Janet Balasuriya the pioneer of homegrown beauty care and cosmetics brands helped spawn an industry which has earned global recognition
Words: Tina Edward Gunawardhana
In an era where women entrepreneurs were few and far between, beautician Janet Balasurirya defied the odds to launch her own brand of beauty products and provide a foundation for a business that now has a global reputation.
Born in the mid-1930s to a Catholic family in Moratuwa, Janet was the daughter of Moses Silva who was a well-known social worker. Passionate about beauty care since she was a young girl, Janet tried out various beauty and fashion tips on her other sisters. Having won the confidence of her elder sister, Janet was given the opportunity to dress her elder sister on her wedding day with the help of her sisters. During this time she met a beautician named Vidya Kanagatungam who owned a beauty salon and academy and Vidya took young Janet under her wing which became a main turning point in Janet’s life. Janet studied under the tutelage of Vidya and became her prized student. When Vidya left Sri Lanka, she handed over the salon and beauty academy to Janet who had proved to be an astute and diligent businesswoman by then.