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Mar, 07 2014

Bold and beautiful benefits, naturally

Salons in Southern part of India are synonymous with Naturals and now Naturals is synonymous with Kareena Kapoor. Actress Kareena Kapoor is now the brand ambassador of the leading beauty chain which has 350+ salons pan India presently. Prospective franchi

In franchising, the beauty and salon industry is now reckoned as the sunrise industry. The number of people investing in this industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Venture capitalists and private equity firms are also displaying keen interest. There is a lot of speculation in this industry and the flow of funds is increasing. As per industry reports, five years down the line, there will be a lot of mergers and acquisitions. The smaller brands will give way to the big players in the industry and there will be finally be only a few dominant brands in the market who will become the leaders in their particular region or area. One of such brands which has made a mark and is now all set for making the beauty industry organised is Naturals.

Naturals by Groom India Salon and Spa Pvt Ltd with 350+ unisex beauty salons pan-India boasts of 80 per cent salons run by women franchisees. Now the endeavour of the brand is to create more women entrepreneurs across the country and take the salon count to 650+.

The chain offers professional services that 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.

The brand’s USP is its quality services with value pricing as all their salons are well known for hygiene, comfort and a ‘feel at home’ ambience with internationally trained staff.

The success journey...

Behind every successful business, there is a woman. The story is apt for the brand Naturals, as behind their brand’s success is Veena Kumaravel. C.K Kumaravel and Veena Kumaravel began their entrepreneurial journey in the year 2000. After almost one and half decade the duo has made a remarkable mark in the beauty industry by having a strong foothold down South. The salon was launched with an objective to get self employed rather than for seeking a job. Veena recalls 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 absolutely no prior business experience, Veena had to go through a lot of

hiccups initially, where she suffered losses too. Eventually, after putting in a lot of effort and with the support of her husband CK Kumaravel, currently the CEO and Co-Founder Naturals, and with a passion for beauty and growth, she was able to make the beauty bud blossom.

Kareena Kapoor - The new face of Naturals

Earlier Naturals had Genelia D'Souza on board as their brand ambassador who helped them take their business from 80 salons to 350 salons and now she has been replaced by glam and gorgeous Kareena Kapoor. As per C.K. Kumaravel, CEO and Co-Founder, Naturals, “We have chosen Kareena Kapoor as our brand ambassador as she is a style icon for the youth pan-India. I believe her association with Naturals will help the brand achieve scaling heights.”

Women franchisees to weave the Naturals growth web

Naturals offers salon franchises, and is extremely pleased when a woman entrepreneur seeks a franchise opportunity to associate with the brand. As per Veena Kumaravel, Founder, Naturals, “Our aim is to create a thousand women entrepreneurs by the year 2017. The beauty industry, and especially the salon business, is ideally suited for women entrepreneurs as at least 70 to 80 per cent of clientele in a salon are women. Not only is it is easier for a woman entrepreneur to identify customer requirements and needs, she is better placed to understand the demands of the salon industry.”

As per Naturals management, whichever franchisee partners with the brand is offered an entire framework of Standard Operating Procedures. To become part of the Naturals family, a franchisee need not have any knowledge of the beauty or salon industry. Franchisees merely need to follow the SOP that the brand gives them, as all systems are in place. The company guides franchisees in all matters like choosing the perfect location, setting up the salon from scratch, interior design work, product sourcing and equipment, recruitment and training of staff, right up to the launch of the salon. After the launch, they guide the franchisee with full support in day to day operations of the salon. They have a special team in place whose sole job is to deal with architects, plumbers, carpenters, etc., before the launch of the salon thus removing the hassles for the franchise partner. To manage day to day work at franchisee-run salons, the brand also hires a salon manager for aiding the franchise partner. Also there is an area manager to help franchisees with external marketing.

Pre-requisites for brand association

Across sectors, pre-requisites for franchisees vary. For Naturals, franchisee with any kind of educational profile can partner with them. The brand does not expect their franchise partners to have prior background in the beauty industry. What they seek in their potential partners is a passion in beauty and a flair for customer service. It is a boost for the brand if the franchise partner has the ability to handle manpower. And it is always a bonus for them if the franchise partner is a women entrepreneur!

A promise to groom India opportunities galore

Naturals has an expertise in franchising as the brand is doing the same since a decade. The management strongly believes in the LSD of franchising to succeed. LSD in Naturals language refers to (The Lakshmi = Capital management), (The Saraswati = knowledge and support), (The Durga = Operations management) of franchising. With a strong hold in expertise, the brand already has 350 salons operational and 65 are in the pipeline. Further out of these 350, 184 are run by women entrepreneurs. Also, the brand is proud about the fact that most of the women franchisees are running multi-unit franchisees.

When asked about their expansion plans in the North, Kumaravel said, “Our focus is now on cluster franchising. We have got saturation in Tamil Nadu now as we have 200 salons there and now we are planning to capture North and West.”

The salon, which has a strong foothold in the South, is keen to expand in places such as Delhi, Punjab, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Where international presence is concerned, the brand has presence in Colombo and UAE. Soon it will make it foray into Singapore, Dubai, Malaysia and Bangladesh.

 

For franchise enquiries contact:

Rahul at 09999981322 and Anushree at 07810930311

Email: franchise@naturals.in

 

In conversation

 

Take your beauty biz to a new high

 

Veena Kumaravel, Founder, Naturals gets candid with Beny Sachdeva and talks about industry trends and challenges.

Any new trend you witnessed so far in beauty & wellness sector? Where do you see industry's growth five years down the line?

As far as the skin treatments are concerned, we are witnessing a surge in preventive ageing services. People are more aware of products and services and are willing to go the extra mile to retain their youthful looks. Make up trends are now veering towards an overall natural look with dewy fresh skin. Colours for eyes and lips are mostly creamy pastel shades which complement many skin tones. In hair one can observe varying looks where there is something for everyone, be it a vintage 60's look, a minimalistic look with rigorously simple lines, a non-conformist look that shuns prescriptive cut and colour for the cool kids who don't want to fit in, or even smouldering new look for the sophisticated glamour girls

Women entrepreneurs face funding problems. What solution do you have for this?

Especially for women, Naturals has a tie up with Indian Overseas Bank. This is exclusively to promote women entrepreneurs. One challenge often faced in the setting up stage for women franchisees is procurement of funds.

Which is the biggest challenge in this industry?

I believe 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.

 

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