Shahnaz Husain brings laurels by becoming a ‘Subject’ at the Harvard Curriculum
A special Report by Bipin Sharma
Akin to the glory that our sportsmen bring when they win medals at the International level, renowned Beauty and Wellness Ambassador and the Founder & CEO, Shahnaz Herbals Inc. (Beauty), Shahnaz Husain too has done the nation proud by becoming a subject at the world’s premier B-school, the Harvard Business School.
Her extraordinary business acumen coupled with her relentless passion of promoting Ayurveda in the Beauty and Wellness segment, has inspired the Harvard Business School (HBS) to include her as a ‘Subject’ in their Curriculum.
A prized video interview of Beauty Diva Shahnaz Husain (Global Pioneer of Organic Beauty care and Ayurveda) titled “Creating Emerging Markets” conducted by Harvard Professor Sunil Gupta from Boston sometime ago has been included in a ‘Question-Answer Format’ as part of the HBS Teaching Curriculum.
An exclusive Harvard Conference on “Creating Emerging Markets” was recently organized at Taj Lands End Hotel in Mumbai on 13th Feb’17 with Padam Shri Shahnaz as one of the key participants. With Shahnaz becoming a ‘Subject’ at the HBS, a special invite had been extended to her for participating in the conference which she readily accepted. HBS is consistently ranked among the leading business schools in the world, and was ranked 1st in the United States by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.
Notable among other participants in the conference were Professors Geoffrey Jones and Tarun Khanna from the Harvard Business School. The event was built around the video interviews conducted by Harvard on how Business Leaders have Created Emerging Markets (CEM), a foundational effort by the School to capture, through carefully curated video interviews, the history of business leadership in South Asia, Latin America, and Africa, in which Shahnaz Husain’s interview has an important contribution.
In the comprehensive video interview conducted by Professor Sunil Gupta sometime back, India’s Herbal Beauty Queen ‘Shahnaz’ had discussed the various facets of her life, initial struggles in Tehran, personal milestones, future aspirations, Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, and more significantly, how she broke the shackles as a young teenage bride and mother to become the ‘Pioneer of Natural Beauty Products Market and Ayurveda’. Through the interview, one comes to know how Shahnaz had to make herculean efforts to make it to the top rung beauty training institutes of London, Paris, New York, Germany and Denmark.
Professor Sunil Gupta was accompanied in his interview by senior researchers of the Harvard Business School Research Centre.
The Interview highlights how Shahnaz’s Franchise Model enabled her to expand her business horizons along with helping her provide employment and empowerment to countless women pan India and overseas. Her distribution network strategy synergized with her concept of shop-in-shops, with advisors, clinics, salons, spas, and also franchises out products to other FMCG companies did wonders. Then there is the mention of the vision and grit of the phenomenal entrepreneur, and how it paved the way for her to revolutionize and transform the Beauty Business.
The official statement from Geoffrey Jones, Isidor Straus Professor of Business History, Harvard Business School says it all- “We felt compelled to include Shahnaz Husain in Harvard Business School’s Creating Emerging Markets project, both because of her entrepreneurial role in creating India’s natural beauty market and her strong belief in the importance of corporate social responsibility. In both regards she is a pioneer and a role model, and we were delighted and humbled that she was willing to spare her time to help the project succeed. We anticipate that the interview will be widely used by educators and researchers, and by many others interested in seeing how she became so successful and impactful.”
