Contributory Mar, 08 2010

In the business of beauty

I believe it is important to have a dream, because that is the starting point. Then go ahead and realise the magic of your dreams through focused determination, a crusader’s zeal and hard work. I never believed in destiny. I believe you can make your ow

By Shahnaz Husain
Founder and Chairperson
In the business of beauty

One of the most important factors that is responsible for our growth into a worldwide chain is that, I chose Ayurvedic cure and care. During my training in London in cosmetic chemistry, I came across instances of damages caused by chemical ingredients and I was determined to find a natural alternative. The study of Ayurveda convinced me that it could provide the ideal alternative to the demands of beauty care. Therefore, when the ‘back to nature’ movement began, I was already there and established. Today, ours is the largest organisation of its kind in the world, with an integrated system of chain of clinics, shops, beauty training institutes and spas, as well as highly specialised ranges of Ayurvedic formulations. We have also become known for our Ayurvedic treatments for specific skin and hair problems.

I started my first herbal clinic in a small way in 1971, on the verandah of my own home. To implement the idea of total beauty, with an emphasis on the good health of the skin and hair, I established customised beauty care, with a personalised style, based on individual needs and problems. It was a totally unique and path-breaking concept. I devised my own clinical treatments and formulated my own products. These have become breakthroughs in Ayurvedic beauty cure and care. I propagated the concept of holistic beauty care, which has caught on worldwide.

The most unique factor that has contributed to the success of my enterprise is that “Shahnaz Husain” is not a faceless brand name or corporate. The image that is foremost in the minds of people is that of a realperson, who is herself trained in cosmetology and cosmetic chemistry. Every label has become a symbol, not only of my own knowledge of herbal beauty care, but of my vision and philosophy. My name has become the brand and I am, myself, the brand ambassador.

I entered the highly competitive international market in 1980, without commercial advertising or fancy packaging. I participated in the Festival of India in London and was given a counter in the Perfumery Section at Selfridges. In the face of fierce competition, I stuck to my solo “India & Ayurveda” image. To stand up alone and sell India’s ancient civilisation in a jar, without financial resources and advertising, was not easy. The entire consignment sold out in three days, breaking the store’s existing cosmetic sales records. From there, I moved on to Harrods in London, Galeries Lafayette in Paris, the Seibu chain in Japan, La Rinascente in Milan and El Certe Inglis in Spain. In addition, very recently, the Group experienced the increasing demand for Indian Ayurvedic products at Cosmexpo in Cairo and Cosmoprof in Bologna, Italy.

Our salons and other ventures have all extended on a unique franchise system. Today, the Shahnaz Husain franchise has become a successful business model, with tremendous international goodwill and demand. During the last three decades, we have acquired a commanding global presence, with exclusive outlets and franchise ventures worldwide.

I reached an important milestone in my career when I became the first woman in 107 years to receive the World’s Greatest Woman Entrepreneur award for Success, the U.S. Business Magazine. In 2006, I received the prestigious Padma Shri Award from the President of India. Very recently, I was honoured with the Leonardo da Vinci Diamond Award and World Medal of Freedom in Washington DC, the Star Award for Quality Excellence in the Diamond category in Geneva and the prestigious Jewel Award in London for promoting India and Ayurveda. I also received the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Enterprise Asia, Malaysia and the GR8! Women Achievers Award.

Today, the Shahnaz Husain Group is positioned as the brand leader in both the domestic and international markets in Ayurvedic beauty care. It is also ideally positioned in all market segments in India. In fact, after developing as the brand leader in the premium segment, today the brand has a commanding presence in all market segments, on the strength of brand identity. 

I have dedicated my life to spreading the Indian herbal heritage and I believe that India can lead the international cosmetic market by way of Ayurvedic beauty care in the 21st century.

Related: Franchising a business formula for wealth sharing

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