Zahra Khan, CEO/Editor-In-Chief, Hauterfly

In conversation with the CEO/Editor of India's leading content destination - Hauterfly!

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a fashionable girlfriend on speed dial, giving you the lowdown on the hottest new product to hit the beauty counters? Or where to get that seriously on-trend accessory in a jiffy? Before it’s in vogue, you know she’s got the dope. The fashionable yin to your frumpy yang, Hauterfly is obsessed with being the first to know what’s hot, new and happening in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle in India. Launched by former fashion and lifestyle editor Zahra Khan, Hauterfly is designed to wow both stylists and shopaholics, indulging you with addictive fashion content, highly curated product discovery and insider tips from celebrities, tastemakers, and experts. Zahra the CEO and Editor-In-Chief talks to us about fashion, men, norms and much more.

Image: Hauterfly

Q1. We really want to know what inspired you to start Hauterfly. 

Zahra: Hauterfly is a next generation media company that curates the best in fashion, beauty, tech, home décor, culture, and lifestyle for millennial Indian women. The idea germinated from a lack of well-written, visually-inspiring independent websites focused on personal style, beauty, and shopping in India. We’re very much like a magazine, in that we create addictive content that appeals to women and takes the guesswork out of the equation for them. Our curation of the best in clothing, accessories, skincare and makeup, etc., helps women discover something new every day, but our biggest USP is that we make the process from “inspiration” to “transaction” very seamless for the reader. We break down a trend, tell you how to wear it, then direct you to websites where you can shop them instantly. I like to think of Hauterfly as a shoppable digital magazine – a unique content-meets-commerce hybrid that satisfies both stylists and shopaholics!

Q2. Tell us about your latest venture AskMen India?

Zahra: AskMen.com is the largest men’s lifestyle website in the world, and we have the exclusive India license for the brand. AskMen India caters to the urban millennial man, and is chock full of interesting content that helps him become a better man. Our content pillars are Look Better, Live Better, Know Better – and we help the average Indian guy present a more confident persona to the outside world via aspirational and informative stories across verticals like style and grooming, food and drinks, music and culture, fitness and health, sex and relationships, auto, and of course, gadgets!

 

Image: Ask Men

Q3. Why do you think men are giving more importance to beauty and fashion today?

Zahra: Leading the average Indian man in the direction of good taste is hardly the struggle it once was. There’s a burgeoning awareness of men’s style in the country thanks to the expanded presence of menswear at Indian fashion weeks, and more and more men now enjoy getting out of their man caves and go out shopping. The need to not only look good but live well is all-pervasive today thanks to rising disposable incomes and exposure to global trends, and we’re in the perfect position to help men navigate their way through this via AskMen India!

Q4. You are a badass boss babe! Any other girl boss you take inspiration from?

Zahra: I’m hugely inspired by female entrepreneurs – women who have carved a niche for themselves in an increasingly competitive and patriarchal world. Among the many women I look up to is Christene Barberich – the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Refinery29, one of my favourite websites, and also the inspiration behind Hauterfly. I love the balance of stories the website produces on a daily basis – from interesting conversations around fashion and beauty to all the important topics that women today discuss, R29 is today among the best-known, female-first digital destinations in the world under her editorship.

Q5. Any norm you’ve broken lately?

Zahra: Sneakers with everything – including lehengas!

Q6. Norms can be constructive too. Any norm that has helped you build this empire?

Zahra: Hiring the right team to take your vision forward. Building a sustainable business is rarely a one-(wo)man show. You have to surround yourself with smart, ambitious people who are as enthusiastic and invested in the success of your ideas as yourself. Entrepreneurship is not a 9-to-5 job; it is your life. Your team becomes your extended family. And when you have a strong support system of people who help you build something they have a big role in shaping, you know you’re on to a good thing!

Q7. Fashion clichés you hate?

Zahra: Limited sizing in clothing. Women’s bodies do not conform to only sizes S, M, L. Many fashion brands and designers often leave out an entire demographic of plus-size women, assuming they either don’t want to wear fashion-forward clothing or cannot spend on quality clothing. They’re wrong on both accounts.

Q8. 5 outfits in your closet that you cannot live without?

  1. A great pair of jeans. I’m loyal to Zara because the fit is always perfect.
  2. A lightweight shrug/jacket to layer over a tank top and jeans, or to sex up a boring dress.
  3. A trusty LBD for events and such like.
  4. A multi-tasking pencil skirt that I can wear to the office with my favourite band tee and sneakers, then swap the tee for a formal top and block heels for an evening out.
  5. This is not an “outfit”, but more of what finishes off my everyday ensemble – a great pair of sneakers that go with literally EVERYTHING in my wardrobe, and a chic pair of block-heel mules for both work and play. They’re comfortable, stylish, always trendy.

 

Q.9 Your favourite quote that gets you going?

Zahra: “My favourite position? CEO.”

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