Buoyed by today's lifestyle mantra of “total wellness”, several new beauty and wellness business concepts are emerging worldwide. Some of them are truly revolutionary and potentially lucrative too. Let's explore.
WHEN 'total wellness' is the buzzword across the globe, people in India cannot be left far behind as they have also taken to this worldwide phenomenon. Indians are now increasingly becoming conscious of their looks and health. Not restricted to urban India alone, the trend is fast catching up with the people in small cities and towns fuelling the demand for optimal wellness solutions. However, with changing consumer preferences and aspirations, the industry requires constant innovations in a bid to offer something new to consumers. Here it is pertinent to know the beauty and wellness industry is a multi-billion dollar business in India today and business opportunities abound in both product and services, such as in cosmetics, beauty salons and spas, gyms and slimming centres, healthy F & B concepts, alternative therapies and many more. Amidst a large number of local and foreign wellness brands in India, there are some international brands that promise to be different from others. These brands offer high-quality products and services to entice the consumers. What is significant to note is that many of these foreign players have entered the market via the franchise route. They are catering not only to the growing consumer demands but also offering rewarding franchise partnerships to business enthusiasts who aspire to enter the beauty and wellness sector. Interested entrepreneurs and businesses, with a desire to associate with an international brand, can evaluate the merits of these concepts which are unique in their own way.
Hair's the opportunity
UK-headquartered Wig-O-Mania is one of its kind European brands to enter India. The company manufactures wigs and hairpieces and it promotes its own brand without a distribution chain. Its worldwide clientele includes retailers and salons. Its products cater to both the high fashion individuals and necessity wearers. It was selected by the UK Trade & Investment, a business arm of the British Embassy in India, to be introduced in India. The brand has opted for a three-pronged approach by which it will supply a complete range of high-end hair extensions and hairpieces to salons, retail hairpieces via home shopping channels and offer its products to the necessity wearers who have medical conditions like alopecia, etc., or are experiencing a temporary hair loss due to the after-effects of chemotherapy. It has exclusive tie-ups with known salon brands of Southern and Western India and an exclusive agency partnership in the Northern region. Now it is also offering franchise partnerships for opening its exclusive brand stores. About the benefits of taking the brand's franchise, Hasnain Mohamedali, CEO, Wig- O- Mania, says: “We believe that as we offer exceptional products, our franchisees would be those who think out of the box and are looking for exotic business which has tremendous potential. Franchisees can immensely benefit from this business opportunity; for, it is a unique concept in India.” The brand is seeking partners and distributors to expand pan-India. A potential franchisee will require an area of 500-600 sq ft along with an investment of Rs 24-30 lakh to associate with it.
Innovative fitness biz
A US-based fitness brand, Concept 10 10, has established a significant domestic presence and it has operations in Denmark, Greece, New Zealand, Malaysia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi also. It is a personal and private training business concept which uses a scientific approach to exercise by offering a brief but very intense 20 minutes workout producing amazing results for people belonging to all age groups and occupations. Powered by years of research, advanced equipment and a well-trained staff, the concept enjoys a monopoly in its segment. Aiming to change the future of exercise, this fitness brand is seeking qualified franchise partners in India. On the brand's foray into the Indian market, Jorgen Albrechtsen, Founder and President, Concept 10 10, Inc. says: “We receive a lot of interest worldwide for our concept and we are expanding to several new geographies now. Having received several inquires from India for setting up Concept 10 10 centres, we are looking for qualified partners. It is very important for us to find the right franchisees to ensure high quality and continued success.” Investment required to open the brand's fitness centre is around Rs 1.25 cr. It is targeting all major metropolitan areas in the country for expansion. The company offers training to selected franchisees in the Concept 10 10 Naples and Florida locations.
Lively profits from the Dead Sea
Established in Israel in 1990, the Dead Sea Premier Cosmetics Laboratories is a leading manufacturer of high-quality natural cosmetics. Its broad ranging product portfolio consists of over 150 unique skincare, hair and body care products prepared from the ancient mud, salts and minerals found only in the Dead Sea. Its products are exported to nearly 64 countries with a global turnover of more than $ 500 mn. With the belief that the concept will be well-received in India, Oren Shani, CEO, Premier Wholesale Cosmetics, says: “The concept of Premier Dead Sea mineral products is fairly new to the Indian market. We believe customers would love this concept, as it is more of a wellness product that contributes to preventing and reducing skin damage rather than camouflaging it.”
