The story of the unassuming Anoo’s Sisters, who built Hyderabad's popular beauty brand from scratch
Growing up in the 1980s in Hyderabad’s middle-class Tilak Nagar meant a full house — of constant chatter of four teenage girls, discussing everything from zits to cuticle damage to pigmentation. It was but natural for the enterprising siblings — two sets of twins separated by five years — Anuradha, Annapurna, Anupama and Aniruddha — to get together and convince their dad to let them set up a makeshift beauty parlour in their garage. Little did they know that by 2018, brand Anoo’s would have set up 37 salons across the Telugu states, Karnataka and one in Florida, USA, and hired over 500 personnel.
Anuradha Chepyala, known to be the calm and composed one among the quartet, and the spokesperson for the brand quips, “Our home was like a girl’s hostel and we never needed someone else to dole out beauty concepts. The in-house research and debates were enough to come up with our own line of products.” Hyderabad was a conservative city when they started with a home-based parlour, catering to extending family, cousins and friends. “I was the first one to go to Mumbai, stay in a cousin’s house and do a quick course in beauty treatments and my sisters, all quick learners, got together to start more salons. With the way our business was growing, we knew we could ask dad to let us work from one of the houses he used to rent out, as we were confident we could pay him back. In three years (1982), we could sustain the business. Our passion for all things beautiful made us embrace it madly,” says elder sister Anuradha. The siblings, all graduates from Osmania University, soon realised that an academic touch works wonders and took turns to graduate from Christine Valmy Beauty School, New York. Today, the brand has salon chains, a product line, merchandise and a beauty school housed at their corporate office in Somajiguda. The secret to their steady growth is perhaps their ability to think ahead and act fast. “As early as 1989, we imported the FDA-approved IB Probe, a technology from US which was the city’s first electrolysis equipment. In 1992, we started scientific weight loss centres. We imported the first laser machinery for hair removal in 1999,” she says.
However, it was their exposure to international beauty workshops and exhibitions abroad that made them realise that the best salons and spas in the world are using Indian herbs and kitchen ingredients for their treatments. “We have our own R & D unit here and after five years of research, we decided we had to get back to the basics. All our products (used in the salons and sold retail) are chemical-free and made with natural ingredients such as neem, mint, camphor, mud, oatmeal etc. Our 100 per cent natural products have ingredients that the Indian royalty used,” she states proudly. “Our products are available in literally every supermarket and neighbourhood provision store on the same rack that sells atta and salt. That is our level of market penetration,” states Anuradha. While Anuradha is a trained cosmetologist, Annapurna Polsani looks after the training wing and sets up service protocols. Anupama Thakallapalli is the one who travels around the world to attend international beauty seminars, training programmes, health shows, conferences and exhibitions while Anirudha Miryala, the youngest, operates Anoo’s Herbal Day Spa ( Skin Retreat) at Miami, Florida, USA. “We are all as different as chalk and cheese, but we work in synergy for our collective dream,” she adds. As they are set to take a leap into franchise model in 2019, she recalls. “In the 90s, our family and friends convinced us to take up teaching, law or banking or just ‘sit at home’. Anything, but beauty business, they pleaded. Today, the same folks send their kids to us for jobs and ask them to take selfies with us,” says Anuradha. Looks like the sisters are indeed having the last laugh.