afar,” said Raj Kang.

Once the two agreed to become engaged, wedding plans took about 20 days. Afterwards, Paul Kang flew back to the United States and began the petitioning process for his new wife. Eleven long months later, Kang was once again airborne, this time returning to bring his bride back to America.

“Can you imagine leaving your family and coming into a new family so far from home? That did not stop her from setting her goals,” said Kang.

Kang immediately helped enroll his wife into English classes and started teaching her to drive. Meanwhile, Raj Kang’s family discouraged her from trying to pursue cosmetology or beauty practices in America, believing that it would be unprofitable.

“There were many licenses and certificates to get that I didn’t have here,” said Raj Kang. “It kind of seemed hopeless and I tried other jobs for awhile but it wasn’t my passion.”

During this time, Paul Kang was still working as a trucking manager and was saving every last bit of money he could to help he and his wife become independent. When she told him of her dream to open a local eyebrow shop, he again started helping to look for classes and certification programs.

“As a husband, it’s my duty to make sure all my wife’s dreams come true, so we started working,” said Kang. “Like any young artist, Raj faced a lot of issues and no one would open their doors for her. Long story short we struggled but we made it through. … Then we got a call that changed everything.”

Working in the trucking industry, Paul Kang regularly found himself commuting back and forth to Stockton. This didn’t stop him from making time to drive his wife to classes in Roseville and Sacramento where she became licensed in both cosmetology and permanent makeup applications.

While at school, Raj Kang would regularly post pictures of her practice work on social media. Ironically, this led to someone reporting Kang to Sutter County on suspicions of unregistered and/or unlicensed operations which led to a very productive conversation and a catalyst for the official opening of the couple’s business.

“The kindest person at the county helped us get all the paperwork in order and helped us start our business,” said Paul Kang. “We really had no idea where to start, so that motivated me even more. I wanted to grow my wife’s business and her dream.”

After threading eyebrows out of a home-based studio for three consecutive years, the Kangs opened Brows by Raj in 2018 at 1248 Franklin Ave., Suite B, in Yuba City. The couple has since reported smooth sailing with their business but recently Raj Kang has started developing the itch to teach permanent makeup application to others and provide better localized training.

“We wanted to help people that were going to struggle like us,” said Raj Kang. “Most schools you go to will teach you for a couple of days and then never answer the phone again. Or if they do, they want to charge extra for their time. I wanted to be different and help the young generation to become successful and learn things hands-on.”

This new dream led to the opening of a second shop this past December located at 1600 Starr Dr., Suite E, in Yuba City. The Kangs’ new shop is dedicated to the training, education, and application of permanent makeup practices such as microblading, microneedling, permanent eyeliner, and henna tint. Classes on eyebrow threading are also available.

Prospective students must choose one skill to learn at a time and classes last an average of two to three full days. Once students complete their classes, they are free to call or text their instructors at any time for additional questions and advice.

Brows by Raj also provides services in permanent lip color and liner, BB glow, and scalp micropigmentation. In fact, Paul Kang is now a licensed practitioner in the latter and enjoys helping people feel confident again in their own skin.

“When a skilled technician performs scalp micropigmentation, it can hide thinning areas on your scalp. It may also hide birthmarks or scars. The treatment can also give the illusion of having shaved hair or a buzz cut on people who are bald. Scalp micropigmentation is noninvasive and doesn’t require surgery or anesthesia,” explained Kang.

The couple also offer discounts to those with a diagnosed medical condition that contributes to hair loss such as alopecia or cancer.

For more information, visit www.browsbyraj.com, or contact the owners by calling 530-329-3199 or emailing browsbyraj@gmail.com.

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