Extremely analytical, Dr Leena has a flair for the spectacular and has captured the imagination of the young elite Indians through her salon. And, her business is growing rapidly. Considering the success of her venture, Forbes called her the ‘Nail Tycoon’ while Femina addressed her as the ‘Nail Empress’. Needless to say, Dr Leena, who is savvy, stylish and foresighted, is truly a woman of substance.
In a candid conversation with Unique Times, she elucidates her work and reveals what it takes to be a spunky businesswoman.
Nails are small and not so noticeable even in close vicinity. Also, it is a niche industry. How did you get the idea to make a business out of it?
Yes, it’s very niche. But it is an area that has long been ignored by the beauty industry and therefore presents a huge opportunity. Like it or not, your appearance matters as that’s how people form opinions about you. Nails might be small but they have a big impact on our overall personality. Especially during business or personal interactions where one can’t help but look at your hands and unconsciously take in how beautiful or dirty the nails are. I strongly believe that if you don’t wish to turn people off and ruin your meetings, you have to take care of your nails, giving them the same attention and care you provide for your face.
People who understand this use it to their advantage by paying extra attention to their hands and nails and benefit from the positive impression they make. We truly believe that everyone must look at their best and that’s exactly what we offer. We must be doing things right because our patrons also seem to share our belief and consider it a big deal and care about and pay for our niche services.
You have a cosmopolitan perspective, yet you started this in Cochin, a place not as liberal as Mumbai or Delhi. What was the reason?
There is a lot in India beyond places like Delhi and Mumbai. Even though I have many friends and acquaintances in both places, it was just the reason why I chose to start from Kochi. I simply did not want to begin my business in a place where many people knew me. I wanted to gauge if my venture could make a difference. In a new place, I would have nothing but brand philosophy and quality of services to cover for me. If people accept it, I could say that my business idea had merit. So, it was kind of a test and it proved to be the right thing to do. People in Kochi loved what we offered. They kept coming back to us. Our patrons gave us the confidence to experiment and we introduced additional services. Our audience has been growing ever since and now we are in expansion mode and have plans for several operations in several other places.
What is the force behind you? Who have been your all-time influencers?
If there is one person whom I’d credit for all my success, it has to be my husband. He has been my strength. Someone who truly believes in me and wishes nothing but the best for me. His work ethic and integrity inspire me to do better every day. He has been there for me since day one and helped me realise my dream. He has been my strength in moments of weakness, gave me clarity when I was in doubt. Most importantly, he taught me to believe in myself and reach out for whatever I feel worth working hard for.
Apart from my husband, I believe it is the members of my team at The Nail Artistry who contributed towards making this venture a success. They stood by my side through thick and thin and helped me meet the expectations of our customers. I can never thank them enough for their hard work and dedication.
I would also like to credit myself a bit for having the vision and the will to pursue it relentlessly to realise the dream. Of course, being a Taurean also helps!
You're an actor, entrepreneur and model. Which role do you enjoy more? What are the challenges that helped you become this version of yourself?
All roles have their benefits but being an entrepreneur makes me content and liberated. I value achievements and being independent. It is only through what I love to do that I can have control over my life's direction. I also believe that a business person has more shelf life than an actor or model. So, that is yet another plus.
As a socialite, you tend to be a victim of rumours. What are the most bizarre rumours you have heard about yourself? You can list 3 or more:
As someone who respects everyone’s personal space and privacy, I steer clear of any rumour or the people who indulge in the same. Frankly speaking, I believe that giving even an iota of importance to a rumour or its perpetrators is a huge disservice to my value system and ethics. Rumours are what they are - unworthy of my time or a comment.
How has your husband been a rock for you throughout your life?
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