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Ziba Beauty Centers’ Success is a Labor of Love

ARTESIA, California — Every successful person has followed their own unique path, and sometimes that path takes many surprising turns. For Kundan "Kelly" Sabarwal, the winding road to success was more like a round-the-world trip, starting in Teheran, Iran, and passing through New Delhi, Dubai, London, and New York City before she settled in Southern California. But that’s where the success story only begins. In 1988, inspired by an idea from one of her daughters and with the commitment of her family to work beside her, Kelly founded Ziba Beauty Center, which has grown far beyond her initial expectations to become one of the world’s most innovative and influential salons.

"I was trained at top salons in Teheran, New Delhi and London before coming to America," Kelly says. "I needed a job, so my daughter Sumita suggested I open my own salon. I knew threading, the hair-removal technique used by South Asian women for centuries, so I knew I could get some business from our local community. I told the family, ‘If you’re all with me, let’s go for it!’ That is how we started, and I had no idea that our traditional Eastern beauty secrets we introduced to America would be such a success."

Ziba’s traditional yet updated beauty techniques have proven so popular that the original salon in Artesia has had to expand three times to accommodate their growing clientele, and is now joined by two new Ziba Beauty Centers in Orange County near South Coast Plaza and at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach. In addition to their expertise in threading (known as "the Ziba way") the salon is responsible for launching the international fashion craze for mehndi, also known as the henna tattoo, sported by celebrities like Madonna, Jennifer Aniston and Liv Tyler in videos, on magazine covers and at Hollywood galas. More recently Ziba has introduced its own line of skincare products and facial packs, and has added facials, massage therapies and an expert makeup artist to its menu of services.

Although Ziba’s products and services have met with great market acceptance, perhaps the most important factor in its success is the warm hospitality, the unconditional welcome each patron feels on every visit, which has created a loyal clientele now extending into the second generation of customers.

The warmth and welcome that customers experience is more than a business strategy. As Kelly explains, "I’m a religious person, and that lets me see God in every person. Once you see that, you’ve made a connection with that person, because God has created her beautiful and we’re here to help enhance what God has created."