Sharing his views on the Golden journey and the landmark achieved by Shahnaz, Global Pioneer in Holistic Medicine, Dr RK Tuli said, “Shahnaz Husain becoming a Subject at the Harvard Business School (HBS) is a watershed moment as it would enable educators and researchers to take a leaf out of the books of the Genius. The credit goes to her for showing the world a new dimension to feel and look good the natural way with her extensive range of skin, hair and beauty care herbal formulations. With passage of time, these formulations have broken new glass ceilings in the Ayurvedic Industry. The Beauty Icon known for introducing a totally new concept of Ayurvedic Care and Cure worldwide is determined to take Ayurveda to every nook and corner of the globe in her lifetime. As a tireless crusader of Ayurveda, she has promoted country’s ancient herbal heritage and holistic beauty care at International Beauty Congresses such as CIDESCO when India had literally no representation or invitation. She earned the sobriquet ‘Global Beauty Ambassador’ chiefly for promoting India’s image in the western world. Equally commendable has been her role in spreading awareness about the perils associated with chemical based cosmetics. A ‘Trendsetter’ in the true sense, she introduced the ‘Plant Stem Cell’ Beauty products in the USA. While ‘Innovation’ has been the secret of her success, the fact that she has never been complacent about her laurels is what really sets her apart. It is remarkable that she managed to create a Big and Famous Brand named ‘Shahnaz Herbals’ sans any publicity. Prior to becoming a regular Subject on “Brand Creation in Emerging Markets” at the HBS, Shahnaz was a ‘Case Study on Brand Creation’. She has captivated audiences with brilliant lectures at the Harvard Business School, MIT, Oxford University and London School of Economics on ‘Brand India and Ayurveda’, and how she was successful in creating an International Brand alongside a global network of franchise ventures sans any commercial advertising. She epitomizes ‘Women Empowerment’ in the truest sense, and has for the last four decades been a huge source of inspiration for women all over the globe. By holding Press Conferences and regular participation in Trade Shows/Fairs, she was successful in making an everlasting impact on the world. Selling a 3000 year civilization in a jar was no joke, but the mission was made possible by the sheer grit and vision of the phenomenal Shahnaz who assiduously led from the front in promoting India’s priceless legacy, the ‘Ayurveda’ in the Beauty and Wellness segment like no one else. The rest as they say is history…”
Shahnaz has spoken on Ayurveda at a pre Oscar event in LA sometime ago. Besides being a successful businesswoman, she has excelled equally well as a philanthropist. Her initiative of writing a Beauty Book in ‘Braille’ has been widely appreciated. Equally commendable has been her decision of setting up a beauty training institute in the premises of the ‘Delhi Blind School’ to holistically and financially empower the visually impaired students of the School.
Sometime ago, Oxford University felicitated her with a ‘Shield of Honour’ as a recognition of her exemplary and innovative role in promoting Ayurvedic treatments and making them globally known. She had the opportunity of addressing the students on ‘Women Entrepreneurs of India, Challenges and Opportunities’.
She spoke on India’s ancient science of medicinal power plant, herbal healing as well as the adverse effects of chemicals in the Beauty and Wellness segment at the Beverly Hills, California during the Emmy Awards Week and Hollywood Film Festival.
During the course of visit, she introduced her ‘Starlight Range’ that had been ingeniously created for Hollywood Stars for helping them cope with extreme stress levels especially since they work for long hours and have to constantly remain under the arch lights.
Commenting on the Harvard achievement, Shahnaz said, “The transition from being a Case Study to becoming a regular Subject at the premier Harvard Business School is a wonderful feeling. The Harvard case study is about how to build a global brand without using formal marketing or advertising techniques. They said I violate every norm they teach about advertising and publicity. I will focus on India’s 3000 BC Ayurvedic civilization in a jar, and showcase this in my presentation of the ‘Great India Growth Story’. I have incessantly followed a clinical system, diagnosing skin and hair problems and writing prescriptions. I always advise people to never give up because if you never give up, you cannot fail. Evaluating my success story in hindsight, I feel fortunate that I was in the right place at the right time. At a time when the world needed an alternative to chemical products, I chipped in with the Ayurveda and herbal solutions. Sky is the limit for India’s unlimited potential, and I have no qualms stating that India will lead the billion dollar cosmetic Industry into the next century with its Ancient Herbal Heritage. By incorporating some systemic changes, and getting all stakeholders on board, India stands strategically poised to win a lion’s share of the ‘Beauty and Wellness’ business on a global level, and the day is not far, when India would get recognized as the ‘Beauty Capital’ of the world. The creation of a dedicated Ministry of AYUSH in the year 2014 by the Government of India has done a world of good for ensuring the optimal development and propagation of AYUSH systems of healthcare.”