In Hong Kong, There Might Not Be A Better Hairdresser Than Anaitha
What’s your story?
My work experience has been varied and sometimes glamorous. While I was in college, I was the ’emsee’ for hundreds of shows in Bangalore. I pursued acting in the theatre, released a pop album with Sony-BMG, as a singer, and acted in Bollywood. After that, I married and moved to Hong Kong, where I had a baby, and by age 26, I found the career that most captivates me. My guiding force has always been, “love what you do,” and hairdressing makes me want to wake up every morning and dive into an 8 to 10 hour day of non-stop standing on my feet, working my hands and shoulders to the bone, and making conversation with every wonderful person I meet. I’m a one woman show who has no assistants, so it’s exhausting, but I truly love it!
What excites you most about your industry?
Every creative field has exciting and endless options. The hairdressing industry is a wonderfully creative space to work in today, as hairdressers and clients are pushing the boundaries of what they want to achieve in their personal style. The ability to make a woman feel like a brand new person, in just a few hours, is the most satisfying experience. It’s what motivates me every day to provide the best results for my clients.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in India, grew up in Saudi Arabia, moved back to India, then to Singapore, and landed in Hong Kong, after getting married.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hongkong has been the best place for someone like me. I started my business on my own, on a dependent visa, before I became a PR. It’s easy, efficient, and transparent, not just to register and start a business, but to also continue a business. Every process and system is put in place to encourage business start ups.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Do what you love and love what you do.”
Who inspires you?
In the “Hair World,” Sonya Dove! She is someone who hasn’t just reached the pinnacle of success in her field, but continues to generously share, educate and connect with people who want to achieve more. She’s humility personified, for someone so talented.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
A face framing foil placement that I’ve been trying to master for a few months now. I finally got it absolutely right and the results are phenomenal.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing at all. I don’t believe in looking back with regret. We all make decisions in the moment based on what we feel is the best decision at the time. So what’s the point in wanting to go back in time and change it? If I went back in time, I’d make the exact same decisions because they were the best decisions for me, at the time.
How do you unwind?
Spending time with my husband and 6 year old, singing, reading and making art.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Thats a tough one. I think every Asian country is the definition of tourism, relaxation, delicious food and fun! Though Thailand and Vietnam would be high on my list.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Hairdressing books aren’t really everyone’s cup of tea, so I’ll go with “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood,” by Trevor Noah. I read it a while back, and loved everything about him, and especially his mother. It’s a crash course on Life, Survival, Acceptance, Progress and Success, in the garb of humour, with his mother at the helm of it all, being the badass, never say die, champion that she is.
Shameless plug for your business:
There is NO ONE that would love and respect your hair as much as I would, other than yourself, of course! Oh, and it helps that I’m really very good at what I do!
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.