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Jul, 10 2012


That beauty lies skin deep is a passé now. Today, ‘beauty’ lies in franchising. Franchising is creating a buzz in the beauty industry and if industry sources are to be believed, franchise salons will cover 25 per cent of this industry. Read on to find out

THE beauty sector has grown bigger and better over the years. From offering traditional services like haircuts it has spread its wings to skincare, nail art, luxury styling and to what not. The glory of this sector is such that consumers turn to a beauty professional rather than a medical practitioner for any health or beauty related advice. Needless to say, the beauty industry is wooing both consumers and franchisors alike.

The concept’s beauty

The salon industry is expected to grow steadily at the rate of 30 per cent over the next decade. But what has brought about the explosive growth of this sector? Leave alone the beauty conscious fair sex, today the metrosexual man also swears by beauty salons and is glued to the concept of 'fair and handsome'. The rising demand by men is the reason a number of men's salons and unisex salons are mushrooming of late. Some of the key players in beauty segment include Shahnaz Husain, VLCC, Naturals, Lakme, etc. Most of these players credit their success to franchising. The Shahnaz Husain Group that is internationally renowned for organic beauty care believes the franchising route has helped them to establish ayurvedic beauty care and in taking the Indian herbal heritage to every corner of the globe. The brand has developed strongly through franchising and it has also enabled them to extend salons, beauty academies and other ventures.

This business opportunity is at the top of the pyramid of the franchise sector. Treading on the path of franchise growth trajectory is distinguished brand Naturals Unisex Salon & Spa. With their expansion plans in full swing, Srinivasan Sankar, COO and Director International, Naturals, says: “Managing more salons at the same time individually will lack personal touch in all places at once, whereas the franchise model provides for an owner to each salon so as to operate effectively and efficiently.”

The road to beauty industry does not end at the salons. The specialised skincare clinics are the major breakthrough in the beauty industry. This burgeoning trend of skincare clinics is because people prefer non-invasive treatments instead of dangerous surgeries.

Evana Laser Skin Care clinic boasts of its specialised expertise in material and technology, along with mechanical information in this particular segment.

There are other offshoots that can be explored in this sector. For instance, Blossom Kochhar, who is better known as the 'promoter of aromatherapy in India'. Her indigenous brand-- The Aroma Magic-- stands tall as the promoter of healthy skincare and beauty products. The Blossom Kochhar Group is the proud owner of multiple companies spanning across skincare and beauty products, spas and salons, hairstyling and personal grooming training academies.

Healthy franchise model

The beauty sector has come of age via franchising. According to a survey by The Nielsen Company, 84% of Indians felt greater pressure to look better, 36% invest monthly on hair-care and 21% get a facial done every month. Many companies are already in hot pursuit of this opportunity. One such exemplary brand is Greentrends, a brand by Trends in Vogue Pvt Ltd. It commenced its franchise model in 2011 and today it boasts of 24 franchise units. Bullish about the franchising model, R. Gopalakrishnan, Head, Greentrends, says: “Franchising helps in penetrating the market and the franchisee brings in the local expertise; it is easy to build a strong brand through this route. Therefore, we entered this route; this has helped us to penetrate different markets to ensure the end customer ultimately gets the best from an established brand like Greentrends.” Backed by the FMCG giant, Cavinkare, the total franchise investment of Greentrends is Rs 30-35 lakh and an area of 1,200-1500 sq ft.

Shahnaz Husain Herbal has a large network of over 400 franchise and associate clinics in India and abroad, operating under the franchise system. The franchise clinics have extended not only to the cities, but also the small towns all over India. The franchise system is also the basis for the diversification of Shahnaz Husain's ventures, among which are the Shahnaz Husain Forever Beautiful Shops, Shahnaz Herbal Salons, Training Institutes in Beauty Therapy, Ayurvedic Centres for Panchkarma, Dhara and Kerala Massage, as well as the Shahnaz Husain Ayurvedic Spas. An investment of Rs 25 lakh and premises of 1000 1200 sq ft. are required to acquire its franchise.

A one-stop 'salon' for slimming, beauty and fitness-- VLCC Health Care Ltd-- that already has 50 franchise outlets in its kitty is continually increasing its geographic presence via franchising. For a complete VLCC Centre that delivers both slimming and beauty services, a prospective franchise seeker would require premises measuring approximately 1,500 sq ft (carpet area) in a suitably located part of the city, and her total investment could be in the region of Rs 36-38 lakh.

Diet chart for franchise growth

For the growth of franchisees in the beauty sector, a healthy dose of 'business supplements' is required that is provided by the franchisor in the form of training and support. “Our franchisee has to acquire training in specialised treatments in Shahnaz Husain's school of beauty therapy and also satisfy the stringent requirements of a name that has become internationally known. We have also adopted a unique method of providing support to the franchisees by inaugurating the clinics in various cities, attending press receptions, speaking on ayurvedic medicines, herbal treatments for skin and hair-care and giving free consultations. This gives the new franchise clinic a real boost drawing crowds and providing media coverage,” says Shahnaz Husain, Founder-Chairperson and MD of The Shahnaz Husain Group of Companies. Also, the company assists the franchisee in providing technical knowledge, marketing and administrative support and in salon set-up.

VLCC is also very conscious of maintaining the service quality and standards. Thus, it provides extensive training to its franchisees. Also, VLCC supports the franchisees from the pre-opening stage to the post-launch stage of operations

About her franchisee preference, Jaishree Butallia, Owner, Evana Laser Skin Clinic, says: “A person has to be sufficiently educated to understand and adapt to the knowledge we are going to provide or should be acquainted with paramedical services or with any stream of health business like Ayurveda, Homeopathy or even a beautician trained at a premium training institute.” An area around 500-1,500 sq ft plus and an investment capacity of Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1.50 crore are required to obtain the franchise of Evana. Everything required by the franchisee, from material arrangement, machines, machine maintenance, training, online support, etc., are provided by the company.

Expanding for wealth and wellness

Undoubtedly, the beauty sector seems to be the fairest of all segments in the franchising fraternity. And to maintain its dominance, this sector is expanding like never before. “We have an ambitious growth plan of opening 1000 outlets across India and abroad with a 1000 crore turnover,” says Gopalakrishnan.

Elaborating on their expansion plans, Sankar says: “We are planning to reach 1000 salons by expanding across India and globally as well starting with Sri Lanka, Dubai, the Middle East and other international locations. We are now poised to make our dream of creating 1000 women entrepreneurs, 3000 salons and 50,000 jobs by 2020 a reality by having a national reach. Plans for the brand being internationally available are in place and soon Naturals will be seen in countries like Sri Lanka, Dubai and the Middle Eastern countries, Singapore and Malaysia. Together we aspire to make a beautiful India and eventually the world.”

VLCC will also raise its market penetration via franchising. It has plans to expand its footprints to new markets globally.

International branding is very much a part of the future plans of the Shahnaz Husain Group of Companies. They will be spreading their footprints across the globe and would like to see ayurvedic beauty care rule the international market trends.

The way forward

The beauty service industry is estimated to be worth Rs 15,000 crore and this is the sole reason so many spas and salons are coming up. India is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and this momentum is surely going to help the beauty industry scale new heights. The companies in this sector are doing a roaring business and are calling upon the franchisors to get their 'fair share' of profits. While beauty maybe ephemeral, this sector in franchising is growing and is here to stay.

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