Sunday 18th March 2018

    Beauty & Business: Women Entrepreneurs lap up India’s Salon boom

    A recent KPMG report has projected the size of India's beauty and wellness market to nearly double to Rs 80,370 crore by 2017-18 from Rs 41,224 crore in 2012-13. And here's a tale of two women - trained beauticians, who, after coming out of their mundane daily chores and starting their professional skills modestly, seem well set to expand nationally to tap this fast growing market. Sharmila Singh Flora of Flora's and Mousumi Mitra of Be Bonnie - have both lined up pan India expansion plans with their own branded salon and beauty products. Flora's at 25 and Be Bonnie at 15 thought this was the right time to branch out and expand. Read On...

    Interestingly, another recent report by Smergers, a leading investment banker for SMEs, suggests that the Rs 10,000 crore Indian salon industry is largely unorganized, with only around Rs 2,500 crore forming the organized segment. But the organized segment is expected to grow at a much higher rate of 30 per cent compared to the unorganized segment which is expected to grow at a rate less than 20 per cent. With more than 1.2 billion people in India, the average per person annual spending on salons is only $1.5 (Rs.80) per year compared to the global average of around $15, $230 in the US, $10.3 in China, and $30.2 in Malaysia. This also reflects the scope of growth for the salon industry in India.

    If things move as envisaged, Flora's will have atleast 20 outlets - salons and skin clinics across the country over the next few years. Be Bonnie, which at present has 12 company-owned salons in and around Kolkata, is looking at expanding pan India through the franchise model. Initially Be Bonnie is looking at Orissa, Assam and other eastern and north eastern states and eventually other parts of the country.

    Flora, born in Kolkata's famous Hatkhola Dutta clan and a direct student of Shahnaz Hussain, gives complete therapeutic advice on skin and hair care and from hair fall to skin-pigmentation, each problem is treated in an efficient manner with the use of ayurveda as well as modern technologies. The therapy is herbal-based. There are many ranges of therapy depending upon the nature of skin and hair type and she tries to give personal attention to all her clients.

    She says, "The overall beauty and personal care market in India is estimated to be Rs 74,700 crore by retail sales value and the personal care industry in India has been expanding at 13 per cent year-on-year, far surpassing the overall economic growth rate. India's incredibly large consumer base has a growing disposable income and places importance on personal care. Retail sales will increase at an average of seven per cent over the next decade and that presents a huge opportunity to global brands to tap the exponential growth that we are going to witness. The beauty business is booming and there's enough room for more players. We have already consolidated our position and established our brand in Kolkata and thought this is the right time to expand nationally and eventually internationally."

    Mitra of Be Bonnie says, "There is an increasing desire to look good and feel good and get pampered at salons after a hectic and stressful work schedule. So we don't think there is any dearth of scope and opportunity to grow. However, a huge problem faced by the industry is the lack of quality manpower. The demand supply gap of trained staff is a real challenge. And therefore we have come up with Be Bonnie Academy as well, which is expected to take care of this problem."

    Both the brands offer a perfect mix of products and services and both of them have lined up plans to expand on the products' front as well. Any why not? The ayurvedic market is estimated to be Rs 4,500 crore at present. Herbal products form 6-7 per cent of the overall personal care products market currently while the estimates are that it could grow to about 10 per cent of the segment by FY20 as the trend accelerates. Thus, various players are rebooting their business strategies and investing in new products or making new acquisitions to reap in the benefit of the herbal age. And Flora's, which has 54 products currently, does not want to fall behind.

    Mitra says that her company has so far rolled out 27 professional hair products like Be Bonny Shield Seal, a healthy cuticle repair cream, Be Bonnie Anti Flake, anti-dandruff massage cream, Be Bonnie Silken, anti-dandruff shampoo, Be Bonnie Arganaro, hair argan oil, Be Bonnie Cromosia, hair colour, Be Bonnie Refreshing Conditioner, Be Bonnie Etiolate, peroxide cream, Be Bonnie Peloplex, hair doctor, Be Bonnie Freak Flag, hair wax, among others. These products are imported after being customized by various OEMs in Italy, China, Canada and Thailand.

    If these two businesses thrive, can others be far behind? So expect more players in this space, going forward.

    - Debhota Mukherjee (TradeBriefs Bureau)


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