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Disabled veteran finds peace through new henna business

Posted at 3:15 PM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 18:35:00-04

GREAT FALLS – A new business that focuses on spreading love through art is opening in Great Falls.

Melissa Kiser said she was first captivated by the art of henna while on vacation.

She’s not only an artist, but a disabled veteran. Melissa served for nearly a decade in the Army’s Third Infantry Division and then worked for the VA for five years following her service.

“The VA is all I really knew, so that’s where I went, that’s where I fit in,” she said. “And I knew I needed more, but I didn’t know what that was.”

Then, Henna Love was born.

Since then, she’s been drawing henna art off and on for the past five years at events like the Farmers’ Market and the Downtown Night Market.

“I was searching for something more; something where I could give back to the community.”

She said she named the business after her love for henna, which has become a spiritual and therapeutic experience.

“Because of my disability, I have reactive airway disease and PTSD, so I was sick a lot. And it was hard to commit to that employer,” she said. “So I know I needed to do something for myself.”

She hopes her clients also gain something from their time together.

“You have to find your center and be in a loving and giving mode. And then your art displays that – your henna becomes that and that’s the experience you give to the client.”

Melissa creates her own henna powder, saying that shipping henna product isn’t ideal since the powder is perishable. She also uses organic essential oils to create her unique blend.

Over the years, she’s done bridal parties, drawn designs on expecting mothers and henna crowns for clients who have lost their hair.

She added her new office gives her clients more privacy and allows her to create a setting that promotes finding inner peace.

“There has to be a calmness about you. It’s healing,” she said.

Henna Love is located in the Columbus Center at 1601 2nd Ave. N. #344. Melissa will begin taking appointments Monday, June 3.

To schedule an appointment, call 406-781-2823, or email HennaLove406@gmail.com.

Reporting by Keeley Van Middendorp for MTN News