Bereavement affects us all, but everyone has a different way of coping with it.
Nishtha Malik was 17 years old, and her 18th birthday was just two days away when her mother took her last breath. It was a devastating phase as she saw her mother struggle with lung cancer and ultimately lose her life.
“The doctors had informed us a week before that my mother’s condition was critical. I was giving my Class 12 board exams when I lost her. But, I had promised her that I would not skip the exams. It was catastrophic to be in that situation. At one end, I was at the most important phase of my school life; at the other, I was facing the worst-ever situation I could have imagined.”
Her mother’s death left a huge void in her heart and life, but Nishtha shouldered on.
After completing her Class 12 in 2012, she completed her graduation and moved to London to complete a master’s in entrepreneurship. She even worked in an organic hair care company, but she wasn’t satisfied.
In 2019, Nishtha came back to India and explored the organic haircare market in the country. She was disheartened when she saw that the industry was lacking, especially when it came to wigs and hair extensions. The pain point hit home as she had seen her mother struggling to find a wig after she lost her hair during the treatment process.
Taking the first step
She immediately decided that this is what she was going to do: give courage and hope to women undergoing chemotherapy by providing them with quality wigs and extensions.
For two years, Nishtha did thorough research on the market.
“I found that synthetic hair products abounded and there was no one in the market providing wigs and extensions made of 100 percent human hair. When I was in London, I had seen brands doing this business; they were very popular. But, in India, I couldn’t see that anywhere,” she says.
Nishtha decided to focus on this untapped market and launched her company, Beaux, which means beautiful, in June 2019. Apart from helping cancer patients, she thought that bringing real hair into the industry would also give her customers, especially women, the “beautiful thick hair they deserve.”
“Hair extensions and wigs are nothing but a tool to help women look and feel more confident. Some women have really thin hair, either as a result of genetics, stress or illness, which makes them feel insecure on a daily basis. Or maybe, the hair just won’t grow past a certain point, or has the length but not the volume. In those cases, we definitely need a little extra help from hair extensions to achieve the hair we’ve always dreamed of,” she says.
Building the business
Getting started was not a big struggle as India is the biggest exporter of hair in the world. Nishtha says Beaux uses 100 percent natural hair and sources it from temples of South India, mainly from Tirupati Balaji (where people tonsure their hair as a religious practice).
She started the company with a capital of Rs 8 lakh, which she borrowed from her father. The processing unit is in Kota, Rajasthan, where the sourced hair undergoes various processes, including pre-conditioning, washing, and conditioning not once, but twice. There is a multi-step quality control before a finished product finally emerges from the unit.
Beaux makes wigs, toppers, colored hair strands/streaks, hair scrunchies, and hair wraps. After launching in June 2019, in six months, the company has made average sales of Rs 12-15 lakh and has started exporting to South Africa, Dubai, and Turkey.
“I also have clients in London, and we are present in various salons in Mumbai and at Atlantis and Palm Jumeira in Dubai. I am also in talks with a prominent chain, which runs 950 salons across India, to stock my products.”
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