Premier currently has presence in India through points of sale (POS) in Bengaluru and it plans to have outlets in Pune, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad by the end of 2012. The brand has chosen franchising for further expansion in the country. According to Shani, the franchise model was selected to counter the barriers of the prevalent foreign direct investment norms in India. Moreover, the model will help the brand to benefit from local expertise and effectively control its nationwide POS network. It plans to have 25 stores within five years and 40 POS in spas, hotels and beauty salons. It offers a variety of store formats to franchisees, including kiosk in a mall, flagship store and salt spa. The investment needed is between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 70 lakh.
‘Aromatic’ business concept
Founded in 1982, Arabian Oud with roots in Saudi Arabia is the largest fragrance retailer in the world today. The brand, specialising in incense, oriental perfumes and oil perfumes, is a prominent and trusted name known for producing authentic scents. The brand's USP is its natural products and it offers an exotic range of perfumes with 2,000 fragrances available. Touted as the scent of luxury, Arabian Oud opened its first flagship store in London in 2000. Presently, it has a significant international presence through 620 stores in 50 cities and 33 countries, a testimony to its quality and perfection in perfumery. To spearhead its international expansion, the brand is granting franchisees across geographies. Arabian Oud is offering aromatic franchise opportunity in India too. Backed by a secure business model, potential franchisees can expect to benefit from the company's vast experience in the perfume business. An investment of Rs 1-2 cr and an area of 150-800 sq ft are required to partner with Arabian Oud. It is offering area franchise rights for select locations like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad.
Fishing for a spa biz
Singapore-based Kenko Reflexology & Fish Spa was founded in 1991 by Dr Jimi Tan who has extensive experience in the foot reflexology and wellness spa industry. Kenko, which means wellness in Japanese, has a unique fish spa also which offers therapy by a tiny toothless Garraruffa fish which nibbles into the dead skin allowing free flow of oxygen and enhancing blood circulation. The brand forayed into the Indian market by signing Bangalore’s Lyrus Fitness Pvt Ltd as its master franchisee for the country. Vandana Virwani, one of the partners and Managing Director of Lyrus Fitness had herself experienced the Singapore facility before launching the concept in 2009. She says: "At first, when Kenko started its services and introduced the fish spa, people were curious as well as apprehensive as they did not know the difference between a massage and a reflexology. Today our product is appreciated and recognised by the masses.” The brand's spas cater also to people with severe health problems to enhance their wellbeing. Currently operating three own outlets in Bengaluru and one sub-franchised facility in Chennai, Kenko (India) is ready to expand further. Its spa with all its services can be set up in a 1,200-5,000 sq ft area with an average cost of Rs 1,200 to Rs 2,000 per sq ft. It is looking to set up spas at all airports located in India and have at least two outlets in each metro city in the next five years. Besides, it would also like to explore the idea of international expansion.
Hurdles and headways
As it is with every business, the international brands also have their share of challenges in terms of gaining ground and achieving success in a new market. Hasnain from Wig-O-Mania points out: “In India, wig trends will be different from the western countries which are matured markets. The market needs time to nurture itself before the consumers become acquainted with wearing wigs and hairpieces and not feel self-conscious about it.” The brand is not threatened by the local competition as it believes the local manufacturers cannot match its quality, style and standards.
Being a new brand, Premier utilises below the line marketing approach to reach out to its target consumers by allowing them to fully experience the product under the guidance of an expert from Israel. Commenting on the market hurdles for Premier, Oren Shani says: “Our main challenge is to educate the local market about the huge benefits of our natural products. Though we do not have many direct competitors in terms of core ingredients used (Dead Sea minerals), other international skincare brands are potential competitors. About the challenges for the brands in the Indian market, Vandana of Kenko says: "Initially, we had to conduct a lot of trials to educate people about wellness benefits of reflexology. Pricing is also another challenge that we constantly monitor to give our best service and quality.”
Every great business idea may not turn out to be the next big thing. However, the above mentioned franchises are proven concepts and have been operating successfully for the last many years. Interested investors may conduct their own research to know more about these amazing business opportunities before taking the plunge.