The ever-changing and evolving beauty industry is a testament to creativity and innovation. It has inspired not just women, but also men, from various sectors to chase their dreams and passions and taking this up as a career or even converting it into a full-time business of their own. From Mickey Contractor To Sapna Bhavnani and Sandhya Shekar to Adhuna Akhtar, the list of inspirational beauty gurus with their own successful brands goes on.

In conversation with TC46, Cosmetologist Dr Shagun Gupta talks about her own journey to being a makeup guru, shares her passion for the art of permanent makeup, and gives advice to aspiring creative minds who wish to enter this space.

1. What’s your educational & professional background?

I am a qualified Cosmetologist with a medical background from RKMV college Shimla H.P. As the founder of India’s first Permanent Makeup (PMU) Facility for Microblading, Permanent Eyeliner, Lip Restoration, Scar Camouflage, Areola and Scalp Micro Pigmentation, I am an internationally trained micro-pigmentation specialist from over more than 10 countries. I started in 1999 and hold 8 years of experience in running my own beauty clinic in Delhi. I have the privilege of being Indian president of the Federation of Korean Beauty Professionals and am a Diplomat and Fellow member of the American Academy of Micropigmentation.

As a part of my work, I have delivered K-beauty skincare lectures as a Total Beauty Lecturer (Korea). I am a Technical Trainer in Micro Pigments and have studied at the Heritage Reformed College Korea. Along with that, I hold the title of Advance Aesthetician, All Around Micropigmentation Specialist, Qualified Plasma Pen, Hyaluron Pen and Lash Extensions Master and Paramedical MicroPigmentation Expert from the USA.

My work has given me recognition and several awards like the Beauty Expert Of The Year In Permanent Makeup Art 2020 and Honorary Doctor of Philosophy from the Royal American University in the field of Permanent Makeup and Skin Care. I also work as Nouveau Contour Indian Ambassador And Brand Representative In India and Netherland Based Skincare Brand Dermatude Representer in India.

2. What prompted you to get into permanent makeup and artistry? How big is the market for such a venture in India?

I have been in the beauty industry for the last two decades. In 2008, when I was doing my advanced aesthetics course in London, I learnt about the art of permanent makeup and also tried it on myself. That was the turning point as it became my goal to bring this art to my own country. It’s a vast subject and this kind of education is never-ending. The more you study it and the more you enhance your practical knowledge, the better you become. There is a great demand, huge market and big business opportunities for permanent makeup in the Indian beauty industry.

3. Did you always know you wanted to work in this space?

I always knew that beauty was my passion. At the age of 14, when I was in school, I used to learn part-time and assist and do procedures on the clients in a beauty clinic near my house. As I was from a modest background, I could not pursue my medical studies. I decided to study beauty and use my knowledge to launch my own business.

4. What was your first milestone & how did you get there?

I always wanted to introduce something new to the Indian beauty market. When I came across the world of permanent makeup, from that moment, I decided to master this area of the beauty industry. In 2014, Korea was the first country where I started learning about cosmetic pigments and lash extensions. Then, I travelled to Europe, Dubai, Singapore and many more countries. Finally, in 2018, I became an All-Around Micropigmentation Specialist from Orlando, USA and launched the world’s number one brand Nouveau Contour in India.

5. What are your tips for someone looking to become a permanent makeup artist?

The first and only tip is experience. And yes, you have to study at a genuine and reputed institute. This is of utmost importance as Permanent Makeup is specialised, artistic and medical work. Lack of experience can result in damage to the client’s skin. And if performed incorrectly, the removal and correction process is more difficult and painful than the original one. 

6. Are there any courses, certifications or training schools you recommend?

I do teach at my own international academy which provides Indian, American, European and Korean certifications. Shagun PMU Academy runs all kinds of basic and advanced courses based on the students’ background and experience. Our academy has trained more than 100 students over a period of 3 years. Today, India does not have a list of bankable permanent makeup education institutes. But now this market has started growing fast, due to awareness about the results and the procedures being not that painful.

7. How can one build their personal brand & name in the beauty and artistry space?

Based on my personal experience, what’s worked for me is being passionate, hardworking and dedicated. You also need to keep an eye out for new advanced trends and understand the aesthetics and artistic part of beauty. These things have helped me build my brand, right along with ensuring 100% customer satisfaction.

8. How do you intend to expand your personal brand?

I’m in love with my work, which is my passion and I turned my passion into a business. Shagun Gupta Permanent Makeup Is A Boutique Studio, which is known for me performing the beauty procedures directly on the clients. It will be the only studio in India. 

But, we will have more training schools and academies. Firstly, we are planning to open soon in all metro cities and then tier 1 and tier 2 cities. Secondly, online live training is already a part of my academy and Shagun PMU Academy is dedicated to teaching on a daily basis. We are still in a process of building an online curriculum which will be ready by the end of 2021.

9. What is your social media strategy to grow awareness about your brand & about permanent makeup?

Truly, social media platforms are a blessing for me and through this, the Indian audience is getting more aware and knowledgeable. Yes, it takes up a lot of my personal time, sleep and is an added stress. But at the end of the day, I feel it is totally worth it.

I handle 50% of my social media work but 50% of the technical work is handled by professionals. The strategy is quite simple – be active and true to your real work which you showcase every day. Keep the audience engaged with your beautiful artwork and real-life images and videos of the work down on clients along with testimonials.

10. Are you looking for funding, investment or franchising of your clinic?

Not yet, but if I do find someone or a group who really understands the style and aesthetic luxury that is synonymous with the brand I am building, then I may look into it.

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About Self-Starters

We spotlight inspiring women who are entrepreneurs or have skill-based passion projects and are willing to share knowledge, advice and tips about getting started in the space. Each Self-Starter’s story will be highlighted in a prime slot on the Homepage for a whole week, after which their story will appear under the ‘Work’ category on The Channel 46.