by ASJAD NAZIR.
A beautiful Miracle in Hyderabad.
A PIONEERING beauty parlour chain in Hyderabad, south India, grew from the dream of a
young lady from Iran into a story which has had a transformative effect on women across different generations.
Born in Yazd, Iran, Puran Abbas Farid possessed all the signs of being a great entrepreneur
from a young age despite growing up in a 1940s village where the norm for a girl child was to stay within her own four walls. The curious young lady ventured out alone and saw an entire planet of opportunities all around her. This brave and bold nature followed her when her family relocated to India, where the Persian-speaking young lady taught herself Hindi and English, along with establishing herself as a businesswoman.
She set up shop in a bathroom in 1967 and from there her Miracle salon helped lay the foundation for beauty parlours in India. Today her daughter and granddaughter have taken over the reins of making customers look their best. Eastern Eye caught up with her daughter Fariyal Ali Murtazai to talk about her pioneering mother, Miracle salon, key beauty tips, celebrity clients and more…
What first connected your pioneering mother to hair and beauty?
She had an innate interest and passion towards grooming. She sought to find ways to bring out the inner-beauty of people, a little extra glow, be it with creams or a face pack. Amazingly, she even brewed these types of products at home, using her own ingredients and knowledge she had picked up from talking to various people.
What gave her the idea to set up the Miracle salon?
She grew fond of Hyderabad after visiting the city for a short vacation in 1967 as it
brought back memories of her hometown. She wanted to visit a beauty salon, but was astounded to find the city didn’t possess any such place dedicated for women’s beauty. The only hair-specific stores were barber shops for men. This revelation sowed seeds of wanting to start a beauty salon in Hyderabad dedicated towards women.
What was the biggest challenge she faced setting it up?
In 1967 when she began to lay down the foundations of her business, two of the biggest challenges were from financial and societal points of views. Money was a big obstacle, so she took her first steps into the world of business by converting the bathroom into a place where facials and other beauty treatments were offered. Socially speaking, there was a great degree of ignorance that she had to contend with.
What do you mean?
Despite many of her clients coming from affluent families, she often found them to be completely unaware about threading, waxing etc. So one of her greatest challenges was educating women on the various benefits of these different types of processes available to them.
Tell us a bit more about the Miracle salon’s initial years…
It was nothing more than a bathroom reconstructed for the purpose of beautifying clients, and from these humble beginnings my mother’s success grew. Later, after having gained the trust of a large client base, she felt financially capable and confident to start her first fully-operational salon in Basherbagh, which was a thriving and ever expanding part Hyderabad.
She rented a small area and immediately set up her shop. She decided on the name ‘Miracle’ as she felt nothing else could do justice to the art of taking in a person and helping them feel even more special and gorgeous than when they had first walked in through our door.
It was so pioneering…
Yes, at that time the concept of a salon dedicated to the pampering and beautification of women was unheard of. She very literally began a trend which was non-existent at the time.
Tell us how the salon evolved over the years…
Our beginnings were undoubtedly humble, with the first steps being taken in a reconstructed single room in a house, but over the years we have taken the business all over the city.
With the advent of technological improvements, we brought in new and improved ways to take care of clients with a greater degree of specialisation for specific needs. But, all that said, at heart, we remain the same as we were on the day my mother began this odyssey.
We are professionals with a deep-rooted passion for our art and craft where we take our job seriously but also sincerely, as our client’s happiness remains the undoubted most important goal.
Tell us about some of the high-profile clients who have been in there over the years…
We’ve had the pleasure of taking care of many wonderful people. Undoubtedly, there have been quite a few eminent personalities who have placed their trust in our hands.
I suppose the very first personality as such was Mrs Nawab Ali Yawar Jung, the wife of the governor of Maharashtra, who was so impressed that she officially appointed my mother as her personal beautician and hairstylist during her stay in 1971. She was also a personal hair stylist and beautician to governor Kumud Ben Joshi from 1985 to 1990.
Over the years, our client base grew with us taking care of many individuals from the Bollywood and Tollywood communities, such as Moushumi Chatterjee, Tabu, Charmee, Prabhas, Allu Arjun, Balakrishna, Prakash Raj, Trisha, Tisca Chopra, Siddharth and Revati among many others.
While I am extremely proud to have been trusted by such amazing people, our care and efforts are the same across the board. Anyone who comes to our salon gets the very best, as our drive to bring out the best in people is firm and unshakeable.
What has inspired you to follow in your mother’s footsteps?
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. When you watch such a wonderful person work wonders on people, it’s hard not to follow in their footsteps and hope to make them proud.
Is your daughter carrying on the family business?
