WOW | Beauty
Neel David Katwal is the first Nepali hairstylist and makeup artist to gain international recognition. He has been successful in establishing a brand whose franchise is highly demanded in India and gaining recognition from European countries. He is currently running 65 salons in Nepal and India and targets to open a hundred by the end of 2021.
Neel is known for his record of completing five haircuts with a razor and scissors in 25 minutes while being blindfolded. He has gained immense experience from attending trainings with different institutions in India, Thailand, America, UK and Singapore. He is also trained by Christine Blundel – Oscar Award Winning makeup artist from Hollywood – and Toni & Guy, London which is a premier institution for creative hairstyle. He has conducted more than 200 seminars and fashion shows till date.
Neel David Katwal is known for his unique style and focus on customer satisfaction. WOW’s Pabita Dahal talks to the talented celebrity hairstylist to know about his journey and the latest in hair styling trends. Excerpts:
When did you decide to make a career out of your interest in hair design?
I belong to Jhapa, Laxmipur. Being near to India, our school teachers used to come from Darjeeling, Sikkim and their sense of dressing fascinated me. I decided to study fashion designing and applied for a visa to study abroad. I got rejected seven times. Later, with the help of my godfather David Viana I completed a fashion designing course in Delhi. I realised my real passion when I went to a salon in Singapore to get my hair cut. There, I witnessed a style of haircut that was not found in Nepal. It gave me the idea that I could be the one to introduce something new in Nepal. I decided to change my career path. After quitting fashion designing, I stepped into the world of hairstyling without any knowledge of this industry. While training with the popular celebrity hairstylist, Jawed Habib, I knew that it was a huge industry with great scope.
You are the first person to attain international fame as a hairstylist from Nepal; tell us about it.
It feels good. Recently, I got an opportunity to speak as a motivational speaker in India. It was a moment of great pride to know that I have become an inspiration for people. Additionally, I was representing my country. It was a proud moment.
When I decided to return to Nepal, people questioned my choice. I wanted to contribute to my homeland. And today I have been successful in doing so. I am very happy. I am also very delighted to have supported many people and organisations like Maiti Nepal to help them become skilled. We have also been able to provide jobs for more than a thousand people besides training and creating more entrepreneurs.
Neel David’s franchise has grown in reputation over the years. What made this success possible?
Success does not come easily. It requires lots of hard work and teamwork. I did not achieve it alone. We achieved success as a team. There are still many things to do. The biggest credit for my success goes to my godfather, David Viana. If he were not there for me I would not have achieved so much. He came to my rescue at my lowest point and gave me the chance to study and visit different parts of the world.
What is the most important aspect of hairstyling?
Since hair is an important and stylish part of the human body we have to take special care of it. If you are spending money, you should atleast know which products you are using, the effects of product, what the stylist is doing with your hair, etc.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy playing with colours more than cutting or styling. Anyone can cut or straighten hair but adding colour correctly and recognising the texture of the hair is difficult. It needs art and caliber. Even a small mistake can damage the hair. Colouring is crucial skill not many get right.
What projects are you working on now?
Many new projects are in the pipeline. We are getting approached for franchise from India and other countries. We want to strategise this demand and reach the global market with a strong focus on quality. We are updating our management systems and also focusing on our soon to be launched academies at City Center and New Baneshwar.
Five bridal hair care tips…
• Start caring for your hair at least a month before your big day
• Do a hair spa every week
• Do oil massage
• Do not straighten hair since it makes it harder to style on the big day, or use any random chemicals
• Keep your hair healthy by conditioning it after every wash