Shahnaz Husain: the trailblazer of the ayurvedic beauty world
The cult of beauty is as old as time itself, when mankind felt the desire to improve the appearance. At the time, there were no cosmetics or fairness creams. The only thing they had was the knowledge of nature, compiled in the Ayurveda. Several herbs and flora were used to make Ayurvedic beauty remedies that really worked. They not only beautified the skin, but also protected the body and healed ailments. Today, in the modern era, there is a wide gamut of herbal cosmetics that are manufactured and used for daily beauty care. The best thing about herbal cosmetics is that they are made with plant products and natural substances, which do not have any side effects on the human body; instead they supply the body with the necessary nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc. Ayurveda today has occupied an important place in beauty care. Not only do the natural ingredients play a pivotal role in internal health and well-being, but also in external beauty care. With herbal beauty treatments, the body, mind and soul experiences revitalization, which reflects on the external appearance. Ayurveda can clearly bring about healthy skin and hair, glowing with internal good health and a mind that is relaxed and free from stress. Ayurveda is a holistic system that cares for the total well-being of the body, helping to achieve clear glowing skin and healthy hair, as well as total beauty from top to toe. The best part is that the herbs remove all the toxic wastes from the body, making one feel fresh and revitalized, with a sense of mental calm and tranquillity.
Our editorial team spoke to Shahnaz Husain – Founder, Chairperson & Managing Director of the Shahnaz Husain Group about her early days, organization, professional journey and life in general. Here are the edited excerpts.
- How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
My idea was to provide herbal beauty, based on Ayurveda and the principle of “care and cure.” At that time, such a concept did not exist. I knew that the only way I could translate my ideas was by starting my own herbal salon and thus implement my ideas of herbal and customized beauty care. My innovations and creativity needed expression and the right environment to grow and flourish. I had the burning desire to create something and to establish my ideas and innovations. I wanted to be someone who made a difference. This was my guiding inspiration.
- Throw some light on your business and its offerings.
My enterprise is the pioneer and leader of the Ayurvedic beauty care movement. It has received unprecedented international acclaim. Today, it is the largest organization of its kind in the world, with a global network of franchise ventures and organic formulations for beauty and health care. We have combined plant power with the latest scientific techniques, formulating over 380 organic Ayurvedic products. The Shahnaz Husain franchise is at the core of the success of the Shahnaz Husain brand, offering strong branding and an established business model, with phenomenal international goodwill. We also offer professional beauty training, in keeping with international standards. The Shahnaz Husain International Beauty Academy has several franchise branches in India and abroad. The Group is also dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility, in terms of free beauty training for the speech, hearing and visually impaired. It is also involved in government projects for Skill Development, having trained and certified over 40,000 under-privileged women in the Beauty and Wellness Sector. With a successful track record of over four decades, my organization has received several awards for Quality Excellence.
- How is it different from other companies?
Unlike other companies, “Shahnaz Husain” is not a faceless brand name. It is internationally known that there is a real person behind the name, who is herself trained in cosmetology and cosmetic therapy. The brand is known for its unique product innovations. We have an integrated system of chain of franchise salons worldwide and ranges of Ayurvedic products for beauty care, which rely on each other. The Shahnaz Husain repertoire of products has received international acclaim for its line of therapeutic formulations for the treatment of specific problems. Many of the products for acne, pigmentation, hair loss, etc. have no equivalents in the market. Time-tested plant ingredients have been combined with the latest techniques, to formulate products which answer precise and individual needs. To ensure high quality and purity of ingredients, the group has its own herb and flower farm near Delhi and two R&D units.
- How do you achieve work-life balance?
For me, listening to music, the soft melodies of ghazals, in subdued lighting, is most renewing. Painting and writing poetry are also great restorers of body, mind and soul as they help to put me back in touch with myself. Painting and poetry are ways by which I can translate my ideas, emotions and creativity.
- Did you have a mentor to guide you through your professional journey?
I would say that my father was my mentor as he inspired me to follow my dreams.
- What is the road map of your organization?
We plan to continue concentrated international branding, strengthening and widening our global chain of franchise salons, beauty training academies and retail outlets. We will be taking Ayurveda and Brand India to more and more countries, increasing our presence in major countries like USA, U.K. Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, South East Asia, New Zealand, Russia and CIS countries. We will continue to launch new and revolutionary products. We also plan to supply the Chemoline products for skin and hair care to top cancer hospitals all over the world, free of charge.
- A brief description of the major awards won by your company.
Our products have received Quality Excellence Awards in London, New York, Paris and Geneva. I recently received an award in London for my Chemoline range and 2 awards in the British Parliament for pioneering Ayurveda worldwide. Other Awards include the World’s Greatest Woman Entrepreneur Award from the New York based Success magazine, for the first time in 107 years, as well as the Padma Shri Award.
- How does a day in your life look like?
I am involved in each and every aspect of my enterprise. My day includes discussions with different departments, from production, international expansion, public relations, to packaging and promotions. There are often foreign buyers to meet, or media interviews. I also keep some time aside for answering mails and important letters. Very often I have to attend various functions, like felicitations, award ceremonies or some important occasion.
- What do you like to do the most when you are not executing your business operation?
I love going out for coffee with family and friends. An excellent de-stress formula is Decafe Starbucks Frappacino Lite Coffee with a hot Blueberry Muffin. I also love writing poetry, painting and listening to music.
- Describe the most memorable incident of your professional life.
The most memorable incident of my professional life was when I spoke at Harvard Business School on how I established an international brand name without commercial advertisements, becoming a Case Study and now a Subject for “Emerging Markets.”
- One word that describes you the best.
- If you had one piece of advice to rising entrepreneurs just starting out, what would it be?
To obtain professional / vocational qualifications in your field
- If you could never work again, would you and why?
I always wanted to make a difference and will never stop working. My work is the sole purpose of my existence.
- How would you like people to remember you and your company?
I want to be remembered as someone who put India on the world beauty map.
- If you had to choose one thing, what do you think you’re the best in the world at?
Making my dreams come true!
- If you could describe yourself in a few words what would they be?
Beauty is not just my career; it is the sole purpose of my existence.