Happy Birthday Mom :)

My mom has been one of the biggest influences in my life. Whenever I wish to embark on a new venture or have an idea, I like to discuss it with her. While she always listens, she also manages to give me some insight that I had not considered . It’s funny how patient she has been with my energy. So much so, that I often wonder if that is how she was when she was my age.  Her home is the only place where I can go argue with her passionately and then a few hours later, break bread with her laughing and enjoy our time together.

When I think about it, my mom was far ahead of her time in terms of being an entrepreneur. 25 years ago, she began Ziba Beauty’s journey with her last paycheck. She had just been laid off. Instead of panicking, she took a leap of faith and began a small 900 square foot salon doing something that she had been passionate about since she was a young girl.

What amazes me is that my sister and I joined her unquestioningly because mom seemed to know that we had a great idea.  At the time, not many had heard about the Art of Threading. What made us even more unique was my mom’s refusal to just be an owner. Instead, she was the receptionist, henna artist, threader as well as the office manager.

Watching her do all these roles inspired me to do always do more than one role, and not be content being successful only at one area.  It is to my mom that I credit my passion and love for all things beauty.  So today on her birthday, I just wish to say to her “I love you and also thank you.”

Celebrating Independence

Our independence day has come and gone, yet I still have the glow of gratitude for what an amazing holiday it was. I love how we celebrate the 4th of July. It is a time of fireworks, family gatherings, appreciation of those who have or are serving. I also hope that many take a moment to reflect on the fact that we live in a country that celebrates independence fearlessly. I still hear the random pops of fireworks, and I smile at the excitement they create inside me.

As someone who experienced Independence Day in a different country when young, I am struck with some of our similarities. India is the largest democracy in the world and hosts a great mix of ethnicities, religions and beliefs inside its borders. The main difference to me is the focus put on freedom. It is not just about freedom to do what we please, but the right not to as well. We focus not on just the majority’s view but alone the minority to  have the right not to follow that view.

Too often, I catch myself getting involved in just the fireworks of daily life, but then come certain days like the 4th of July which remind that there are those who have fought for me right to just enjoy freedom. And that is the most freeing thought ever.

Friendships Don’t Die

Last week, I ran into an old friend who was getting her eyebrows threaded at Ziba Beauty. When I say old friend, I mean from twenty years ago, and surprisingly she looked exactly as I remembered her. When I asked her why she didn’t call me, she said she just assumed I was out town (which has been the case lately). She thought  Just seeing her instantly brought back warm memories of the younger me when I was not married, and just a brash woman who was out to prove the world wrong.

My friend and I took different paths, but those few hours over a cup of tea and then later on dinner reminded me all over again why we had been such good friends. Sure,the distance had the communication difficult but a chance encounter reignited our friendship. I truly believe that are no chance encounters. Those moments always have something to either teach you or remind you of what life can be. Seeing my friend allowed me to experience our rich history, and how much we missed each other. We both saw our outer older selves, but inside we were still the girls when we first met.

That’s something I will always cherish.


A Moment

Today. I woke up to a glorious morning. The sun was peeking into my window with slices of light that looked like lazers. I sat in bed, just feeling grateful for that moment. It is so easy to get caught up with our to do lists and putting out fires that we  lose sight of the precious moments life provides us.

One of the first lessons I learned from my mother is appreciation of all that we had.   Growing up, I never felt like I was missing out on material goods.  In fact, the love from our extended family made my life feel full and everything within reach. Those are the same values I hope to instill in my children. I hope that they know that the strength they see in me came from a foundation of deep love and respect for each other. We took care of our own whether it be a co-worker, cousin, family friend or a sibling.

I am thankful for the journey that I embarked on 25 years ago with Ziba, and each time I step into the office. the sense of pride I feel working with my loved ones is a feeling I hope to cherish for the rest of my  life.

The sun slowly rose, blanketing the room with light just like it had been doing for eons, but I felt blessed to have shared that moment with it, and with you..

Wishing you a blissful week,


Graduation Dreams

Watching my niece’s college graduation this past weekend while celebrating Father’s Day was truly a special day for myself and my family. It’s moments like this that I treasure as I see yet another strong woman emerge from my family. Growing up, I never asked myself what I could accomplish as a woman because quite frankly, I had parents who made the question “what can’t I achieve?”  The question of gender never came up because we were raised to be independent and free thinkers. My willfulness created a life path for me that I am extremely proud of, and a personality trait that I have worked hard to instill in everyone in my family. Not just siblings or children, but anyone I consider family. Too often, I have seen words bring people down, and I am determined to do the opposite even when all what someone wants to do is give up.

