Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Early Riders: Part I

Master The Knowledge & Unravel The Dogma

Shahnaz Husain
Founder: Shanaz Husain Herbals

Shahnaz Husain is probably the first successful woman entrepreneur in India.  She popularized herbal treatments for beauty and health problems. Her company, Shahnaz Husain Herbals, was the largest of its kind in the world and had a strong presence in over 100 countries, from the US to Asia. By 2002, the Shahnaz Husain Group had over 650 salons around the world, employing about 4200 people. The net worth of the Group was $100 million.

She was born into a royal Muslim family and received education in a convent. A western education and traditional family background moulded her into a well rounded personality.


After marriage, Shahnaz got interested in cosmetology. While into training, she realized that chemical cosmetics had a harmful effect on human body. She turned her attention towards Ayurveda, which uses natural extracts for beauty and health problems. Shahnaz did training extensively in cosmetic therapy for 10 years in some of the leading institutes of London, Paris, New York and Copenhagen. On her return to India in 1977 she set up her own salon at her house in Delhi with an initial investment of Rs 35000. Instead of offering chemical treatments like other salons, Shahnaz Husain's salon offered Ayurvedic treatments. Shahnaz's natural products quickly became successful.

After her success in India, Shahnaz started exploring the prospects of her beauty products outside India. She was disturbed by the fact that India was not represented in any of the international beauty forums. Determined to change the situation, she represented India for the first time in the CIDESCO* beauty congress, where she was appointed President for the day's proceedings. She used this opportunity to focus the world's attention on India and ayurveda.


The Perspective:
Shahnaz Husain pioneered the concept of ayurvedic cosmetics. While studying, she discovered the harmful effects of chemical cosmetics [a product]. Shahnaz found an obvious gap in the market place, where products which had harmful side effects were being used, without the availability of the alternative. She discovered the alternative. She unraveled the concept of cosmetics and focused on the alternative source - the Ayurveda.  

Shahnaz Husain did not stop her training after discovering the gap. Instead she went on to get extensive training in the same domain and master the knowledge about cosmetic therapy. This gave her the complete command on her subject matter, so that she could introduce the best effective ayurvedic cosmetics for beauty. The knowledge gave Shahnaz the confidence in her thinking [nature of her product]. Sshe started her first salon from her home in Delhi. Starting a salon was no different, but the product/service [herbal treatments] offered were different. The value addition was insurmountable - no harmful side effects on human body.


Shahnaz Husain took a firm foothold in the market of herbal cosmetics since she was the first entrant into that market segment. She not only had the market leadership in India but her products also attracted attention in other parts of the globe. Her products were carried by some of the most prestigious stores in New York, London, Japan and Middle East.



* World’s most renowned Beauty Therapy Organization

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