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Ayurvedic queen of global makeup industry
Shahnaz Hussain Group products have become a household name in over 120 countries of the world including America, Europe, Middle East and Japan. These Indian Ayurvedic herbal products are popular among beauty salons the world over, that were introduced 35 years back. Shahnaz Hussain’s herbal products Ayurvedic care and cure have assumed the status of global brand name. In India alone it has over 500 centers while over a hundred franchise clinics are working overseas. She is the first Asian woman whose skin care, hair beauty care and body lotions are on sale at London’s Selfridges, Harrods, Blooming Deals and Galleries Hefty in New York.
Her company’s turnover is $100 million or £51 million. She owns 80 percent of the Indian herbal beauty market. As many as 4 thousand workers are working in her company. Eminent British author Barbra Cartland was not only her client but her friend too. Her father had been the Chief Justice of India. Her ancestors had come from Afghanistan. She belonged to a conservative Muslim family. She was married at the age of 15 and became mother a year after. She has one brother and one sister. She regards her daughter her best friend. Shahnaz had got training at different beauty institutes of London, New York and Germany. In view of the injurious effects of chemicals used in beauty products, on her return to India she decided to introduce her own beauty skin care products based on herbs. In 1971, she borrowed $1000 from her father and started her first beauty salon in her home compound. Her first product was a cream made of sandal wood and honey. And ever since she never looked back and now she has 350 herbal products in the market for scarabs’ creams, hair and skin cares, winkles, dandruff and all health and beauty care products. Chemists working in her company prepare a product after thorough research and experiments on herbs. She says that plants and herbs have no side effects. She opened her first Ayurvedic clinic at London’s Herlay Street where doctors use Shahnaz Hussain Herbal products for pre and post surgery.
She has been decorated with the biggest Indian civil award Padma Shri. She also won Arch of Europe International Gold award of Spain, Quality of Excellence award in Geneva, Golden American Award in New York, Outstanding Woman of the Year award in London, Woman of the Year, Woman of the Millennium award and Leonardo Davnici Diamond awards. The Asian team talked to her at her flat situated at Portman Squire.
The Asians: What was your first job?
Shahnaz: My birth place is Hyderabad. I passed in first division at the age of 14 from Allahabad Convent School. My first job was with Tehran Tribune newspaper for which I was paid Rs 5 thousand.
The Asians: Which step you think the best for promoting your company on commercial ground.
Shahnaz: I consider my Shahnaz Hussain franchise clinics in India and overseas as the best business strategy under which I sell my products.
The Asians: What is your best investment?
Shahnaz: I consider Beauty School as my best investment.
The Asians: Any step that you regretted?
Shahnaz: No. I never felt any regret over my any action.
The Asians: Please tell us about your charity work?
Shahnaz: I have opened a beauty institute by the name Shamoti in 1992 for deaf and dumb girls to enable them to make a living at their own. I feel happy to see these girls successfully completing the courses.
The Asians: What do you prefer most, launching your new products, poetry or painting?
Shahnaz: I love to make new products while painting and poetry come after it. I think I could write better than I talk.
The Asians: What are your extravaganzas abroad?
Shahnaz: Books and beauty products so that I could make better products than those. Perfection is my weakness for which I remain always ready to pay any price.
The Asians: Which of your product is the most popular?
Shahnaz: Shah Life which is one of my early products and the company receives 60% of the turnover from its sale.
The Asians: Who are your clients?
Shahnaz: Indira Gandhi, Princess Diana, Barbara Cartland, Elizabeth Taylor, Goldie Hawn and Michael
Jackson and many other celebrities have been using my products.
The Asians: You attended President Obama’s presidential summit in April this year. How was this experience?
Shahnaz: I never expected that I would be invited. However, I asked him to gear up his efforts to bring peace to the world for which he had also received Nobel Prize.
The Asians: You are the first Asian woman whose beauty products are being sold at all big stores of the world. Where does the credit lie?
Shahnaz: Shahnaz Hussain has linked beauty with the nature. I think I have made Ayurvedic beauty cares in accordance with the present day demand by using modern techniques. The desire to return to the origin has popularized my products. Although I had to compete with the big brands of the time but people liked them because I presented the extract of the five thousand years of civilization in a jar before the world.
The Asians: You got training in various institutes of London. Please tell us about it.
Shahnaz: During my training in London I witnessed the side effects of chemical treatment and thought of treatment through natural methods free of all harmful effects. Since herbs have been in use in our homes for treatment I also decided to make use of this method of treatment and created new products from Ayurvedic system by applying modern techniques. I faced many challenges during the course but it has been my belief if one ventures with courage he can change these challenges into opportunities.
The Asians: You have set up your beauty school in London. How did this idea come?
Shahnaz: I have already 13 franchises in London and a large number of students from here go to India for training for Shahnaz Huissain Beauty Training and Beauty Diploma. Besides, there was a demand for opening of a school for a long time. Therefore I opened first beauty school under a franchise agreement at North Ford. Our trained teachers impart training at the school.
The Asians: You have a long chain of beauty salons all over the world. How do you manage all of them?
Shahnaz: Good question indeed. I opened the first franchise saloon in 1978 in Kolkatta and as it became popular I opened many franchise saloons in different areas. We never used commercial advertising for promotion of my products; still we have franchise saloons all over the world. Besides our skin and hair care products and skin therapy products are also very popular. I take care that highly qualified staff and expert beauty therapists and staff equipped with the knowledge of our products and techniques run the franchise. Managers of these saloons are in direct contact with me due to which I have firsthand knowledge about their position. We have very strict procedure in granting franchise under which the applicant has to qualify all our post graduate courses and diplomas. Our staff holds off and on meetings with the franchises to update them about our new products and methods and provide solution to the problems if they have any. We have a formal team of professionals which supervises and monitors production of all items, packing, franchise, and beauty salon and business promotion.
The Asians: How do you spare time for your personal life?
Shahnaz: Surely my day schedule is very busy. But I also give full time to personal life and join my friends and acquaintances in their moments of joy and sorrow.
The Asians: Do you use any product other than your company?
Shahnaz: No. I only use products of my own company.
The Asians: Would you like to share something with women?
Shahnaz: I would ask them not to be overwhelmed by bitterness of life and instead of confining themselves they should come out and feel the beauty and colour of life. Girls should not marry without acquiring qualifications. They should learn art and skill so that they should not be dependent on others in the time of need. Women should also pay attention to themselves along with their homes as looking beautiful is the basic right of every woman.