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Sep, 10 2012

Good Looking BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY

Beauty is synonymous with women and so is beauty business with women entrepreneurs. Naturals Unisex Salon & Spa chain with 150+ beauty salons pan-India boasts of 70 per cent salons run by women franchisees. Now the endeavour of the brand is to create 1000

As the saying goes, behind every successful man there is a woman, same goes for Naturals Beauty Salon because behind Naturals' successful business there's one too. Veena Kumaravel and her team of successful women franchisees have made Naturals the most sought after name in the beauty industry.

Naturals' beauty bud was formed in 2000 by Veena Kumaravel and it has now blossomed into a network of 151 franchisees. The salon was launched with an objective to get self employed rather than for seeking a job. Veena reminisces that when she was facing the prospect of having to choose among a boutique, a preschool and a salon, she had chosen a salon as she wanted a business model which was free of MNC competition, was scalable in the second phase and easy to operate. With no prior business experience, Veena had to go through a rough patch initially, where she suffered losses too. Eventually, after putting in a lot of effort and with the support of her husband CKK Kumaravel, currently the Director of Naturals, and with a passion for beauty and growth, she was able to climb the ladder of success.

According to industry reports, the beauty sector right now has the potential for 5,000 more franchise salons from the organised sector. It is estimated that from 18 per cent franchise salons today, the franchising in salons will grow to 20 per cent of the organised sector by 2015 and will become a staggering Rs 4,500 crore salon franchising industry by 2020. Looking at the potential and increasing demand, beauty salons Naturals Unisex Salon & Spa chain has already made a mark and is further planning to spread its beauty pan-India.

Today Naturals is synonymous with beauty care and personal styling. Knowing the fact that beauty care and styling is possible only with rich experience, professionalism and courteous service, the equipment and products used at all their salons are of premium quality and the beauty care specialists are the experts in the industry.

Naturals Unisex Salon & Spa chain prides itself in offering professional services that will take care of complete personal styling for women as well as men. Services for women include essentials ranging from waxing to exotic facials, hand and feet care, hair care and styling, exclusive skincare therapies, nail art, reflexology and a spa experience with elaborate or quick-finish beauty care sessions.

The brand also offers essential services for men like moustache trimming, shaving and hair care solutions, spa treatment, a wide range of facials, hand and feet care and elaborate grooming and styling sessions.

Besides the elaborate and quality services that they provide, their salons are also well recognised for hygiene, comfort and a 'feel at home' ambience with internationally trained staff. Its vivacious brand ambassador, Genelia D'Souza, is also a patron of the brand for her styling needs.

Reason behind beauty and glow

The brand started off its journey from down south in Chennai and is now recognised as the leader and trendsetter for its innovations and uniquely successful operation and service formats. After an outstanding response in south, the brand started expanding its network across the nook and cranny of the country, about a year back. Moreover, Naturals has created and perfected a franchise system, which has proved to be a successful business model, providing a win-win situation for all their partners. They have on board more than 150 franchisees and over 70 per cent of them are women. More than 50 per cent of the new salons have been taken up by existing franchisees which is a great reflection of the success of their formula. Another endeavour of the brand is towards creating 1000 women entrepreneurs, 3000 salons and 50,000 jobs by 2020.

Recently at the 134th salon launch in Ghaziabad, celebrity Sushmita Sen says: “Being a woman entrepreneur has allowed me to create a structure that has worked well for me . Once I had created a structure that had worked for me it was really had to let go. That is the beauty of being your own boss. It is the freedom that comes from being an entrepreneur.” She added “Naturals is the only salon chain that provides this platform for women entrepreneurs. With Naturals, beauty will follow naturally..be creative, be Natural.”

Make-up for growth

Having already achieved an expertise in the franchise business model since 2004, the brand is not yet tired of perfecting it. At Naturals, they aspire to grow as a family and aim to create better bonds. By 2020 they are aiming to create opportunities for young entrepreneurs and striving to provide 50,000 jobs as well as create as many women entrepreneurs. According to their expansion strategy, they plan to expand aggressively in the North Indian cities, where they have already set their footprints.

Naturals has recently tied up with Bharti Retail to open 250 salons in their Easy Day stores in the next few years. The brand is working hard towards making Naturals the fastest growing franchise, not only nationally but also globally.

