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Jan, 03 2011

Bold & Bountiful

The health & beauty market is the one which continued to show resilience in the economic downturn. Consumers were less willing to trade down or cut back on items viewed as a necessity by many. And this drives the growth in the industry.

THE health and beauty industry is a dynamic market loaded with tremendous opportunities. The industry is estimated to grow around Rs 25 billion with a year-on-year growth of over 25 per cent due to rising number of foreign players, emerging new segments, transformed mindsets of individuals and wide acceptance of franchising.


The health and beauty industry has thrown up a plethora of franchise and career opportunities over the last decade. According to Shahnaz Husain, Founder and CMD, Shahnaz Husain Group of Companies, “The beauty business has not only grown at a fast pace but also holds tremendous growth potentials. In health and wellness too, the growth has been good, since interest in alternative medicine, holistic systems, fitness and total well being is at an all-time high. Over the last decade, we have found that franchising has proved to be a successful way of extending one's business.”

C.K. Kumaravel, Co-Founder, Naturals Beauty Salon, says, “Till a decade back, people used to look for big brands to get associated with. But with time, they have realised that MNC brands are not tuned to Indian market conditions to operate through the franchise model successfully. Moreover, the MNC brands were very system-oriented and they usually fall short because of their inability to do the modifications as per the local needs. Besides this, the lack of qualified local players and the misperception of franchising as a money minting mechanism are the various problems that the industry has been facing over the last decade.”

With time, the health and beauty industry has witnessed treme-ndous changes. If earlier, the industry was about basic business concepts, today its dominated by niche segments like nail bar, spa services, haircare salons and so on. Guillaume Geslin, General Manager, L'Occitane India, states, “India is a perfect destination to open spas because Indian consumers are not just familiar with the products but also like to be pampered. We intend to open spas in unique locations with partners who share the same values as us.” Supporting the same idea, Jeni Garrett, CEO, Woodhouse Day Spa, US, says, “We see enormous potential for the country's growing spa market. The Woodhouse Day Spa is primed for this arena because there's a lack of US brands in wellness in India.”

Business potential

Due to the increasing awareness of fitness and grooming, global trends, work pressures and competitive work environment, Indians are now spending much more on the health and beauty products and services like never before. As per Husain, “There is a growing awareness that looking good is also a matter of feeling good, with freedom from stress and high level fitness. That is why spa treatments have also become popular.”

The spa business in India is estimated to be around Rs 300 crore and is expected to grow in the coming years. The beauty product and service business is said to be over Rs 3,000 crore, growing immensely at 20 per cent, while the herbal beauty business growing at 40 per cent. The business of fitness centres is estimated to be around Rs 1,800 crore, while the branded high-end salon business is around Rs 2,000 crore, growing at 25 per cent. This is expected to be doubled within the next five years.

According to Kumaravel, “The trick of the trade is the standard operating procedures, rules and regulations and the franchisor's belief in the success of his franchisees to get him succeeded. And in a country like India, franchising is a great opportunity for both the franchisors and franchisees.” Husain says, “Franchising is still not so popular in the beauty and wellness sector.” However, she said that the entire perspective has changed during 2010.


The industry provides a plethora of opportunities in established categories such as salon, spa, gym, diagnostic services and so on. The list does not end here, as there are some upcoming concepts like nail bar, hair care clinic and ayurvedic centres. To be a part of this flourishing industry, all you need to have is absolute integrity, willingness to be an owner and manager, ability to lead the team, good public relations and customer care skills, capability to invest Rs 15-50 lakh and good location with an area that may range from 1,000 sq.ft to 2,500 sq.ft.


All the ventures of Shahnaz Husain Group are based on franchising and their expansion plans include extending the salons, spas, beauty training academies and shops worldwide. “We will consider beauticians who already have their own salons and want to convert them to Shahnaz Husain franchise salons. In fact, in many countries, beauty therapists who already have their own salons have come to our beauty academy to take beauty training in our specialised treatments and then taken up the Shahnaz Husain franchise,” Husain says. Naturals Beauty Salon is eyeing at 1,000 women entrepreneurs and 10,000 job opportunities in the beauty and wellness industry by 2015. As for now, Kumaravel says, “We are planning to take our count from the present 83 salons to 200 salons by next year.”

Flip side

Before selecting the business, a franchisee has to ensure that the brand is well established. Brand recognition and brand loyalty are important in the franchising business. As Kumaravel says, “A franchisee has to first identify the right franchisor to ensure low risk of failure and greater chances of success. But if he fails, he will be troubled in running the day-to-day franchise operations.” Husain says, “Finding a suitable location, acquiring training and building up a clientele are the challenges a franchisee faces. The franchisee is a representative of the brand name. Therefore, the franchisee has to ensure that the brand name is not devalued.”

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