With the vision to make life a more gratifying experience, Richfeel has evolved into an institution that provides complete range of hair and skin care solutions. In an interview Dr Apoorva Shah, Founder, Richfeel Trichology shares the success story of the company with our readers.
Abha Garyali (AG): Share with us the inception and success of ‘Richfeel’.
Dr Apoorva Shah (AS): India’s First Certified Trichology centre, Richfeel was founded in 1986. Richfeel Group of companies is the pioneer in the field of beauty. We have been associated with Femina Miss India for the past 10 years as their official hair experts. Today, Richfeel provides a comprehensive range of personal care solutions for the skin and hair. This has been characterised by continuous efforts, innovation, and a strong focus on trichology for the hair, and natural therapies for the skin, which have been acclaimed and adopted worldwide.
AG: When did you initiate franchising? What led to this unique idea of franchising in beauty, hair and scalp treatment?
AS: We started with a single clinic in Mumbai in 1986. Soon, we witnessed a heavy flow of customers from different parts of Mumbai and the numbers started growing rapidly. In no time, the appointments had to be scheduled at least a month or more in advance. We thought of opening new outlets and the idea of franchising cropped up. Another factor that led to franchising was that initially hair and scalp treatment was availed by the higher strata of the society. However, over the years, we have seen that the middle class people have also become extremely health conscious. This further fuelled our passion towards extending our healthcare services.
AG: How is Richfeel different from its competitors? What are its USP?
AS: I brought Trichology (the science of hair and scalp disorders, established in the UK since 1902), to the Indian shores. Just as a person with a heart problem would consult a cardiologist, hair problems require specialised knowledge to be effectively treated. Trichology is a super specialisation from dermatology offering effective scientific solutions. Together with Dr. Sonal Shah, India’s first Trichology centre was set up in Mumbai. Today, it is the most advanced hair and scalp care centre in the country, with presence in many cities and towns. Moreover, RichFeel is the only national player in the organised sector.
AG: What type of clientele visits the centre for treatments? Is it affordable for the middle class?
AS: We have a wide range of clients coming in for different hair solutions. They range from high profile clients including bollywood stars, models, socialites, sportsmen, who come for hair problems as well as advice on regular care. Moreover, the younger generation also visits for various hair problems with exposure to perming, colouring and straightening. Also the modern day disorder, stress is a major contributor to hair problems. Since it is a specialised science, the treatment procedures too are state-of-the-art. We do have clients who are from the middle class seeking treatment at RichFeel.
AG: What all qualities are needed by your prospective franchisees?
AS: The franchisee needs to have passion for the subject more than anything else. Apart from the statutory needs like a medical doctor to handle the centre, minimum space, and basic investment, a positive attitude combined with a winning outlook towards work is also needed in our franchisees. Basic things like genuine care for customers, and giving personalised attention also adds up to the qualities. If the franchisee believes that his efforts are going to touch somebody’s life and make a person more confident then that passion will automatically fuel the business and add value and name to the organisation.
AG: What are your future plans in terms of expansion through franchising?
AS: Richfeel will continue to expand pan India. We plan to have around 50 clinics by the end of this fiscal year. RichFeel is also currently in talks with other companies who have shown keen interest in taking RichFeel overseas.
AG: What training and support do you provide to your franchisees?
AS: Training and support is a very critical factor and Richfeel strongly believes in it. The entire know-how of business is shared along with a rigorous training in trichology, care free hair solution, tricho massage etc. All the standard operating procedures required to run a clinic are shared along with the commercial operating procedures for the business. Moreover, the marketing support in terms of patient education CDs, advertisements as well as other promotional material are also provided.
AG: What is the break-even period for the franchisee?
AS: Though we have a proven system of operation, but it varies from clinic to clinic. The break-even ideally happens in the first year of operation. The profit starts from the first year onwards.