I Knock Fashion recently had a conversation with celebrated hairstylist and ace businessman Jawed Habib about what inspires him, one tipping point in his career, and the must known hair care tips to Indians for their hair. You must not be aware of this, but the man who changed the history of hairstyling and hair care in India is a graduate in French Literature. Although Jawed Habib now between the hustle and bustle of his beauty career and traveling across different cities in India, training people hardly finds any time for prose or poetry. The man who today travels across the country teaching and training people on how to ace hair cut, and hairstyling, started it in a time when hair cutting was anything but glamorous. Today this perception is quite blurred, and Jawed, in his unique way, has made a difference in the way people look at this particular profession. Jawed Habib recognizes the essential role he has played in this change.
We were keen to know if Jawed Habib was always interested in joining this particular profession. Hence, we decided to ask the veteran himself. For those of you who don’t know, Jawed Habib was born in a family of hairdressers, his grandfather Nazir Ahmed served as the official hairdresser for Jawaharlal Nehru. After him, his father also worked for the President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. So, we wanted to know if it was his childhood dream to get into this industry.
- Being from a family of hairdressers, have you always wanted to explore this as a career?
Never in my life, I thought to be a hairdresser. I wanted to build a career in Hotel Management, and I was supposed to go to London. But from there, the new journey started.
- When did you start into the industry?
I joined this course in London’s Morris School Of Hair Design in 1986 and completed it in 1987 June. Then I worked there for almost a year and got connected with the industry. Ultimately, I became a part of this industry.
- When exactly did you start with Jawed Habib?
Jawed Habib started in 2005, before that I was working with my dad. I was a part of my dad’s business known as Habib’s. I started ‘Jawed Habib’ in the year 2005.
Hairstyling may sound like another normal career option today, but the fact is, being a hairstylist today is more acceptable than 40 years ago. Earlier in the country, things weren’t the same, people were not that concerned about grooming when Jawed decided to bring a revolution in the way people dressed their hair. Nobody but only a veteran can tell you about the status of this particular industry.
- How is hairdressing as a career option in India?
Very big now!
I think when I started, it was just “naayi ka kaam” (a barber’s work), but today it is a huge profession. Post coronavirus, it became a huge profession. It is the only industry people have missed during the lockdown. They have missed the hairdressers. The outbreak of coronavirus has taught them the importance of hairdressers. I feel post-pandemic this industry will grow at a good pace.
Hairdressing and hairstyling are embedded in the lifestyle of the westerners, this was missing in India when Jawed Habib started; he took the opportunity to fill this gap and reshape the culture of hairdressing in India.
- What was the point that you felt you wanted your chain of hair salons?
“I wanted to become a hair McDonald’s!”
I wanted to become a hair McDonald’s, and that motivated me to have an independent business, independent mind, and independent vision. So, I decided to move out and work on the plan.
- What is the USP of Jawed Habib’s hair salons?
I realized you can make an extremely good looking beautiful salon, but the soul needs to hit one. If the soul is well managed, well trained, well-spoken, well behaved, there’s nothing to stress. The only difference between Jawed Habib and other brands is, instead of focusing only on making good looking salons, Jawed Habib believes in making the soul of the industry good. We believe in building a futuristic business.
- When did you venture into products?
No, we haven’t moved into products, our product is education. The products are looked after by my dad. Jawed Habib is only into two things-
Jawed Habib very early in his career realized that people would need hairdressers always and quickly moved forward by setting up 50 salons across numerous cities in the country in the first five years. Today he has 400 salons across 92 cities in India, so our next question to him had to be this.
- What was the most elevated point of your career?
I spotted the growth, and it was because I was taking workshops, doing seminars, and celebrated as a teacher of this industry. I think by doing seminars and workshops, my language traveled gracefully to people’s minds. The media helped me in spreading my vision.
“Whatever I am today, is because of the media!”
- Tell us about a tipping point in your career and what you did to come out of it?
“My grandfather talked about politicians, My dad talked about Bollywood, and I talked only about education.”
Jawed Habib focuses on education above cosmetics. We believe success is in employing people, it is in making a brand, and making a brand without cosmetics is not easy.
“My product is my education!”
COVID-19 has severely changed the world, and salons have become the bone of contention lately. Reacting to this, veteran hairstylist Jawed Habib had this to say.
- How has COVID-19 affected work?
Of course, those three months were not good for the industry, but it has somewhere or other organized it. The point here to understand is that this country has around three crore salons, and out of those three crores, 99% salons, are not even organized. Now people will only move towards organized places. Maybe things in the industry will change for good now.
- A suggestion that you always give to Indians for their haircare?
Wash and condition your hair frequently, but make sure to put some amount of oil before washing your hair. You’ll never face hair fall this way.
“Just like your face, your hair also needs to be washed daily.”
- What do you think about hairdressing education in India?
Hairdressing is something that is changing every day. What I learned around 30 years back, is just the foundation, but we need to learn every day and keep up with the latest system. This is the reason why education is important, and we at Jawed Habib embrace it. We firmly believe in skill education rather than products.
- What are your plans for the future?
“To become the Global Hair McDonald’s!”
- Is there anything new that we would be seeing coming from Jawed Habib?
Of course, we are coming with a new system post-pandemic, and we are aiming huge. We look forward to becoming one of the biggest brands of the industry, not only limited to hair but a systematic brand too. We believe post-COVID-19, the skill will be coming back, it will no more be only about luxury.
- A message to someone who’s looking forward to joining this industry!
“Be a student always, don’t try to become a guru!”
The moment you become a guru, you stop learning, so stay a student. In the end, your identity will belong to the scissors. I am still a student, I keep learning every single day, and I believe innovation is a must.
- What is the one difference you see in hairdressing in India now, from when you started?
Today hairdressing has become a profession, but, earlier it was only about a Sadhana cut, One Length, or a U Cut. Now it’s more about creativity there is more chemical, people have accepted chemicals as a part of hairdressing. People are open to experiments now. If you compare the hairdressing culture with the one that prevailed five years ago, you will realize that it’s completely changed today. I feel that post-COVID-19 things will be entirely changed, and it’s going to be a big profession.
I Knock Fashion Desk (Conclusion)
As stated by Mr. Habib, Jawed Habib aims to do something huge in the future, and we wish nothing but the best for the brand as well as for the hairdressing and beauty industry.
I Knock Fashion takes pride in supporting such inspirational talks, and we aim to keep promoting such motivating conversations with the creative icons of the fashion and beauty industry. To get the quickest updates of the fashion and beauty industry, stay tuned with I Knock Fashion.