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Sep, 16 2009

Lakmé Salon Serving beauty

Inspiring the contemporary Indian woman’s beauty ‘sutra’, Lakmé Salon exhibits a unique understanding of the Indian woman’s beauty needs as it strives to ignite her feminine energy, thereby, helping her rediscover her unique expression. Lakmé Salon not on

Looking beautiful is not just a desire but a passion of every woman and going to a branded salon to have a beauty treatment is not restricted to a handful of stars or upper strata of the society but now every woman can satiate her urge to look gorgeous. To look beautiful and up-to-date tops the priority list of every woman and for that a frequent visit to a parlour has become mandatory. Due to increasing awareness and demand of beauty products and services the beauty business is booming. Lending credence to this, virtually every big company that has a presence in the salon business is on an expansion drive. Thanks to the growing penetration of branded salons such as Lakmé Salons which has a large network of franchisees besides company owned salons to offer beauty to its customers!

The beauty business has picked up pace in India over the years. The beauty services business is experiencing good growth over the past few years. This is complemented by an increase in self awareness, higher disposable income and availability of more retail solutions. The organised beauty services market is over Rs 600 crores industry currently and is growing at a significant rate owing to higher disposable incomes of the middle class, women becoming more and more beauty conscious, availability of more retail solutions,  rising penetration of Indian beauty salons besides the international players vying the Indian beauty services market. Lakmé Salon started its journey as a part of the Lakmé Company in the 1970s and realising the greater need of its services, started franchising its salons in 2001 to provide not just the beauty solutions but a complete and beautiful experience to its customers.

Lakmé Lever was formed as a separate company in late last year i.e. 2008 after which the beauty and wellness services arms of Hindustan Unilever Limited were made a part of separate company named Lakmé Lever Private Limited which has brands like Lakmé and Lever Ayush licensed to it.

Bouquet of offerings

A Lakmé Salon offers a complete range of the latest beauty and grooming services in the areas of hair styling, skin care, facial and nail services. Its skin services are unique as it has customised services developed with the Lakmé know-how of understanding Indian women and their beauty requirements.

Lakmé Studio is another wing that Lakmé Salon has recently added to its brand by opening its first Lakmé Studio in Delhi. It comes with an array of new services and a delightful experience, bringing the finest skin experts and hair designers including Manish Malkotia and Jatin Kapoor. Spectacularly spacious, with special arenas dedicated to various sections, it also offers exclusive beauty services like innovative nail services and a dedicated bridal column.

With a vision to be the ultimate destination salon for women, Lakmé Studio promises a complete and a pleasurable experience. Anil Chopra, Chief Executive Officer, Lakmé Lever Pvt. Ltd says, “The Lakmé Studio reiterates Lakmé’s belief and commitment towards offering a holistic beauty experience encompassing a wide range of high quality beauty products and professional services by the finest beauty and hair experts. With Lakmé Studio, we partner the new age Indian woman to realize her individual creative expression of beauty. An unparalleled, exclusive experience of services delivered with expertise is our promise”.

Adding on to this, Shilpa Sinha, Chief Marketing Officer, Lakmé Lever Pvt. Ltd says, “In line with the excellent quality of services, Lakmé Studio now offers a brand new look and feel. The new uniforms created exclusively for Lakmé Studio by designer Hemant Sagar adds to the entire experience. Our design presentation to create a new dynamic portrayal  of the global Indian woman is rooted in the ‘mandala’ concept which represents wholeness.”

The company has also tied up with Nail Spa, that uses the latest nail technology from USA to bring a bouquet of exciting services like nail extensions and nail art. Lakmé Studio will now set a new code of relationship with its customers, i.e.,  truly professional, warm and personalised.

Expansion through franchise formats: Lakmé Salon has successfully expanded through various franchise formats, i.e., single unit, multi unit and master franchisee. The company conducts audit surveys at regular intervals to ensure standardised operations in all its franchised and company owned units.

With seven company owned and 118 franchised outlets, Lakmé Salon has been the frontrunner in taking the franchise route to have its presence across the country. Talking of the company’s franchise model, Rakshit Hargave, Chief Operating Officer, Lakmé Lever Pvt. Ltd proudly says, “We are already one of the most successful franchising businesses in this space. Our franchising model helps the franchisee in understanding and executing all the critical variables which will make his business a success.” After making its presence felt in 34 cities, the company is keen on entering newer markets. Lakmé Salon has exciting expansion plans through a hybrid model of company owned and franchisee stores.

Talking of its successful business model, Hargave avers, “A Lakmé Salon franchisee receives an excellent return on investments made owing to strong standing of the brand besides its strategic marketing and advertising endeavours.” A Lakmé Salon franchisee can reach the break even point within the first three years of operations.

Lakme’s Trainig wing: Though some of the Lakmé Salon franchisees have had the experience of running their own salons in the past, the company does not specifically look at existing salon owners to convert them into franchisees, rather it evaluates people individually and train them adequately to meet Lakmé Salon standards. “We look at alignment with our brand philosophy, passion for service and the financial capability to run the business while partnering with a prospective franchisee,” explains Hargave.

Considering training to be the back bone of the service industry, Hargave further adds, “We have a complete training team based across the country. The team ensures uniformity of services and operating procedures.”

The company provides its franchisees an array of support in training, orientation, business development and standard operating processes. The company also invests significantly in brand building and service innovations, giving it the edge.

Lakmé Salon provides its franchisees a start up training at their locations. Lakmé Salon’s team of trainers goes from location to location to provide training to its franchisees. Talking about follow-up training, Hargave avers, “We have a training set up, which    focuses on constant skill development and retraining. We also have people working on new innovations which are launched at adequate intervals.” Lakmé Salon’s innovations are based on understanding the Indian woman, the emerging styles and trends and about beauty products and their applications.

“Lakme promises a distinguished experience through consistent quality, modern equipment and professionally trained beauty experts, encompassing world-class expertise at each of the salons across India.” assures Hargave.

Reinforcing franchisor-franchisee bond

The company adopts various relation building measures with its franchisees. It invites  franchisees opinions and suggestions in formulating various business plans and strategies. A lot of marketing initiatives at local level with the agreement of local marketing team are undertaken by the company. Besides, frequent contact sessions with the franchisees to evaluate customers preferences and trends also strengthen ties between the two.

Lakme Salon is also trying to tie up with financial institutions who would provide finance to its prospective franchisees. Going forward, Hargave adds, “Our model of franchising has been successful, and we see it to be a big contributor to our future growth”.

“Looking at the present scenario of the beauty industry, it augurs to grow at a healthy rate. The market offerings will become more specialized and we will see organized players making their mark. Lakmé Salon reiterates Lakmé’s belief and commitment towards offering holistic beauty care which stands strong with a family of 125 salons across 34 cities in India. With presence in more than 30 cities Lakmé Salon would consolidate its present position while looking at new potential locations.” says Hargave.

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