Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
A love for hair and a firm belief that hair extensions were for every person out there motivated actor Parul Gulati to start Nish Hair, in 2017. “Every woman deserves to feel beautiful and look incredible,” she says, adding that her products are hand-selected, stitched to perfection, and extremely long-lasting.
Gulati recently appeared in the Shark Tank Season 2 (Sony TV), wherein she secured an investment of Rs One Crore from Shark and CarDekho CEO Amit Jain for two per cent equity. In an exclusive interview with Life & More, the young and effervescent Gulati talks all about her interesting journey. Excerpts:
From Rohtak to Mumbai… how did this happen?
Growing up in a small town in Rohtak, all I had were my dreams and a deep desire to achieve them. I have no qualms in admitting that I had an attention-seeking personality – always wanting to be recognised for my achievements. It was during this time that I received a message on Facebook inviting me to Mumbai for a television show. I was only 17 and in my final year of high school, but I jumped at the opportunity. That’s how I became an actress – I didn’t leave my studies though.
How did the actor turn into an entrepreneur?
I had this urge to create something that was entirely mine. While the characters I portrayed were mine, the movies and shows were not entirely so unless I produced them myself. So I came up with the idea of creating a brand that uniquely belonged to me, and this led to the birth of Nish Hair. Thanks to my mother, who supported me from the very beginning, I could venture out into this business.
Why specifically hair extensions?
What inspired me to start a hair extensions business was the lack of options I faced when I was personally searching for these. I noticed that many women were not wearing wigs because they didn’t feel confident in them, largely because natural-looking wigs were not widely available. Incidentally, wigs and hairpieces have always been made by men, which made it difficult for women to find options that looked and felt natural. I felt an opportunity there – to create high-quality, natural-looking hair extensions for women. I believe I have been able to provide women with an alternative to wigs that look more realistic and natural.
Do you think India has a market for such a niche product?
Initially, this market may have been considered niche, but it has since expanded to reach a wider audience. Hair extensions are now be seen as a viable replacement for any hair product that promises to give you longer, thicker hair, as growing your hair naturally can be a time-consuming process.
Did you do any market research before venturing into it?
None, but I knew for sure that there existed a great demand for human hair extensions, and if I could provide these at reasonable rates, my business would get going.
What kind of challenges did you face?
As a woman in a male-dominated industry, I faced challenges when communicating with men who did not take me seriously, especially when I was younger and less experienced. I wanted everything to be perfect, including the packaging, logo, and brand color, but there were times when things didn’t go as planned.
However, once my business began to thrive, gender no longer played a significant role in my success. In fact, it became a point of pride for others to acknowledge me as a successful woman entrepreneur.
While I appreciate the recognition now, I wish that I had been respected and taken seriously when I was just starting out. At that time, being a woman was seen more as a disadvantage than an asset.
Your buyers come from which part of India.
We receive a majority of orders from metropolitan areas, followed by Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
What do you feel when you look back at your journey so far?
I feel grateful that the idea came to me, and not someone else! Whenever someone asks me about how I came up with the idea, I cannot explain what inspired me or how the universe conspired for me. I firmly believe that this happened for a reason, and now my business is helping women who are experiencing hair loss.
Acting or entrepreneurship…
Tough to pick one – both are my life. I’m married to my acting career, and Nish Hair is my child. Can a woman pick between her husband and child? No. So, it is with me!
What are your future plans?
Though I have not yet planned my future goals, my ultimate aim is to expand Nish Hair and make it a go-to brand for hair extensions.