Every successful business has an inspiring and tough road story to tell. One such of inspiring story of four sisters who changed the face of the grooming industry coming right up folks… So grab yourself a cup of Coffee and some snacks…
In the 80’s ‘Grooming’ and ‘styling’ was not a common practice unless you were in the showbiz or working for the hospitality industry. So to be a beautician was definitely a tumultuous journey. Women entrepreneurship was never easy Complexities were due lack of awareness and business acumen. Defying these odds, Anuradha Chepyala, Polsani Annapurna and twins Takkallapalli Anupama and Anirudha Miryala — known as ‘Anoo sisters’ with self-belief and support from their parents changed the definition of beauty business in Hyderabad.
Annapurna, one of the sisters takes a step back to recall their 37-year journey into the industry and the roadblocks they overcame.
“Imagine a beauty salon in a garage,” laughs Annapurna. Yes, a garage, the starting point of their start-up, an idea mooted by their father Thirupati Rao, a municipal commissioner. The girls while pursuing their studies they pursued their their interest in beauty as well. “We had no restrictions and could pursue whatever we wished to. My father was a feminist and a visionary. He encouraged us and my mother to study and take competitive exams.” When Anuradha and Annapurna started the salon Anoo’s in the garage of their Tilak Nagar house, the colony witnessed a celebration. “Most residents were our acquaintances and were happy and proud of our venture. My mother’s friends would bring their daughters for bridal make-up, waxing and facials.”
Initially, their clients were a handful, but numbers grew rapidly. The four siblings joined by two of their cousins needed a bigger space and then extended the salon to one portion of their house (“With an income of ₹2000, we paid ₹400 rent to father”).
They brushed aside snide remarks from their uncles and aunts who disapproved of girls cutting other people’s hair! (ugh! the taboo back then)
The sisters later got married, moved to different areas in and around Hyderabad. Their business expanded as well into the Vidya Nagar, Himayath Nagar and Secunderabad areas. Annapurna calls their beauty venture ‘a need-based one’ and explained how her desire to get the hair on her chin removed had led to their interest in unwanted hair removal methods and electrolysis.
She says, “Initially, there was no competition, but women were not ready to accept this beauty culture. Now, with focus on looking good the competition too has increased with global brands launching services here. The beauty industry is growing rapidly.” The sisters enrolled at Butic College of Beauty in Mumbai and Christine Valmy Beauty School in New York and opened their Anoo’s Clinic and Beauty School in Somajiguda in 2006. While Annapurna, Anuradha and Anupama live in Hyderabad, Anirudha lives in the U.S. and opened an Anoo’s branch in Florida.
The market grew and with it their business. Their pan-India and overseas market was boost to the lifestyle industry granting about 500 girls employment opportunities in their institutes. Discussing her views on women’s emancipation, she says, “Most girls come from less-privileged backgrounds and are pressured to juggle various roles at home. We often share our stories to tell them the hard work we put in to reach here. We help them understand they are the best managers. I feel proud to see them support themselves and their families too.”
Talking about the pitfalls, she says, “It is tough for us to constantly adjust with the system, our business faced rough weather with the Telangana agitation and the GST period. We struggled to pay salaries to our employees. We have regained our foothold focussing more on treatment-based procedures.”
Annapurna, now a grandmother says she draws her energy from her 85-year-old father. “He scolds me if I don’t leave for office by 9 am,” she laughs and adds, “We took years to build this brand and continue to work with the same passion.”