Couturier, actor and entrepreneur, Masaba Gupta needs no introduction. She is unapologetically ambitious and works hard to earn the reputation that she has today in the fashion world. In 2020, Masaba made a foray into acting with the series Masaba Masaba and followed it up with last year’s Modern Love Mumbai and the second season of her eponymous show. The designer has launched a makeup line called Lovechild Beauty in collaboration with Myntra. FPJ caught up with the designer to know more about Masaba's plans for expansion, the idea behind these quirky names, the pressure of being in a beauty business, life after marriage and her idea of equality in Indian society.
Excerpts from the interview:
From House of Masaba to Lovechild Beauty, how has your journey been?
The journey from House of Masaba to Lovechild has been full of learning. Even though there have been many ups and downs and a roller coaster ride there has been immense learning. I never did an internship or job before I launched my label House of Masaba. I think that worked for me. I was so spontaneous and agile in making decisions and changing things. But one thing that happened since I launched my label is that I have become a little bit unemotional about business decisions. That wasn’t there when I launched my label. I used to take everything personally and make everything about me. I would take professional failures personally. But now it has changed, my professional success is not my success.
Why the name Lovechild Beauty?
Because I am a love child. It’s a term that has been associated with me for so long not that instead of constantly putting me into a negative box, let’s just launch a brand since people really love this term.
Lately, a lot of celebrities have ventured into the beauty business. What makes Lovechild stand out?
I don’t think of myself as a celebrity. I am an entrepreneur first and then everything else. My brand is not a ‘Me Too’ brand. I ventured into beauty back in 2015 and then I learned a lot and finally launched my line. There’s a lot of research behind launching this product. The reason behind this is that there is more space for beauty brands. There was a time when women would use one branded lipstick and wait for someone to come from abroad to bring that lipstick. I wanted to create a brand for a younger audience and that’s why it is so vibrant.
Do you have any plans to go overseas and expand your brand?
We ship globally in about 72 countries. The plan is to solidify and talk about the products more. We want to be available internationally not just online but offline as well. A lot of people ask me if my brand is for Indians living abroad. It’s for everybody living anywhere in the world. We will enter the international market in a big way but as of now, it’s through pop-ups and testing the market in small ways. I want my product used by mixed people across the world. As a woman of colour, I understand colour a bit more. I understand the amount of diversity you need in one category. There are so many different colour tones out there and being mixed is all the more challenging. We are an India-proud brand and the time has come to stop shying away from being India-proud.
Do you feel the pressure or responsibility when your name is added to a product you launch?
Yes, it is! Which is why I have to be very careful with the products. It’s not like clothes, where if it doesn’t fit we get a new piece or alteration. Beauty is on the face and if it does something bad to my face you lose the chance. There’s only a first impression. We work very hard with each product meticulously. We take care of our formulation and if we don’t find any ingredient or technique in India we do go abroad to source it.
How do you balance everything?
I am obsessed with work. As a woman, I feel your validation only comes through your work. No matter who you were born to, who you are married to, how many enforcements you have, or how many paps are taking your pictures, eventually, it's the products that I have created for every home that is the sign of success for me.
We hardly appreciate a workaholic woman in India. How do you respond to that?
I think we need to change our stance. I understand compromise and adjustments like sometimes you have to not do certain things to spend time with your family. But I think the man also needs to do that in equal proportions. Sometimes, when the kid is sick, the woman has to leave work and go home to take care of the child. Why can't a man do that? He is also doing a job. I think both partners need to have understanding and clear communication. But I tell you this, people who are educated also say this. There's nothing to do with privilege. I know many educated, privileged and wealthy people who need a housewife. It's something that's so engraved in our culture that now women have to take a stand and say that they are not going to bow down to your ideas of what marriage is. Moreover, I think, if a woman is financially independent no one can say anything. You don't have to ask for money to buy your lipstick, you can buy it for yourself.
Has anything changed after marriage?
Nothing has changed. My husband is a very chilled-out and disconnected person from the world. He doesn’t give a damn about the press or the industry. When I go home I am completely different. You don’t meet the person I am at work. Nothing has changed so far. I still work as a crazy person. My team is waiting for me to go on a honeymoon so they can get a leave. But it’s not happening anytime soon.
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