“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see farther.”
– J. P. Morgan
Shahnaz Hussain, the soft spoken lady with a radiant smile. She is one of the most proverbial names in the skincare and cosmetics industry. Despite of not choosing traditional advertising, Shahnaz Herbals today has over 400 franchise clinics in 138 countries. She has been continuously working and coming up with new remedies to defy skin problems. Little did she know that a small private clinic set up on the veranda of her house would one day make her the ruler of the cosmetic world.
Shahnaz Hussain comes from a Royal Muslim family and was engaged at the tender age of 14. Although she belonged to a traditional family, she did her schooling from an Irish Convent. She got married at the age of 15 and the very next year gave birth to a daughter. As years went by she realized she was meant to be something beyond a housewife and wished to have her own identity.
After acknowledging her priorities, she started studying beauty at the age of 17 and moved to Paris, London, Germany and New York over a period of 10 years in search of knowledge. She moved to Iran with her husband and decided to take up a job to be financially independent. Since she could not speak Persian, finding a job wasn’t a cake walk. Finally she grabbed an opening as a Beauty Editor of Iran Tribune. She was asked to give only 500 words a week but she gave them 10,000 words a week! She kept typing the whole day till her fingertips bled and the only way to stop the pain was to tie bandages. Ultimately, she earned enough for a specialization course in Cosmetology and Trichology.
While pursuing studies, she noticed that most of the skin problems were due to the harmful effects of chemical cosmetics. Therefore she decided to come back to India and produce cosmetics from Natural Herbs and started an herbal clinic at a very personal level by borrowing Rs. 35,000 from her father. In her clinic, she followed techniques like Diagnosis and Clinical analysis of the skin and scalp and operated at the prescriptive level. At the same time she ensured holding press releases, seminars and writing beauty columns.
The products that were used for clinical treatment were formulated by Shahnaz herself, after a lot of R&D. Based on the problem, clients were given advice on diet and nutrition and treatment according to their individual needs. She believes her products have become famous because of word of mouth advertising and positive client feedback.
Shahnaz started encouraging housewives to become self-independent and open salons in their own homes. She trained them and offered them Shahnaz Herbal Franchise. She also made it sure that she attended all the openings, where she talked to people personally about their skin problems. Soon she was attending more than one opening per day and was even travelling to different cities on the same day.
Entering the international market was the biggest challenge for Shahnaz. She was given a counter in the perfume section at London, after she participated in the Festival of India in London. Surprisingly she sold the consignment in just 3 days which broke the store’s sales records which helped her to garner a permanent counter. When she wished to do the same in the Festival in Paris, she was informed that in order to get a permanent counter she had to achieve a particular target. But to her dismay, Shahnaz realized they were falling short on the number of products required to meet the target. She thought of an incredible idea and asked her secretary in India to get four Kashmiri carpets to Paris which she offered as a gift to those who made purchases worth 20,000 francs and above. Her tactic worked and she was given a permanent counter at Galeries Lafayette, world’s most prestigious cosmetic store.
Shahnaz Hussain was featured in “Woman of the decade” by the Indian Government in a television series for the United Nations established consortium. She has won the Udyog Award twice for Export Excellence and also World’s Greatest Woman Entrepreneur award from Success magazine of the U.S.A. Shahnaz has proudly represented India on several International occasions. She believes it is important for one to dream and have a burning desire to fulfil that dream. An entrepreneur is one who has total faith and confidence in one’s own abilities and will go to any extent to turn his dream into reality with creativity and innovation.