Bahira Shami is the new CEO of Beauty Elite Group, having launched her career in the beauty industry soon after graduating from high school. No stranger to the beauty and haircare industry, her family is noted for creating CHI Haircare and Biosilk Haircare. As a young woman, Bashira began working at CHI. There, she gained direct and hands-on knowledge of all things related to beauty and haircare, as well as access to training and information that she would later leverage in her career.
As she grew into adulthood, Bahira Shami left her family’s business and struck out on her own, beginning her independent career as a salesperson at Beauty Elite Group. Within months, she had surpassed the company’s previous sales records, an accomplishment which earned her much recognition. In 2020, she was named Woman of the Year by the city of Houston, which was presented to her by the mayor. Soon after accepting that honor, Bahira Shami was promoted to the position of CEO of Beauty Elite Group, having worked with the company for only two years, at that point. In the time since, she has grown Beauty Elite Group into a thriving, vibrant company, and has cultivated a hardworking and close-knit employee culture. Bahira lives in Houston, where her company is headquartered.
Why did you decide to create your own business?
I grew up immersed in the beauty and haircare industry. My family created the companies CHI and Biosilk some time ago, and I started working for them at a very early age. There did reach a point, however, when I felt that I needed to strike out on my own. About two years ago, I was offered a position as a salesperson at Beauty Elite Group, and I made the choice to take it and give it everything I had. The results were amazing! I started accumulating high numbers almost immediately. Evidently, the higher-ups took notice of my accomplishments because within a period of two years, I was tapped to be the next CEO. So, although I didn’t create my own business, I am now the top executive at Beauty Elite Group. It’s an honor, as well as a great responsibility, and one that I don’t take lightly.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
I love that the whole modus operandi of this industry revolves around making people feel good about themselves. That is a wonderful pursuit.
What would you tell others looking to get into your industry?
From my own experience, I would say the single most important thing to do in order to succeed in this industry is to deliver positive results, and deliver them consistently. Networking is a good thing to do, and keeping your tasks and clients organized can never be bad, but this is ultimately a results-driven industry.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned managing your business/team?
The biggest lesson that I’ve learned—and I learned this from the entrepreneurs that are in my immediate family and have had decades of success—is to do whatever it takes to keep customers happy and your team happy. Happy customers usually translate into repeat customers who often recommend the company to friends and family, while happy employees are indisputably more productive employees.
Who has been a role model to you and why?
Everyone in my family, especially my father. He has given me invaluable advice throughout the years.
How do you maintain a work life balance?
Daily exercise is key for me to maintain balance, as is an active social life. Whenever possible, I also like to escape to an island for a week or two of relaxation.
What traits do you possess that make you a successful leader?
As a fairly young executive, I think I bring a certain point-of-view and disposition to my role that other, more traditional executives may have a difficult time replicating. And especially because our target demographic is heavily weighted towards Millennials and Gen Z, I think my relative youth is an asset. Beyond that, I pride myself on approachability, vision, and determination.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
After I was brought into the company as a salesperson, I began–to quote the words of one of my co-workers–“rewriting the record books” with my sales numbers. On its face, I think that’s a pretty big accomplishment, but it was extra special to me because I was trying to prove myself as an individual in the beauty and haircare industry, rather than simply an extension of my very successful family. I wanted to stand out and be recognized on the strength of my own merit.
What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
My father once told me to be very careful about the people I choose to trust. Although part of me wants to stay optimistic about the motives of others, I have, through experience, come to understand that my father’s advice is very wise, and it’s now always in the back of mind. In business, the motives of other people cannot always be trusted. It pays to be discerning about those who you consider to be honest, reliable, and acting in your best interest.
Where do you see you and your company in five years?
I think with a lot of hard work and little luck, Beauty Elite Group will become a $1 billion dollar company, and I believe that goal is attainable within the next five years.
Explain the proudest day of your professional life.
A few years ago, the City of Houston named me ‘Woman of the Year.’ I was completely surprised and delighted by receiving such an auspicious honor. It’s hard to explain the mix of pride and humility I experienced simultaneously as the mayor presented me with that beautiful plaque.