MUM-OF-TWO Connie Tu from Bradford has given up her supermarket day job to become a jet-setting henna artist.

The 36-year-old has just returned from California where she was the only UK expert at the largest international henna conference in the world showcasing her skills to hundreds of enthusiasts.

There are plans to fly out to Canada to another major body art convention but, back home in Bradford, Ms Tu says the scary decision to drop her job filling shelves has definitely paid off.

It all started at an Eid celebration more than three years ago when she got inspired to find out more about Mehndi and she rushed home to buy a henna cone to try her hand.

“I started practising on myself and posted pictures on social media. I got lots of ‘likes’ and it wasn’t long before friends let me have a go on them and then the bookings started and it became difficult to juggle it all with my day job at the supermarket. It was a very scary decision but I made the right choice,” she said.

She has just celebrated her first year as a henna professional after teaching herself the centuries-old art from the internet and has now set up her own business with friend Rozeena Rahman.

As well as being hired for weddings, pregnancy celebrations and festivals, which included this year’s Bingley Music Live, the pair has just started workshops at Bradford College as part of the Student Union’s Give It A Go scheme. And they have set up a monthly Mehndi meet to lift the lid on what was traditionally a secretive art, its earliest use was on the hair of Egyptian mummies.

Since then, the henna plant and its art has come to be used for many significant special occasions in lots of cultures including Jewish, Sikh and Muslim rites of passage.

“Modern day Mehndi is a beautiful temporary art. There’s a hugely appreciative international community of artists and enthusiasts and a lot of them are based here in Bradford,” said Ms Tu, who lives off Thornton Road in Fairweather Green.

The next Mehndi Meet will be on Sunday, November 13 at Kala Sangam in St Peter’s House next to Bradford Cathedral.

Brides, expectant mums having henna parties as an alternative to baby showers, and festival goers are just a few examples of her clients.