Malika Shah, a Kashmiri lawyer turned entrepreneur, established the indigenous beauty startup, “Masha by Malika,” a skin and hair-care line that produces reasonably priced natural beauty products using local Kashmiri herbs.
Malika, based in Rajbagh, Kashmir, is a law scholar who is a recipient of the Young India Fellowship programme at Asoka University and an alumnus of UCL London, where she did her Master’s in Law and intended to pursue her law career.
When she returned from London after completing her studies, Malika’s golfing dad, Ghalib Khan, who used to play with golfing greats like Jeev Milkha and Jyoti Randhava, introduced her to the world of golf.
“I did try my hand at it. But, since I was always academically oriented, I never really took sports as seriously,” she tells YourStory.
“Masha by Malika” Story
Interestingly, she did not want to study further either. Subsequently, during her time at home, Malika’s interest grew in her grandma’s heirloom recipes, which she had observed closely.
In light of that, she tried her hand at creating some oils and put them on Facebook, where they had a group of Kashmiri women worldwide ( around 40,000 women). She was surprised with the outcome, and that simple post made her think about the launch of her beauty product startup.
Besides that, Malika also works as an assistant law professor at a university.
In 2019, people started ordering, and the number of satisfied customers increased drastically. As a result, people began reordering the products, and customers from places like Andaman and Nicobar started showing up. Finally, Malika registered her indigenous beauty startup, Masha by Malika, and placed a few handmade products made with locally available products.
The products included Kashmiri soap, made with pure Kashmiri honey, almond oil, goat milk, and rose petals available in the Kashmir terrain, and a facepack, which is made with ingredients like saffron. It works on any skin type, from normal to dry.
The motive of the company is to turn indigenous Kashmiri herbs into affordable beauty products that are natural and to support and empower different communities in the process.
The woman entrepreneur also provides a platform for underprivileged communities to learn skills that will enable them to take care of their own livelihoods.
“We believe in inclusivity, from the sourcing stage to production and consumption. “While all ingredients are ethically sourced from local farmers, we believe in affordable luxury because wellness shouldn’t be exclusive,” Malika says to Yourstory.
Malika later hired a medicinal plant expert who could formulate the products and assess their limited shelf life. The brand employs about five local women in manufacturing, packaging, inventory tracking, and logistics. The lady entrepreneur has turned her home into the brand’s manufacturing unit.
Profit and Future Plans
Currently, “Masha By Malika” has 15 to 20 products.
Malika is not rushing to secure outside financing because the company now makes between Rs 12 lakh and Rs 15 lakh yearly.
The founder is planning for expansion as she intends to leave her job and concentrate on her business full-time.
By the way, customers can reach them on their Instagram and Facebook pages.