“To her exclusively goes the credit of bringing out the therapeutic value of herbs from the mists of antiquity and legend, combining then with scientific research and practice. Shahnaz Husain has done so much for India’s image abroad that she truly deserves the sobriquet of India’s Beauty Ambassador.”
The Washington Post
The Shahnaz Husain story is the story of a world renowned beauty icon and one of India’s leading woman entrepreneurs. She is the pioneer of the Ayurvedic beauty care movement. In fact, she has redefined beauty and revolutionized the entire scene of cosmetic care. There is no doubt that herbal beauty care in India is fashioned after the Shahnaz Husain innovations and treatments. Shahnaz Husain has dedicated her life to crusading the cause of herbal healing, taking it to every corner of globe. Before she took on Ayurveda and made it immensely popular, it had no takers in the mainstream modern culture. Therefore, to her also goes the credit of popularising it all over the world and starting an international trend of Ayurvedic beauty care. Holding press conferences worldwide and speaking from every rostrum, Shahnaz Husain has fought for the recognition of holistic beauty care, making herbal healing and Ayurveda relevant worldwide.
Where her career is concerned, Shahnaz never planned it this way. Her life was on a very different course. She was married at the age of 15 and by the time she was 16, she had become a mother. Life seemed perfect, but she was bored with the drudgery of endless routine. Then the mental upheaval began. She was always interested in beauty and in making others beautiful, so I decided on beauty as a career. Determined to get the best training possible, she worked her way to leading beauty training institutions like Helena Rubinstein, Christine Valmy, Swarzkopf, Lancome, Arnould Taylor and Lean of Copenhagen, learning cosmetology and cosmetic therapy.
While training in London, Shahnaz came across instances of damage caused by chemical treatments. These incidents changed the course of her life and career, as she searched for a natural and safe alternative. The study of Ayurveda convinced her that it could offer the ideal answers to modern cosmetic-care. She returned to India and started her first herbal salon in the verandah of her home in New Delhi, in 1971, in a very small way. Today, she heads the largest organization of its kind in the world with a global network of franchise ventures and over 375 organic products for beauty and health care.
Translating her dreams and ideas into reality inspired Shahnaz Husain to become an entrepreneur. She innovated the concept of “herbal care and cure” and established customized beauty care, based on individual needs and problems. It was a totally unique, path-breaking concept. She rejected the existing salon treatments and devised her own. She also began to formulate her own products using plant ingredients and natural substances, based on the Ayurvedic system. Over the last four decades, her salon treatments and products have become breakthroughs in natural beauty care. Shahnaz Herbal has become known for therapeutic products and treatments for problems like acne, hyper-pigmentation, scars, premature ageing, dandruff, hair damage, hair loss, etc.
Her unique franchise system is at the core of the success of the Shahnaz Husain brand. The salons have extended on a franchise system and a personal style of growth. In fact, the fast expansion of Shahnaz Herbal salons is due to her unique franchise system. Today, the Shahnaz Herbal franchise has become a successful business model, with tremendous international goodwill and demand. During the last three decades, the Shahnaz Husain Group has acquired a tremendous global presence, having sold at prestigious international stores, as well as exclusive outlets and salons worldwide. Currently, the Shahnaz Husain Group operates in more than 100 countries, where it has franchise salons, direct product distributors and beauty institutes.
Her journey, from one herbal salon to a worldwide chain of franchise ventures, is one of unprecedented success.
It is not only her franchise-based enterprise, but also her marketing strategies that are truly unique. Even at a time, when the demand for the product is sustained through advertising, she does not rely on it. In fact, she was invited by Harvard Business School to speak on how she established an international brand without commercial advertising, becoming a Harvard Care Study and today, she is a Subject for “Emerging Markets” and part of the Harvard business history curriculum. Shahnaz has also lectured at the University of Oxford and London School of Economics, as well as at MIT.
Known for product innovation, Shahnaz Husain has evolved over 375 formulations for beauty and health care. The ingredients comprise of herb, flower and fruit extracts, essential oils and other natural substances. State-of-the-art manufacturing and R&D units, as well as long expertise have given the Shahnaz Husain Group an edge over others in the sophisticated formulation of products. Apart from the legendary Shahnaz Herbal range, she has launched some revolutionary products, including 24 Carat Gold Range, Pearl Cream and Mask, Oxygen, Neem and Saffron ranges, Diamond Collection, Plant Stem Cells, the Platinum Range and Flower Botanics, free from Parabens, Sulfates, Mineral Oil and synthetic colours. Today, under Shahnaz Husain’s leadership, the Shahnaz Husain Group is positioned as the brand leader in both the domestic and international markets in Ayurvedic beauty and health care. Thanks to her relentless efforts, people all over the world are looking at Ayurveda with enlightened eyes.
Woman empowerment and humanitarian causes have been close to her heart. She is the pioneer of professional vocational training in beauty, starting her beauty academy nearly four decades ago, at a time when only apprenticeship training was available. She also has free beauty training courses for the speech and hearing and visually impaired and has written a Beauty Book, which has been put into Braille. Shahnaz Husain contributes to Government Skill Development projects, creating a sustainable model of livelihood and training 40,000 under-privileged women in Beauty & Wellness. Toolkits were also distributed to the woman to make home-based businesses feasible.
Shahnaz Husain has received several prestigious international awards, becoming the first woman in 107 years to receive the World’s Gtreatest Entrepreneur Award from the New York based Success Magazine. She was also honoured with the Padma Shri Award and recently received the Pioneering Ayurveda Worldwide and the Ayurveda Excellence Award in the British Parliament.
Shahnaz fashioned a global network out of just a dream and succeeded beyond success. According to her, “You can make your own Destiny; you can be what you will yourself to be.” Indeed, Shahnaz Husain’s life and career are an inspiration to women to realize their dreams with faith and courage.