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Shahnaz Husain belongs to a royal Muslim family which migrated from Samarkhand to India as part of the ravaging muslim tribes and later held high positions in the princely kingdoms of Bhopal and Hyderabad before India's independence. Shahnaz received her schooling in an Irish convent and because of the influence of her father, Chief Justice N.U. Beg, she developed a love for poetry and English Literature. She thus had the advantage of growing up in a traditional family and receiving a modern education. She was married at the age of 15 and was a mother by the next year.
When her husband was posted in Teheran, Iran, she developed an interest in beauty treatments and decided to study cosmetology. To support the expenses of the training financially, she wrote articles for the Iran Tribune on various topics under different names. In the course of her studies, she learnt of the harmful effects of chemicals on the human body.
Consequently, she turned her attention to Ayurveda (Refer Exhibit III), which she believed was the ideal alternative to chemical cosmetics, which not only harmed the human system but also led to the deterioration of the environment in the long run. After leaving Teheran, she trained 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.
Shahnaz Husain, Chief Executive Officer of Shahnaz Herbals, is a prominent Indian female entrepreneur best known for her herbal cosmetics, particularly skin care products. Currently, the Shahnaz Husain Group has over 400 franchise clinics across the world covering over 138 countries. Her group's products are sold in leading global stores including Blooming Dales (New York), Galleries Lafayette (Paris), Seibu (Japan), Harrods and Selfridges (London), and La Rinaeccente (Milan). She has been awarded the Padma Shri, a civilian award by the Government of India in 2006.
The Shahnaz Husain Group has three business models: Shop-in-shop, where the products are sold by trained beauty advisors, Retail (both organized and through wholesalers), and through and to Beauty Parlors.
The company has a recently created a Fairness product called FairOne which is now the 3rd most popular brand in India today.