Anisa Telwar Kaicker
Founder, Anisa International
The beauty industry has many iconic women—Estée Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Laura Mercier, Bobbi Brown and Sonia Kashuk, to name a few. But behind the scenes is a powerhouse working with beauty companies around the world: Virginia- Highland’s Anisa Telwar Kaicker.
Telwar Kaicker’s company, Anisa International, designs and manufactures the makeup brushes used by many top companies, including Target, Amway and Sephora. Kaicker has also worked with Smashbox, Laura Mercier, Becca, Elizabeth Arden, Maybelline, Lancôme and L’Oréal.
Today, Telwar Kaicker, whose mother ran a successful import/export business in Nashville and taught her the ropes, employs more than 600 people between her company’s manufacturing facilities in China, its headquarters in Atlanta and in its business development branches in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London. Although cosmetics brushes are the “starring role in our business,” she has branched out to include storage solutions for brushes and beauty tools; brush cleaning and care products; and nail tools, eyelash enhancements and body brushes.
Telwar Kaicker started her career as a successful cosmetic brush sales representative and decided that, by using her knowledge, experience and contacts, she could strike out on her own. She worked with a South Korean expert in brush manufacturing to open a factory in 2003 in Tianjin, China, a region that, according to Telwar Kaicker, has a history of brush making.
The early days of Anisa International were met with some significant challenges, including a staff strike just four days after opening the Tianjin facility. Telwar Kaicker took control and turned things around, growing the business one contact at a time until she landed some big buyers, such as Target.
Since then, Telwar Kaicker’s role has evolved from being a do-it-all entrepreneur to one who trusts her team. “I’ve been able to surround myself with a strong team that allows me to focus more on the things I love the most: customer partnerships, building a strong company culture and focusing on creative and innovative design developments,” she says. “In the beginning, I was extremely involved in all aspects of the business, from finance and operations to HR and marketing. And while I’m still brought in at high levels, I find I’m most effective when I’m able to focus on the elements that will bring the most ROI (return on investment) to the company.”
Though Telwar Kaicker was fully committed to her work, she also craved balance, which she found when she fell in love with her now husband, London architect Arjun Kaicker. Although the couple has homes in the U.S. and England, they “have really made a home in [Virginia] Highland, so much so that I modified my travel schedule to allow me to spend more time here,” she says. “My husband and I made a decision to make Atlanta our home base so I could focus on my business. We love to walk in the area and frequent the local shops and restaurants, spend time with our neighbors and friends and experience the BeltLine and Ponce City Market.”
As much as Telwar Kaicker enjoys Atlanta, she still has a soft spot for London, too. “When I’m there, I love it. I feel comfortable and relaxed and inspired. We just soak in the English way of life,” which she says includes visiting museums, having tea and taking in London’s shopping scene.
Telwar Kaicker recently turned 50 and celebrated with bashes in both Atlanta—a disco-themed party complete with dancing roller skaters— and London’s famed Hampton Court, where party-goers dressed up as if they were meeting Queen Elizabeth I.
Having found fulfillment in both business and love, Telwar Kaicker has evolved from a laser-focused entrepreneur to a happily married businesswoman who delegates important aspects of her company to others.
“Personally, I think I have learned to relax and enjoy the process of growing a business a bit more. I can cherish the time I get to spend with my husband and our dogs, and the community we wish to contribute to,” which includes Atlanta’s Lifeline Animal Rescue, for whose board Telwar Kaicker serves as chair. “I truly believe that how we as a people treat living things is a reflection on our overall health as a community,” she says. “The work that they are accomplishing each and every day is something that I am very proud of and will continue to support through our financial and strategic partnerships.”
Despite all of her personal and professional successes, Telwar Kaicker believes her best years are still ahead. “My business is growing, I continue to uncover new opportunities, I love my friends and family and the communities where I live. This is such a good time in my life, so while I definitely have focus when it comes to the future, I am also trying to soak up all the beauty and blessings of the present.”
Learn more about Anisa International at anisa.com
STORY: Mary Welch
Photo: Anne Simone