Giving up is NOT an option.  My niece’s graduation affirmed for me and others that sometimes we take different routes to get to a destination. Some may judge that route, but really if the destination is what matters then it doesn’t matter how one gets there.

I am grateful for the life lessons from my mom and sister that I have been able to give to my children as well as family members. It is a blessing to know that I have the ability to show gratitude for the ones who have created my life experience.  It’s not easy to follow your dreams somehow, but the women in my life have shown me that is is possible.

My Passion

It is a surreal feeling to be back in Sunny Southern California while still jetlagged from crossing several international lines.  It is times like this why I wonder why I do this to myself. I I know my mom asks me as well. To her, it seems like restlessness when, in fact, it is a desire to keep creating and moving forward. For me, stopping has never been an option. I am also blessed with a team that allows me to have my “head in the clouds” and dream of the future.  I am often asked how Ziba Beauty and Sumita Beauty became brands and category leaders in industries that are extremely competitive.  The answer has always been the same: passion.  It’s a simple answer, but don’t confuse it with being an easy one.

I have always either forged ahead or created a new path for myself. I remember that I was the first female student at the all male Rotary Public School in India. The principal, who became a mentor, advised that it wouldn’t be good for me to be the first, and my response was why not.  In fact, due to my enrollment, I am proud to say that the school now accepts females into it’s program.  I always lived in black and white. Anyone who knows me that I am a straight shooter. That’s not to say that I am always right, but to illustrate that I don’t lie and don’t think much of others who think that the path to success lies on stepping on others’ backs. No, the journey is always the same for those with passion, but it’s not easy.

Take it one day at a time. And surround yourself with people who know who you really are not what you represent.

The Inspiration of Maya Angelou

I am sitting in my Dubai Hotel room, missing my children and husband terribly.  To make matters worse, I just  heard about the passing of one of my favorite author’s, Maya Angelou. Instantly, it reminded me of my favorite quote by her: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I have posted it in various forms on social media as Food For Thought for my team, or as an inspiration to friends and family, but most importantly, as my personal mantra being the CEO of a beauty brand.  Sure, that may sound a bit hokey or even self-serving, but let me explain further. 

The last few months have been a blur of travel, and each time I leave my family to attend a conference, convention, or meeting, I make sure they understand it is not for business. Money comes and goes, but what has moved me around the world for the past 20 years has been idea of making people feel special. For me, it has never been about threading, mehndi or beauty products. The question I am constantly asking myself and others around me is what can we do as people to make a difference. I see my business as a way to educate, to show the beautiful world of South Asia with an artistic twist that informs while it beautifies.

Sure I sound either too naive or too idealistic, but Maya Angelou inspired me to do better, to be different so I could make people feel positively. Today, we lost a great soul. Let her words be our guideposts in life. Let her words mean more than just letters on a page.  From my end, I intend to keep trying to make feel something. What about you?

2014 Fashion Trends

BEAUTY TRENDS  FOR SPRING 2014 by Sumita Batra


Is it spring or summer?  Based on what I am seeing and reading in fashion, there are several interesting trends that caught my eye, and I think would make for a great experiment for those of you always looking for something new.


The spring is back loaded with the latest beauty trend for this season! Go get yourself a spring clean at a good salon, ditch the old boring look, pamper yourself with a latest trendy makeover, and step out of the salon scorching hot and watch the temperature rise around you!


We are listing a few of the cant-help-but-follow beauty trends this season for each category, you can mix and match some of the latest trends and make your own style statement.


Mesmerizing Manes:



Messy braids are making a big statement this season. So whether it is a 2 strand, 3 strand, French braid, Dutch braid, or whatever braid ….. Just get it messy.



Romantic and tousled up-do’s are the latest trend with a few loose tangles caressing the face and neck which would make you feel like a princess. Also another version is a braided up-do which can be worn for weddings and parties.


Regal Accessories

Get that fairytale look with Silk flowers strategically placed to give that beautiful, dreamy look. Tie a scarf like a band or wrap your head in a scarf to get that 60’s look or use an actual band to keep the growing bangs off your face.


Bobs of all shapes and sizes from smooth to choppy and textured and wavy are making a come back. Good news for all girls with short hair, get yourself that slick bob this season and look chic.