Yes, my daughter Laila Murtazai has, and I say so with a huge smile. This is the third generation working towards maintaining and improving what we have strived to achieve over the years.
Tell us about the salon today…
We are the same institution that opened its doors in 1967. We not only want to do our best in the field of beautification and makeovers, but also to build an emotional connection with our clients. So many generations have believed in us not only for our skill, but also for our care and compassion.
Why do you think it has lasted so long?
The personal touch. Having the skill to do a good job is important, perhaps of paramount value even, but when one combines their skill with the passion, it blends to create something even more special and wonderful. We see our clients as a part of our extended family and their happiness is as important as anything else.
What is your view of the beauty industry today?
Unfortunately, I find that personalisation has become a thing of the past, generally speaking. It feels as though things are becoming more commercial in nature, where franchises built with the paramount intention to make profits are beginning to take a stranglehold over the industry.
What are the best beauty treatments available at the moment?
I feel we’re headed towards more natural products, with the use of chemicals becoming
less, even with the bigger brands. Nature gives us access to some of the best available
products for a variety of beauty treatments. Also I am very impressed with Cystine hair treatment, which works so well in repairing and getting rid of frizz. It works wonders without chemicals.
What key advice would you give women when selecting the right treatment for them?
Don’t get carried away with the latest trends advertised by the media or even by your friends. Determine for yourself what you really need and what may not be of importance. Do research yourself to ensure that it will be meant for you and only you, and this way you will be able to reap the best rewards.
Which are your favourite products right now?
The first would be Home Remedies for hair and skin by Miracle Salon. After which, I would say Remedy for Anti-frizz treatment by Amazon Series would have my vote of approval. And most certainly, Wella Professionals for all their hair care products are also highly recommended by me.
What’s the secret of running a successful business?
Maintaining a strong personal relationship with clients is very important. However, that will mean something only if you have a strong technical knowledge in your field. We keep updating our skills by training with Vidal Sasoon London.
What inspires you?
Fariyal’s five quick beauty tips:
- Less is more. Don’t over-do the products for either your face or your hair.
- Trust your hairdresser and/or beautician. Keep faith that the professional you have entrusted has the knowledge necessary to do right by you.
- Stop Googling. Not everything mentioned on the internet may necessarily be right for
you or even true for that matter. Seek out professionals who have accrued the knowledge required over years of research and implementation.
- Use your shampoo only for the scalp. Condition only your hair, and use anti-frizz serum
for ensuring that your hair remains knot-free.
- Start using anti-ageing creams for your skin from your 20s and not when you reach the
40s. Take care of your skin from an early age.
Beauty Stop With Raakhi Tanvi – Winter hair care
NOW we are into November and really feeling the cold, I thought that I would stick to the winter care theme. Here are my top tips for keeping your hair in good condition over the freezing winter months:
Sleep on a silk pillowcase: Not only does this prevent hair breakage by preventing the friction caused by tossing and turning in our sleep, but also is great for the skin. You could alternatively sleep with a silk hair cap on. I usually twist my hair into a low bun using an invisibobble.
Use a hair hydrating treatment: Using a hydrating mask on your hair weekly is one of the best ways to keep it in good condition in the colder months. You will start to see a
difference immediately. My personal favourite is the Kérastase Reflection Masque. I leave this in for as long as I can, usually two-four hours.
Leave-in conditioner: Encountering contrasting temperatures of indoors and out, along with wearing hats, means our hair tends to get more static in winter. The best way to avoid this is to use a leave-in conditioner when styling your hair. I use the Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Treatment as it also works to repair hair.
Don’t go outside with wet hair: When your hair is damp and you go outside, it freezes.
This causes your hair to expand and snap; those winter fly-aways are most likely caused by this. If you have just washed your hair and dried it, chances are that it is still a little bit damp, so try and use a silklined hat to keep your hair/head warm and to prevent any breakage.
Avoid using too much heat: If you do need to wash your hair more than twice a week during the winter, invest in a really good heat protection spray such as Paul Mitchell Express Style Hot Off The Press. Use a wide-vented brush to dry your hair too, as this will ensure that it is really dry and also creates some volume or style so you don’t need to use a curler or straightener that often in the colder months. I use the GHD Ceramic Vented Brush – they come in various sizes depending on the thickness of your hair.
Stay healthy: My favourite thing to suggest is staying hydrated. Keeping your body topped up with water is so important, particularly now that the heating is on. This will also prevent your scalp from getting dry and causing dandruff and flakes. It is also a great time of year to start upping your vitamin intake, be that with supplements or through fresh fruit/fresh soups.
- Raakhi Tanvi is a London-based hair and make-up artist. Visit Instagram & Facebook:
@raakhitanvimakeup for more.