A Chevening scholar and gold medallist in law from Kashmir University, Malika Ghalib Shah is a first generation entrepreneur who has set up her own brand of organic skincare products which she hopes will achieve international fame one day.
By Ajaz Rashid
Despite being one of the brightest students, a gold medallist from Kashmir University, who’s currently working as an Assistant Law Professor at one of the reputed law colleges in India, Malika Ghalib Shah didn’t strangulate her passion.
She has given wings to her passion by introducing a wide range of handmade skincare products in Kashmir which has also given an alternative to thousands of people to take care of their skin with harmless and natural beauty products.
“I started my business (MaSha) in 2019 with a purpose to share Kashmiri heirloom recipes with the world,” said Malika Ghalib Shah.
Malika Ghalib Shah has done her schooling from Presentation Convent High School and B.A.LLB (Hons.) degree from Kashmir University. She was then selected for the Young India Fellowship Program offered by Ashoka University on H.D.Parekh Scholarship. After working in Kashmir for a couple of years, she was selected for the prestigious Chevening Scholarship. She did her LLM from UCL, London.
“Fed up of chemical-laden products and how they adversely impact our overall well-being, my passion for creating natural products found a commercial outlet through my brand ‘MaSha’.”
Malika belongs to one of the well-settled and educated families of Kashmir and she has a well-paid job. Despite this, she chased her passion with dedication and her success has turned her into an inspiration for thousands of unemployed youth.
“Our price point is very competitive given the market standard, and all the products are handmade in small batches to ensure the utmost level of hygiene and quality,”
“My father is an officer in the government and my mother runs her own school, but I had a passion for starting my brand, ‘MaSha’. We sell a wide range of natural skin, hair and body care range under this brand name,” she said, adding, “All the products are properly formulated to ensure the final products that reach the customer is nothing but the best.”
Describing the speciality and uniqueness of her products, Malika said that all the products at MaSha are handmade using locally and ethically sourced ingredients, primarily from the valley of Kashmir. She said the topography and climate of Kashmir make it home to several exotic herbs which are not found in other parts of India or even Asia.
“Use of these ingredients make our products special, and our brand aims at recreating traditional Kashmiri beauty secrets and combine them with scientific research and knowledge,” she said.
The products by Masha are unique as their mission is: Farm to Face, Create, Empower, and Heal. The brand is conscious of the community it is working with and is dedicated to giving back to society. They directly source material for production from farmers and cultivators to avoid their exploitation at the hands of middlemen. Moreover, in the production process, they employ local Kashmiri women from marginalised communities intending to play a part in their empowerment.
“Use of natural ingredients make our products special, and our brand aims at recreating traditional Kashmiri beauty secrets and combine them with scientific research and knowledge,”
The products made at Masha are not limited to a particular gender, but they have targeted all people of all genders and age groups across India because they have something for everyone.
At present, skincare products come at high prices and have become unaffordable for an ordinary person. Keeping that thing in view, MaSha has kept the price range affordable.
“Our price point is very competitive given the market standard, and all the products are handmade in small batches to ensure the utmost level of hygiene and quality,” said Malika. “These are the products of a lot of labour, knowledge and love. We believe in wellness and the fact that wellness shouldn’t be exclusive.”
In her venture, Malika said that her family has always been supportive of her. “My family has always supported and guided me. Whether it was career option or business, the family support remained an inspiration for me,” Malika said.
She said that despite producing around 30 products, she has always been appreciated for her work as well as the quality by the customers. There are many products for which she imports natural material from outside Kashmir, but she never compromises on the quality. She is working hard and has set a target to take her brand to national and international levels.
“I would like to, and I really hope I can, become a household name in India and later internationally in terms of natural skin care products. I am inspired by the journey of Body Shop, Estee Lauder, Farsali,” she said.
Her words show her passion for her brand. She is more enthusiastic towards her brand and when asked what would be her future, a law professor or an entrepreneur, she replied: “I would love to follow my passion (MaSha) till it reaches the stage I aspire for it to reach. Every day is a new journey. It is a continuous struggle where you learn each step of the way. There’s never a dull moment.”
Speaking about the road ahead for the aspiring entrepreneurs, she said that Kashmir has a great scope for new ventures, and the young and energetic entrepreneurs are doing a great job.
“I am pleased to see so many young entrepreneurs, especially women, doing what they love to do. With the growing number of entrepreneurs, the marketplace for them is also increasing. There are more opportunities than there were before,” she said.
She said winning the trust of customers is important for her, “Slow and steady wins the race. Chemical laden products may show quick results, but natural products show long-lasting results,” she added.