Low ponytails appear to be the new trendsetter. With the hair gathered and tied together at the nape, it is a simple and a good solution for a bad hair day.




Thick, dark, groomed eyebrows are the favorite this season. Everyone is insanely in love with bold brows . Not just the models even the celebrities like are going crazy with their strong eyebrows.


Enticing Eyes:


This season you can go for a feline look with a dramatic cat eyes and look like a wild temptress, or Go in for that enigmatic look with the blue or pastel green eye shadows, which are a rage this season,



Luscious Lips:


Corals for lips, orange mania everywhere, actors on the red carpet, models on the ramp, all of them are hypnotizing us with different shades of orange. The rage of orange was seen at various fashion houses.  The other favorite hues of the season are berry red color and the purple-pink orchid color, which will make you look as exotic and vibrant as the orchids. Also some of the neutral colors are in trend like the beige, rose, and brown to focus more on the bright eye makeup.


Scintillating Skin:


Yes Radiant, glowing skin is the fashion statement for 2014. There is no girl in this world that would not want a glowing, sun kissed skin. If you are blessed with it, you must take good care of it, and if you don’t have it naturally not to worry you can get that glowing skin you always longed for with some of the beauty products


Natty Nails:


Nails are seeing all bare and dare colors this season. Its either all black or all white. Matte texture is more preferred. Nail art is subdued this season with just stripes, checks, or rims, c.  The moon mani (just the crescent of the nail bed is painted in a contrasting shade over a nude or dark background) has become popular this.  Metallic colors are also the in thing this season, either a single tone or double tones.  Spring is given a warm welcome with pastel nail colors that seem to be straight out of a bouquet.


So what are you waiting for, its time to get out of that cocoon and morph your self into a trendy hot fashionable woman!

Eyebrows are like shoes??!!

Many don’t realize it but thin eyebrows are one of the first clear signs of aging. Eyebrows frame the face, show emotion, and when shaped properly, brighten the eyes and define the cheekbones.  In terms of physical features, other than a full head of hair, nothing is more important in looks than a great set of eyebrows.  Earlier generations of women knew this, but I feel that many now just see it as a beauty aid. They don’t seem to realize that too-thin eyebrows are something of a silent assassin. I remember smiling reading a New York Times Article that stated “eyebrows are like shoes; you won’t notice them unless they are exquisitely right or disastrously wrong.”

I have also noticed that along with thin eyebrows, many women suffer from crow’s feet which can make one look even older. Some in the beauty industry have managed to put the focus on marketing cures for that knowing full well that it is near impossible to get rid of crow’s feet. The simplest cure is fuller eyebrows. A brow makeover is an anti-aging miracle.  Well shaped eyebrows make an immediate difference in your perceived age.  So instead of wasting your time and money on those supposed “miracle cures” why not just ensure that you have the best eyebrows? Just like you know what the perfect shoe is for you, come to Ziba to know what the perfect eyebrow is.

The Politics of Threading

I was recently reminded by my mom that I helped create a new beauty category not just in California but in the United States. I reminded her that that had not been my intent. I just wanted to right a wrong. I am not a political person by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I avoid political discussions, and for that matter, politicians. However, almost 10 years ago, I got fed up with the State Board of Cosmetology handing us tickets for “unlicensed activity.”  When I asked the inspector what activity, they referred to Threading. The State Board is the governing body for Cosmetologists and Estheticians, and technically anyone in the business of hair removal.

I asked how Threading could be licensed, and their response was it couldn’t be since it wasn’t taught at Cosmetology. So let me guess this right. You hand me at $1000 ticket for an activity that you don’t teach?  My mom and sister were as perplexed, and thus began my journey to convince the legislature that threading was more than hair removal. I called everyone I knew.  I attended meetings. I testified at committees.  I travelled to Sacramento so many times that it almost felt like a second home. My goal was simple  To education and inform them that threading  was a cultural activity that did not need to be regulated by a organization that didn’t teach it. After months of negotiations, I became part of a consortium that helped create an exemption for Threading, one of the only two given (the other was for African hair braiding).

Now I look around, and am amazed to see threading salons popping up as quickly as Starbucks.  What had started as my own small journey to create cultural awareness has now turned into a mainstream beauty trend.  I am grateful for all those who helped me realize this, and more, in awe of the power of the Art of Threading.