We are living in the golden age of Indian entrepreneurship -21st century. In past few years, many innovative ideas and start-ups have come up all over India. But it was not that easy to follow this unconventional path in the late 80’s. Those decades in which hair work was socially devalued, a boy from Delhi dreamed of reinventing Indian Hairstyles! Jawed Habib Akthar.
Even though the Habib family was hairstylists from pre-independent era, Jawed was never passionate about hair styling. While completing his graduation in French literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, he was still unaware of his purpose. Finally, encouraged by his father’s suggestion, he decided to attend a hair styling course from London’s Morris School of Hair design.
The boy from Delhi went to London and was enthralled by the people’s colourful hair and stunning haircuts. Those were the moments in which this third generation hairstylist started to fall in love with the language of hair styling.
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After successfully completing the course, he came back to Delhi to see-through his dream of bringing change to Indian hairstyling concepts. He started work at his father’s salon, along with his two brothers. There he experienced the huge difference between Indian hair dressing concepts and what he studied at Morris.
Jawed Habib was always fond of doing things in a different way. He decided to educate people about the possibilities of hair styling. He travelled all across India, and conducted seminars on hair styling and grooming. According to him, educating people about hair styling also gave him more understanding about their concepts and needs. But Indian market was not an easy one to penetrate! In early 90’s, hair styling profession didn’t have the possibilities it had today. Professional beauty parlours or spas were few and far between, and hair styling was a term for Bollywood only.
Jawed says that the part-time job at McDonald’s which he had when studying abroad was one of the things that changed his lifestyle. He worked there for three years and learned, among other things, how a successful system works. That changed his life and brought about his ambition is to build a McDonald’s of hair salons, catering to the masses.
Today Jawed Habib is an irrevocable brand in the beauty industry but during the days when he started, hair work was anything but glamorous. His first salon was started in Cochin (Kerala). Now Jawed Habib Hair and beauty Ltd. has almost 500 salons and 41 salon academies around the country. At his academies, he moulds and trains a number of young hair stylists every day. Jawed’s goal is to set up 5000 more salons in next five years.
In the early 2000’s, when all the hair stylists wanted to make their foray into Bollywood, he thought of ‘hair styling beyond Bollywood’. He entered ‘LIMCA BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS’ for achieving 410 haircuts in a day. Jawed was also the brand ambassador of Sunsilk from 2000 to 2008 and was appointed as the official hair stylist of 2003 Miss India contestants.
That’s all for this week’s section of ‘Best hairstylists from across India’. We will be back with another one next week. Stay tuned!