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Sep, 02 2014

Of beauty, brains & business

Though health, beauty and wellness industry are facing ample skilled manpower as the major challenge but in India it is pegged to generate more than three million jobs by 2015.

Here is the glimpse of the health and beauty sector in India and what opportunity it offers to women entrepreneurs via the franchise route.

It is true that the worth of civilisation can be arbitrated by the place given to women in the society. The beauty and wellness have always been the epitome of womanhood and so has the industry grown by catering its consumers with services and products. Beauty and wellness represent a movement that is for every woman and girl, no matter where they live and what they do, whether housewives or working. It has given wings to many women to utilise their entrepreneurial capabilities to the fullest. Successful womenpreneurs like Shahnaz Husain, Vandana Luthra, Blossom Kochhar, Veena Kumaravel, Leena Mogre and many others have set examples for budding investors in the health and beauty industry. They have been able to make their dream come true and are now offering opportunities to others by getting associated with their brand and sharing the same space of fame.

Market at a glance

As per the joint study conducted by industry body, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and global consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the wellness industry in India is poised to touch Rs 1,00,000 crore (Rs 1 trillion) by 2015, with a compounded annual growth rate of 15-17 per cent, from about Rs 70,000 crore in 2012.

Opportunity in store

The growing disposable income, awareness about beauty and health services, and products and a growing desire to be self employed have led women to take it as a career. The segment includes salons, spas, health centres, gyms and fitness areas that are imparting business opportunities via franchise model. 

A very popular name in the beauty industry, Shahnaz Husain started encouraging ordinary housewives to start salons in their own homes. Shahnaz Husain, CMD of The Shahnaz Husain Group of Companies says: “I trained them and gave them the Shahnaz Herbal franchise. This way they became financially independent and self-reliant. We have extended our enterprise on this franchise system. Now more and more women are becoming entrepreneurs and a franchise business offers many advantages to them too.”

For Contours, an international women only gym brand, the target age for women franchisees is 30+ with a passion for fitness and a will to succeed.  Chandra Gopalan, Director, Contours India says: “We offer women a financial independence, with the flexibility of managing their own business with product support from the franchisor. Our franchisees have the support of a worldwide chain of franchisees. Our women associates take control of their lives, while changing the lives of our members. They build a successful career with financial stability and growth.”

Another homegrown wellness brand, Iosis Spa provides a platform to all budding and enthusiastic entrepreneurs irrespective of their age, caste and gender to utilise their entrepreneurial capabilities to the fullest. “We provide complete management support and training to the aspiring individuals so that with their high level of inner drive they make their dream a success.  We provide complete management support, with respect to our managers and staff in the unit, for day-to-day operations. Our plethora of services ranges from appraising the franchisees with tried and tested systems and procedures to initial recruitment, social media support and even training on new launches,” says Kiran Bawa, Managing Director, Iosis.

VLCC is widely recognised in India and abroad for its holistic, scientific and completely natural weight-management practices and therapeutic beauty solutions addressing the mind and body. Today, with operations at 300 locations in 121 cities across 16 countries, employing nearly 6,000 worldwide, and over 10 million satisfied customers, VLCC has just launched its 34th outlet in Delhi NCR. The brand is into franchising and offers a lucrative opportunity to investors.

The brand runs a strong network of vocational education academies in beauty and nutrition and has direct, company managed operations in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Kenya.

Vandana Luthra, Founder & Vice-Chairperson, VLCC says: “Our latest centre is a milestone achievement in the history of Indian wellness industry showcasing VLCC's steadfast commitment to develop innovative, effective and safe weight loss procedures to benefit the client with cutting-edge technology at the core of the initiative.”

Scope for potential womenpreneurs

Women are ideally suited to understand the beauty business. As an entrepreneur, taking up a franchise makes it easier, especially for women, because the franchisee uses a tried and tested business model and cashes in on an existing brand name and the demand for the brand.

Gopalan adds: “Womenpreneurs with passion for the fitness business, willingness to commit time to the business, investment capability and leadership qualities makes them ideal franchisees.” Meanwhile, the decision of The Shahnaz Husain Group of Companies on giving franchise rights is based on a stringent selection criteria. The selection of franchisees poses a challenge. The brand looks for commitment to excellence; entrepreneurial spirit; financial stability and passion to succeed. “We consider prior experience in beauty and cosmetics an added advantage although it is not absolutely essential. The franchisee has to complete a beauty diploma course, as well as an advanced course in cosmetology and Shahnaz Husain specialised treatments at our beauty institute. If the franchise is for the beauty academy, it is necessary to also complete our teacher's training course,” quips Husain.

However, for Iosis, franchisees with no prior experience in the beauty and wellness industry can also get associated with the brand.  The spa chain provides complete management support and training to the aspiring individuals so that with their high level of enthusiasm and inner drive the franchisees can make their dream a success. Their attributes to take calculated risks and acute business sense become the driving force behind success of the brand's vision.

Challenges to overcome

No business is complete without challenges. The industry is facing different problems at different levels. A few find recruiting as a challenge while investment and setting an outlet is an area of problem for others.

Running a health, beauty and wellness centre is perhaps the ultimate feel-good business, and as a owner/franchisee, helping others look better and feel more relaxed is of utmost satisfaction. Earning a healthy income in the business, however, is hard work, given the challenges in employee retention and financing. The greatest challenge faced by every salon, spa, gym and wellness centre owner is retention and loyalty of their teams in addition to finance and  budgets. Apart from this, shortage of female trainers at women's fitness chain is another trouble faced in the industry.

Expansion forecast

Currently, Iosis has 11 units operational via the franchise route and is looking for expanding in metros, tier- I and II cities. Vivafit is running its five franchise centres and is targeting cities including Jaipur, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Bhopal, Indore, Dehradun, NCR and others for the roll out. