Getting to Know You: Bahira Shami, CEO of Beauty Elite Group

Born in Houston, Texas on June 16th, 2000, Bahira Shami launched her career in the beauty industry soon after graduating from St. Pius X High School in 2018.

Bahira is no stranger to that industry, as her family is well-known for founding CHI Haircare and Biosilk Haircare. Her career began working at CHI, where she gained the firsthand knowledge of the inner workings of the beauty industry, as well as  access to training and information that she would soon leverage striking out on her own.

Defying the odds, Bahira Shami left the comfort and stability of her family’s business and began her independent career after being hired by Beauty Elite Group. Within mere months, she had shattered the company’s previous sales records, a feat which earned her much recognition. In 2020, at the age of 19, she was named Woman of the Year in the city of Houston, an award which was presented by the mayor. Hot on the heels of that auspicious honor, Bahira was tapped to be the new CEO of Beauty Elite Group after working with the company for only a scant two years. Since then, she has grown the business into a thriving, vibrant concern, and has cultivated a hardworking and close-knit employee culture. Bahira Shami remains based in Houston, where her company’s headquarters is located. Her current focus is on developing the BlowPro brand, which can be found at www.blowpro.com.

What do you currently do at your company?

I’m the CEO of Beauty Elite Group. It’s my job to supervise every department and to make sure that everyone is getting their jobs done according to our high standards.

What defines your way of doing business?

I try to foster a work environment that is comfortable, while still promoting hard work at the same time. A vital element of that has been to not allow disputes or negative energies of any sort into the company. When we stopped tolerating those negative attitudes in the workplace, the work environment became a lot healthier and happier, and we found that everyone started working a lot harder, as well. I really cherish my employees, and I do everything I can to make sure everyone is comfortable and to make sure that we resolve any issues in a positive manner. As CEO, I much prefer to be respected rather than feared, and I’ve taken care to guide this company accordingly.

What keys to being productive can you share?

The most important key to productivity for me has been consistency. I’ve learned that following up on concerns and inquiries is the most important thing in this industry if you want to be successful, and you’ve got to be consistent about it. Following up, no matter how big or small the issue may be, is absolutely crucial. Those details, both big and small—whether they be related to personnel, company culture, inventory, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, or sales—are woven into the fabric of your company. Many people don’t realize the impact that seemingly minor issues can have.

And on the topic of consistency, no matter what you have going on outside of work, you have to leave that outside the company walls. When you’re at work, it’s about staying on top of your duties and thinking about how to complete your tasks and improve the efficiency of your organization. You’ve got to identify any mistakes being made and any processes that are taking longer than they should, and you need to solve those issues quickly and resolutely. As I always say, the best time to implement improvements is always the present.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

The long-term goal that I’m most focused on right now is reaching $1 billion in annual sales. It’s very clear to me that this goal is attainable, as my grandfather’s company is sitting at $2.7 billion. If he could make that happen in the environment that he did, in an era before the modern technology that we take for granted, then I have no good excuse not to do the same. And of course, I have the support of my employees and my family as I work toward that goal, so I hope that I can get there in the near future.

How do you measure success?

I measure success in a couple of different ways. As a business owner and CEO, I think the obvious answer to that would be by maintaining solid numbers. But when you have the integrity of your company behind you, the question of success goes so much deeper than that. I believe that one of the truest measurements of success is ensuring that everyone in your company can get their work done in a healthy environment. If you’re able to be profitable while providing good jobs to all of your employees and supporting their ways of life, the company will only ascend even higher from there—and the sky’s the limit! Feeding that cycle leads to providing even more good jobs and helping even more people, and it’s a winning situation for the company and everyone else concerned. In the business community, pursuit of that cycle is what links all of us together.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

If I had to pick just one, it would be a lesson that my father taught me when he told me to trust very few people. He told me to keep my circle small, because it’s difficult to know who might be hiding bad intentions. Even when you have nothing but good intentions when dealing with someone else, you never know how they might feel about you in return. I’ve had to overcome many obstacles related to this in my career, often due to jealousy about my age and my upbringing. So, when he taught me that I needed to keep my circle small, his words rang true. I’ve since applied that advice to my life across the board, and it has only improved my situation in so many ways. I’m able to better preserve my privacy, the privacy of my company and its employees, and my integrity as a person and as a CEO. I’m better able to look after my own wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of my employees.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

The best advice I can give anyone is to be genuine and be compassionate. Once you build a team and start working with these people closely, you’ll want them to see you for who you really are and you’ll want them to understand what you’re able to provide for them so that they can give you their best in return. Don’t be tempted to put up any sort of fake persona because that persona will slip when things aren’t going your way, and you’ll end up losing the trust and respect of your employees. I bring up employees in these answers so much because, from the perspective of a chief executive, your employees are your company. Without their hard work and their respect for your leadership, you have nothing. As long as you can be yourself and be true to yourself, that’ll carry through to the rest of the company.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

I love traveling. I enjoy visiting islands, and sometimes just getting away from it all is good for my mental health. I also enjoy horseback riding, and I’d love to find more time to dedicate to painting.

How would your colleagues describe you?

I believe my colleagues would describe me as fun, yet hard-working. That’s the sort of environment I try to foster in my workplace, and what better way to foster that environment than by embodying it?

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

I maintain a solid work life balance by limiting the time I spend working outside of standard office hours. At times, especially further back in the past, I found myself getting carried away with working at home during what should be my down time. Once I started making the effort to minimize that and set limits for myself, I was able to see how those habits were affecting my life and how I needed to focus on balancing my time. I’m prone to getting so invested in work that it becomes all I do 24/7, and although I do have fun with it, I’ve seen how it negatively impacts my relationships and friendships outside of work. I was able to find the right balance between my work and my personal life when I started learning to recognize my limits and stopped working at home.

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Getting to Know You: Bahira Shami, CEO of Beauty Elite Group