By  on December 29, 2010

New Delhi — When President Barack Obama visited India recently, his discussions with entrepreneurs and business leaders included a beautician and business woman who had been at his Summit of Entrepreneurs in Washington earlier in the year. Twice in the same year Shahnaz Husain — who is a leader in the $100 million premium herbal beauty market in India — was reminded that focusing on global markets can pay off. Husain declined to break out numbers, but industry sources speculate that her company generates about one-sixth of the $100 million herbal market. Other players in the market segment include Lotus Herbal; Forest Essentials, which was acquired by the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., and Biotique.

One of the earliest beauticians to set the tone for herbal beauty products in the Seventies, Husain is living proof of the approach she championed at the U.S. summit — building a brand, without advertising, into a network consisting of retail, salons and franchises. It has been a 25-year task of promoting brand India and ayurveda worldwide. Her distinctive dress style (long flowing caftans), striking hair (worn thick and open down her back with orange henna) and heavy black-kohled eyes all match her imperious manner. She told WWD:“We have nearly 300 franchise ventures in India, which include salons, spa and beauty training institutes. We have more than 800 shop-in-shops, as well as over 10,000 salon outlets, that is in our own salons, franchise salons and other salons. We also have about 22,000 other points of purchase. We are present in 500 towns in India and in the adjoining countries of Nepal and Bhutan and many other countries including the U.S., U.K., Canada, etc.”

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