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Beauty with a mission

At 27 years old, Iman Allana has already made a significant mark, from beauty entrepreneur to a force in women empowerment and more..

One hat, many feathers is possibly the most appropriate way to describe beauty entrepreneur-social worker-intrigued investor, Iman Allana. And that too, at such a young age. But she humbly claims she still has a long way to go. At the crux of it, balance is what she strives to achieve everyday, while admitting that when she was younger, discipline in timing wasn’t her strongest suit. But what she does consider a strength today is an undying penchant to learn more and more in every arena. She claims she has learned a lot along her journey so far, from other founders, young businesses, about the challenges, the processes and the unfaltering dedication that surrounds. “This has greatly inspired and shaped a lot of my thinking as someone just starting out in business,” she quips. She goes on to reveal that looking into early stage start ups in the consumer segment can be greatly enjoyable, even addictive, “As an investor, it gives me the opportunity to learn a little more about different industries and different business models, so it is always an interesting conversation. In fact, it can be a good break from the business I am looking into or working on.” But beyond her investment strategies and learnings, and her volunteering jaunts at NGOs supported by their family’s foundation, at the core of it, Iman is a business woman with great aptitude, creativity and vision. So where did her journey begin?

It was while Iman was pursuing her Masters in Luxury Brand Management at Regents University in London that she realised her passion for business in retail and consumer brands. At that time, in the years 2016-17, there were a plethora of young beauty brands that suddenly sprouted to success, growing exponentially with savvy social media presence and building a cult-like following among the millennial consumer audience. This charged Iman’s interest and convinced her that beauty was definitely an interesting industry to explore. “What dawned on me is that India, home to half a billion beautiful women, was yet to create a brand that crossed borders and was truly global in every sense. Something that was desired by people all over, still attainable.” And with Bollyglow, that’s exactly what she did. She tapped into the idea that beauty was enjoying an increased attention and social media, beauty designated online selling platforms, tutorials and pop culture trends were all important factors driving consumption in this segment. And finally, after so very long, the perception that “foreign brands” are superior to homegrown ones was changing thanks to new offerings and innovation with domestic brands, such as Bollyglow. As it stands today, Bollyglow is the only 100 per cent imported homegrown beauty brand in India. All of Bollyglow’s products are formulated or fully made in Italy by leading manufacturers that cater to other leading beauty brands. Iman through her venture then sells these products at a masstige price point—with the desire to create accessibly priced luxury products. Iman truly “democratised beauty” through Bollyglow. “For the longest time in retail, there was a perception of quality being associated with high pricing. A notion that is being greatly challenged today across industries with examples like Uber—the goal of Bollyglow was to house all verticals of beauty and personal care by providing our customers unparalleled quality and functional products at an accessible price point—beauty for all, without breaking the bank.”

Not only did Iman build a successful business that highlighted innovation, creativity and accessible price points, she went one step further by making it a business with heart and soul. “Growing up, superheroes for me were businesses and the people that spearheaded them. I firmly believe in the fact that new-age companies have a big responsibility and such an immense ability to impact communities either with their product or service or through the message they are trying to convey or causes they align themselves to.” In that stride, Iman hopes to be able to empower women not just through accessibly priced beauty products, but also by serving as an inspiration for other young women aspiring to start a business. She explains, “as a predominantly female team driving the brand, we are gearing up to share our journey in a much more transparent fashion in the near future. We hope to be the brand that women see as an encouraging vehicle for entrepreneurship. We want to work in closer capacity with independent beauty therapists and makeup artists and cultivate as well as harness relations with that community in such a way that they benefit monetarily by associating with Bollyglow. Furthermore, we want young interns to approach Bollyglow, looking to gain some experience as they start their career adventures.”

Like all great adventures, all of this didn’t come easy for Iman. Bollyglow for her was essentially about reconnecting with India after spending around 12 years abroad, and it turned out to be one of her steepest learning curves yet. From understanding the corporate landscape, recruiting, GST to knowing about import duties, registration processes, the list goes on! She admits, “There have been certain challenging times, when things seemed immovable or moving at a staggering speed. That naturally made me feel doubtful. But thanks to my family, I have constantly stayed encouraged. My brothers have been instrumental in guiding me on how to approach retailer contracts, create margins and building the right team.” Iman has even created a beautiful space that represents everything Bollyglow is, and had it designed by celebrity interior designer, Gauri Khan. “The office is truly a dream and it has elements of beauty at every turn. The conference table is a fantastic parquet wooden table with cosmetic brushes digitally printed on it. The installations are fun too—there’s a “blush” wall which is a ceiling to floor metal mirror with suede patches indicative of a blusher palette. The work stations are spacious and have design elements like barcodes and nail polishes painted on them. The most special piece is the giant lipstick installation with thousands of removable mini lipsticks. Gauri Khan really made my vision a reality. It is a space we would love to open to our audience and adopt an open door policy to our beauty community.”

So then, what are Iman’s goals for the new decade? She quickly responds with a wave of positivity, “One primary goal is to definitely be the healthiest version of myself, focus more on wellbeing without work getting in the way. Other than that, I want to grow Bollyglow into a beauty and personal care power player, and hopefully expand our presence across different verticals, and expand the brand’s international footprint. I also hope to open our space to our audience and adopt an open door policy to our beauty community. But most importantly, my personal mission is to continue to encourage women in business in India and give them the right information, education and inspiration to live their dreams come true.”

IMAN’S SKIN CARE REGIMEAND YOUR INSTANT BEAUTY INSPO!

· Keep it simple! I cleanse, tone and moisturise at night and in the morning.
· I adore the skincare brand Biologique Researchfor its emphasis on simplicity and natural ingredients.
· I use SPF daily, in the winter too!
· I try to get a BR facial whenever I am in London, which is again simple in practice and mainly hydrating!

We truly wish Iman all the best in achieving her goals!

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