The next step is to work on expanding in countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & Middle East. Says Veena Kumaravel, Founder and Director, Naturals: “Together we aspire to create a beautiful India.” The vision of the company is to groom India. The company has come up with luxury brands like Page 3 and premium brand extensions known as Naturals Lounge to cater to the grooming needs of every section of Indian society.

Franchise woo women

The management team at Naturals strongly believes that women are in some ways better suited to franchising and make a more attractive group as potential franchisees. According to the brand, there are a number of interesting characteristics that make women in franchising a successful target group for franchisors:

= Women are good at organising, coordinating activities and people efficiently. This means women franchisees will be naturally inclined to organise and coordinate their franchise opportunity more productively and profitably.

= Women are good at prioritising, deciding which activities are more important than others. This particular skill works well in the franchising industry, when problems arise concerning planning, staffing, financing and people management.

= Women enjoy working towards a common goal. Women operating a franchise will work to make that franchise a success, for all franchisees involved under the same franchise operation.

= Women are good at networking, ensuring effective communications are created between franchisee and franchisor, and franchisee and all other internal and external bodies.

= Franchising can offer women, who are ambitious, the opportunity to go into business and to be potentially successful and profitable on a personal and professional level.

Beautifying franchisees’ business

Having witnessed frequent changes in techniques and trends in the beauty industry, Naturals emphasises on training and supporting its franchisees and their staff on a regular basis. To maintain consistency in services across all its salons, the company updates all its franchisees regarding the technical know-how and salon management skills.

The company believes that retaining qualified and trained staff is the biggest challenge in the beauty industry, besides high rental costs and fast changing trends. Under technical training, Naturals' franchisees are updated on new-age trends of hair, skin, nail and usage of beauty products. Whereas under salon management, the company offers training on how to take care of a customer, managing the staff, inventory control, billing procedure, telephone handling, communication skills and other trainings to run the salon smoothly.

Besides training the staff, Naturals' franchise team also offers support to franchisees in matters pertaining to seeking apt location for business, in lease negotiations, building business plans, taking loans and in completing legal formalities. Naturals' dedicated area business managers assist in drawing out a comprehensive business plan and promotional solutions. While their HR team assists in staff recruitment and their comprehensive training, the IT team provides online business management system which keeps the franchisees associated with the corporate office 24X7. Their finance team takes the responsibility of putting the accounts system in place.

ABOUT THE COMPANY

Name: Groom India Salon & Spa Pvt. Ltd.

Country of origin: India

Sector: Service

Annual turnover: Rs. 85 crore

Operational since: 2000

Franchising since: 2006

Cities present in: 38

Franchise units: 150+

Company-owned units: 10

Total business from franchise stores/outlets: 90%

Target markets for international expansion: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & Middle East

Business model used for international expansion: Single unit franchise, multi-unit

franchise and master franchise.

FRANCHISE SPEAK

“A company's DNA determines their culture, which in turn determines how successful they are” Bhanumathy, Franchisee, Chennai

“We had great experience working with the Naturals team”

Ragini Aravindan, Franchisee, Hyderabad

“It is a vastly different attitude from the established franchise model of supporting the franchisees only in the initial stage and handing over the running of the business entirely to the franchisee without any guidance or mentoring. This different approach sees Naturals helping with staff recruitment, training, retraining and support,” Ragini Aravindan, franchisee, Hyderabad.

“The key to their success model is they follow a “Bottom-Up” approach, where the success is measured on the return on investment they deliver to their customers. This means from building customer satisfaction and loyalty as the base, they drive sales and revenue from single franchise units all the way to the overall corporate system.”

Madhuri S Bhaskar, Franchisee, Chennai

“My transformation from being a schoolteacher, used to taking orders, to a self-employed and independent woman has been amazing. Apart from respect from friends and family, the feeling of self-worth has vastly improved. Thank you, Naturals, for showing the way.”

Shobana, Franchisee, Coimbatore

Train to gain

The brand handholds its franchisees from the beginning like:

= Starts from location selection.

=Sourcing of equipments and products

=recruitment of manpower to training them

=Branding & marketing

=In new service innovations

=In state of the art IT - tie up with TCS

=Appoint dedicated area business managers

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