Wednesday 28, Oct 2020, Delhi (India)
Beauty has recently grown into an industry in India. The beauty industry in India owes its growth to many beauty entrepreneurs and professionals, Aashmeen Munjaal being one of them. starting from a one-room parlor to owning a chain of salons and academy, she has witnessed the growth of beauty and its expansion in India. Her experience makes her give the best hair care and skincare tips and techniques.
A fun-loving, passionate, and ever-growing personality, Aashmeen Munjaal is one of the best persons to meet and talk. She is the Director at Star Salons, Ash & Neill Unisex Salons, Star Hair & Makeup Academy and not to forget she is also the Queen of Makeovers.
Aashmeen started her career post – marriage when she had her first child. She is breaking the myth ‘that being a mother of a small baby means no to work and career in India for women’. With her family’s support, she started a parlor (now termed as salons in India) at her house and moved on to open branches of the same over time.
Having done formal education in beauty through various courses in India, Aashmeen believes in the fact that change is inevitable hence, it is important to keep upgrading oneself with the new techniques and trends in beauty. To date, she takes various initiatives and attends many courses internationally, later imparting the same in her institute.
She has worked with many B-Town celebrities – Soha Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar, Frida Pinto, Jacqueline Fernandez, Anil Kapoor, and the list is endless. Her vision to keep moving on reaching greater heights keeps her on her toes always.
Balance she says is the key to a successful marriage and career- where one needs to respect both and adhere to the requirements with a balanced approach. Aashmeen has seen and fought through her challenges and struggles to reach where she is today.
Being featured in many fashion and beauty magazines like Beauty Plus, HT City, I Knock Fashion, she has herself worked initially with many fashion magazines where she gained a lot of experience and built her name in the industry.
Her approach and passion have paid very well making her one of the biggest names of the beauty industry in India.
I Knock Fashion interviewed Aashmeen Munjaal to explore her journey and share it with the readers as she is very inspiring and a veteran of the beauty industry in India. She has lots of hacks and tips rolled under her sleeve for hair care and makeup looks especially evening makeup looks.
Her love for beauty and passion for makeup and hairdressing has moved her to be one of the destined and truly deserving beauty entrepreneurs in India.
1. Brief about your journey
I started 24 years back, I remember wanting to buy a dress for my daughter that was above the set amount of money allocated to everyone in the family, that is when I realized I had to do something of my own, I could never really go ahead and ask for money hence, having my own would be better I thought. My husband was very supportive and he encouraged me to go ahead with it but with a condition of doing whatever I would want from home.
2. Why did you choose beauty?
At that time, the beauty industry was not the only option I had, I could have opened a boutique or a coaching center too, first I did a course in tailoring and stitching clothes, but if I would open a boutique then that would mean having tailors around, which I thought might not be appropriate with the family as the society was a little conservative that time. Hence, the best option was a beauty parlor (now called salons). I have always been very passionate about making people look beautiful as per their height, clothes, and the structure. Even my mother suggested that I open a salon. She even helped me in finding good courses in Delhi. On her suggestion, I did courses both of Shehnaz and Habib.
3. When did you start your salon officially?
After the courses I did a few jobs to earn some experience, I was a parlor wali aunty that time as terms like makeup artists and hairdressers were not introduced to the Indian subcontinent back then. I explored that my true passion lies in hair care and hairdressing, textures, styling, and much more. Every time I would dress someone’s hair, they would always return asking for me.
It’s after this that I opened a one-room parlor at my house, I still remember it was on the first floor. In the beginning, people were coming to me for my hair care and hairdressing skills. My clientele expanded majorly due to word of mouth. I came up with a home hack to straighten the hair as there wasn’t any equipment to do so during that time. I used to call it a ‘Jugaad’. This became a huge success then.
I also landed up with a rupture and the doctor suggested not to cut hair or do anything that stresses too much on that finger area, this is when I started with makeup in my salon, especially bridal evening makeup. Makeup was natural to me and I started to enjoy it.
I truly thank god for he has kept his blessings on us and everything just started to line up on its own. We had named it Grace Beauty Parlor back then. Later people started copying the name and so we changed it to Aashmeen’s Grace but to my surprise, even this was copied by others like Aashmeet’s Grace beauty parlor, etc. We again consulted and changed the name to Aashmeen Munjaal’s.
A lot of people insisted to have a center in South Delhi too, so we purchased property there and started with 2 from 1. The name was altered to Aashmeen Munjaal’s Empire of Makeovers. We also added men’s grooming in the South Delhi branch, this was round 2010.
When we took another property at the Moments Mall, a sudden realization kicked in that the Empire of Makeovers is very feminine and we need a name that would fit into both genders.
Finally, we named it Star keeping Aashmeen Munjaal constant (after a vacation to Singapore where this name struck.)
4. What is your view on the Indian beauty market on the global level?
The Indian beauty market is flourishing due to the ancient Ayurveda and organic techniques that we have inherited from our texts and ancestors. At the same time, the techniques and technology available in the global market are taking time to sink into the Indian beauty industry. Even people take a little time to accept new techniques in beauty.
But I feel that all these foreign techniques are chemical or laser-based and the age-old Indian techniques are easy, comfortable, easily available, and reap great results. Like the Laal Masur Daal, Haldi, and Milk for better skin and clearer skin, For skin tightening, grind the kernel part of the Indian blueberry (Jamun) and apply it regularly on your face it will give a tightened skin result.
There are so many haircare and skincare Indian recipes that will give amazing and positive changes.
5. A celebrity you would like to work with again and again?
A clarity I would like to bring to everyone here is that I am not a Bollywood makeup artist there is a difference in being a Bollywood makeup artist and a celebrity makeup artist. We have had tie-ups with Vishesh Films and Phantom Productions but we always send our team or students for it.
The first celebrity I worked with was Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, that was my first break after working with a few magazines- Delhi Press, Graha Shobha, Wedding Affair, etc. I also worked with Frida Pinto during a Delhi Press shoot. Later, Soha Ali Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez, and many other names. But that one celebrity I enjoyed working most with was Jacqueline Fernandez, given a chance I would like to work with her again and again.
6. Why did you decide to open an academy?
When we saw our salon becoming a chain, training the staff became a problem. A lot of times when we used to train the staff, they would leave and go somewhere else, this hence became a redundant exercise.
This also gave us an idea of opening an academy, luckily my sister in law decided to settle in India and turned out to be the apt person for the academy. I needed a reliable person for it and she was there. She did a few courses for the same from UK and Delhi.
7. After COVID 19, do you think there will be changes in the beauty industry?
The biggest blow is that with the home service in the beauty industry. COVID 19 being the second, as people are conscious and scared to come to salons now. The brands that have a good database and set trust along with goodwill, will still survive as compared to the newcomers.
We have recently invested in sanitizers, auto clears, distances between chairs, kits, masks, etc. and these overheads are too much but it is a requirement and mandate. This is a very tough time for the beauty industry.
8. How should one go forward with it?
It is important to keep patience right now, show some gratitude for you and your family keeping safe, instead of complaining now and then. This situation will pass by.
Haircare, tips for summer care, skincare, evening makeup and many other techniques along with ancient recipes for the same is what the beauty industry is filled with. Aashmeen Munjaal is a veteran of the industry and has witnessed it going through changes; reaching where it is today.
The chain of salons and the academy defines her passion and her team’s effort well. The interview was truly filled with stories and information. I Knock Fashion hopes that its readers would have a lot to take from it.