Editor's Guest Column

The beauty industry is moving at a jet speed to adapt to the next normal. As the pandemic has changed the face of the beauty industry, more and more people have become cautious of adapting the social distancing norm and this is surely impacting the way beauty industry functions. Hygiene and organic products have seen an unprecedented growth and adoption.

However, despite the challenges, there are more women entrepreneurs willing to enter the industry. And for them, Shahnaz Husain, has words of wisdom. A brand in herself, Shahnaz has been crowned with several recognitions and awards. She has changed the way people perceived Ayurvedic beauty secrets across the world and has built her company Shahnaz Husain Group as a respectable entity for any beauty need.

I questioned her on various aspects of the beauty industry, her secrete sauce and her suggestions for the budding beauty entrepreneurs. Let’s hear from her.

How is the beauty industry preparing for the next normal the world is entering into?

COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of normal life – the way we eat, personal hygiene, the way we work, our leisure activities, and so on.

As far as the beauty industry is concerned, especially Salons, expectations on personal and space hygiene are now heightened and will remain so for a while. Practices such as washing hands for 20 seconds, use of PPE kits, regular use of sanitizers, use of gloves, sanitizing the salon equipments, staggered appointments to clients have become a new norm and has become ingrained in the customer psyche going forward.

Nowadays, customers are wary to visit physical stores to buy cosmetics; hence beauty brands are increasingly gearing up their digital marketing strategy to optimize their online sales. Company’s website and market places like Amazon, Nykaa and other are important platforms for selling products. As Salons and Spas involve physical proximity between the client and the beauty expert, the more that can be done online, the better.

We have also noticed that the customer have become more discerning in their choice of Salons and now filter their choices basis the perceived hygiene standards that are maintained in these beauty parlours.

Overall, this heightened hygiene awareness and protocols will not only help minimize the virus threat, but also help keep other viruses and bacteria at bay.

Organic is not new in the beauty world. There are many startups emerging in this segment. What would be your piece of advice to them to ensure organic products and organic growth?

Organics is the only way forward for the beauty industry in the near and foreseeable future. In fact, the Indian Beauty industry is expected to grow at a fast clip of 18.40 percent in the 2019-2024 period according to ResearchAndMarkets.com and the organic beauty industry is likely to garner a lion’s share of this pie.

The growing demand for natural products due to the spread of awareness, increased disposable incomes and consumer consciousness about using chemical-free products is also a major trigger for this trend. However, to stand out in the crowd, it is important for a company, especially a startup to get certified by a well-known and globally trusted certification body. This will make the organization more trustworthy in the eyes of the end user.

Having a passionate digital marketing team with a well thought out marketing strategy is important for startups for their enterprise to grow organically. Many e-Commerce portals and market places are at the forefront of the market for organic, natural or chemical-free brands.

As I always tell young entrepreneurs, first and foremost it is important to have a dream, because that is the starting point, with a burning desire to make the dream come true.

Starting your own venture in the organic beauty space in contemporary times is exciting and resplendent with plethora of opportunities.

As we are talking about business start-up, what advice would you give to the young women entrepreneurs about being more organized and informed about finance management?

Since the days when I became the first woman in 107 years to receive the ‘World’s Greatest Entrepreneur Award’ from the New York based Success Magazine to recent times when I became a subject at Harvard University, I always gave utmost importance to financial management. Financial management is an important skill of every small business owner especially for startup founders.

Every decision that an owner makes has a financial implication on the company, and he/she has to make these decisions within the total context of the company’s operations and which is financially prudent. A good financial management system enables you to realize the important big picture of the company and also achieve the daily financial objectives.

The young woman entrepreneurs will love to know your success mantra, so that they can also use it for their business growth.

To the woman who wants to be an entrepreneur, my advice would be “Believe in yourself and your own abilities.” It is important to have faith in one’s own abilities. Keep learning. Have the courage to say, “I don’t know this, but I can learn it.” Be sure to take charge of yourself and your health. Have regular medical check-ups, learn about nutrition, and take daily exercise.

There is nothing like daily exercise for staying youthful and active. You may start in a small way, but should always think “BIG.” I believe that in seizing opportunities lies the secret of success, because the opportunity may never come again. With entrepreneurship, the sky is the limit, provided one has relentless determination to excel and the ability for sheer hard-work.

You have been an inspiration for beauty industry the world over since you stepped into the business in 1979. What has been your driving force behind this success?

Right from my early days when I was a teenage bride and mother, I emerged from a sheltered and secure life, to venture into a totally different world of entrepreneurship. I started with a dream to bring India on the world map as a leader in herbal beauty ‘care and cure’. In fact, I introduced our 5,000-year old ancient civilization of Ayurveda in a jar to the entire world.

I had a burning desire to create something new and to establish my ideas and innovations. I wanted to be someone who made a difference. This was my guiding force.