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Turning passion into profession

29-year old Srinagar girl starts business venture “Masha by Malika”, recreate traditional Kashmiri heirloom recipes

Post by on Friday, August 13, 2021

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Many women in Kashmir are opening up to the ideas of entrepreneurship leading to setting up of many women-centric businesses in fashion and beauty industry.
Kashmir is not only famous for its beauty but the herbs and medicinal plants also.  MalikaGalib Shah (29), a Srinagar resident and a qualified lawyer, chose to make herbal beauty products which are mostly preferred for skin care.
After completing her Masters degree in Law at the prestigious Cheveningthrough a scholarship program offered by the British Foreign and Commonwealth office at UCL, London, Malika started the venture “Masha by Malika” out of her sheer passion to recreate traditional Kashmiri heirloom recipes and in the process give back to the society.
“We turn indigenous Kashmiri herbs into affordable natural beauty products through empowered communities. We believe in inclusivity starting right from sourcing, to production and its ultimate consumption,” said Malika.
The ingredients are ethically sourced from the local farmers to recreate traditional Kashmiri heirloom recipes. The production process involves local women from marginalized communities, empowering them to realize the star within.
With the tagline ‘Farm to Face. Create. Empower. Heal’, Malik said that, they believe in affordable luxury as wellness shouldn’t be exclusive to only one class of the society.
Malika conceptualized the idea of this venture in early 2019 when she received some good response to her initial hair oil formulations that were up for sale on a social media platform with around 30k members. “It was their support that led to the start of this venture,” she said.
As a society we are tamed to learn that it is just one thing that we can pursue all lifelong -the field of study we have been a part of. However, the younger generation is unlearning this way of life by following their passion and profession simultaneously. Amidst the uncertainty we all are living in, there is no second career option after 40 that people are preparing for.
Malika believes it is a now or never situation where people are learning to manage their passion and profession and create a profession out of their passion.
“It’s precisely this thinking that has pushed me to follow my two passions – law and my love for natural formulations – together,” said Malika.
Masha by Malika currently has around 35 varieties of products for hair, skin and body. “We have a complete skin, hair and body care range, free of chemicals, artificial colors, and artificial fragrances,” she said adding “all the preparations are handmade, in smaller batches to ensure utmost quality standards.”
Masha’s hair oil range has 5 varieties of oils for varying hair concerns and similarly, the body lotion – “Phulai” uses food grade preservatives to ensure whatever they serve their clients is as close to nature as possible.
She has named all these products after the Kashmir term for their usage such as “Phulai” which means the first blossom of the spring season in Kashmiri and “Poat”, means smooth and silky feel in Kashmiri which they have used to brand their body massage oil.
“We source our ingredients locally and closely work with the farmer and women communities in the production process. We also have amedicinal plant expert on board for the preparation process,” she said.
The herbs like saffron, lavender, sandalwood, orange peel powder, wild turmeric, honey, apricots, almonds, walnuts and othersare used in production process.
At Masha they firmly believe in breaking gender stereotypes.“Our products are suitable for everyone, irrespective of their gender. Masha is ultimate answer to any skin and hair care related concern,” said Malika.
Malika believes the political condition in the region has been really difficult for entrepreneurs. She has been forced to stay online because of the frequent shutdowns, though she has always wanted to open a physical store for the brand.
She said, “Lack of awareness and implementation of the various social schemes for women entrepreneurs is another major hurdle that I have faced in my short journey so far. I would really urge the government to set up functional cells to aid, advice and mentor young women entrepreneurs of the region.”
Malikasays she has been fortunate enough to have a supportive family whose support helped a lot in starting her venture. “Behind every successful entrepreneur, it’s a supportive family that helps you to succeed,” she said.
She says that the response for Masha byMalika has been great so far. “People in the UK and US have also liked our products since there isn’t much out there in the beauty industry that perfectly suits the Asian skin,” said Malika adding “currently have 6 women working with us and the number only keeps increasing.”

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