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Aug, 08 2012

HAIR’S A CUTTING-EDGE BIZ OPPORTUNITY

b:blunt, a premium hairdressing salon, founded by the brother-sister duo, Osh Bhabani and Adhuna Bhabani Akhtar, is all set to style up the franchise sector with élan. Osh Bhabani, Director, b:blunt, tells Gina Arora how the b:blunt brigade is on the thre

b:blunt, a premium hairdressing salon, founded by the brother-sister duo, Osh Bhabani and Adhuna Bhabani Akhtar, is all set to style up the franchise sector with élan. Osh Bhabani, Director, b:blunt, tells Gina Arora how the b:blunt brigade is on the threshold of spreading nouveau hairstyling trends via franchising.

Take us through the finer details of the conception of b:blunt.

We wanted a salon group that was able to offer the best services from trained stylists to the highest level of technical excellence; offering the clients personalised looks best suited to their lifestyle and hair type. It has been nearly 15 years since Adhuna and I opened our first salon here in India and the changes are everywhere for us to see- be it actors changing their looks for films or your man on the street finally getting some style into his hair (even if not his wardrobe).

A word on franchising and what it means to you for profitability...

Franchising obviously means more profitability as your network also expands. More doors open up which means more visibility; it's as simple as that.

Which cities feature on your expansion list? How much do you plan to invest via franchising in smaller cities?

Hyderabad, Indore, Delhi and Dubai all have salons coming up in the near future. Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bengaluru and Mumbai will also see new salons over the next 12 months. In Tier-I cities, we will have a mixture of company operated and franchise outlets, while in Tier-II cities the emphasis will likely be more on franchising.

Do you look at high streets, malls, etc., as your target locations?

Malls at some level are not required as our salons are destinations in themselves, the mall rents don't always fit our budgets so we tend to stay with high street and good residential catchments.

What kind of training and support do you provide?

Extensive training and our technical expertise have made us a brand worthy of taking to franchising, we are clear on the fact that quality should not suffer as we grow. We have initial and ongoing training and assessment plans for our franchisees. Marketing and PR, management training and recruiting, design and fit out, suppliers sourcing are all heavily contributed to by our head office.

What are your requisites in terms of area and investment?

We have two formats- our b:blunt franchise will cost Rs one crore and an area of approximately 2,000 sq.ft will be required, while the b:blunt mini franchise is likely to cost Rs 50 lakh requiring an area of approximately 900 sq.ft.

FRANCHISE FACTS

Company operational since: 2004

Year of starting franchising: 2011

Number of franchise units: 3

Number of company owned units: 10

Area required: 900-2,000 sq ft

Break-even: 1.5-2 years

Expected RoI: 30 per cent+

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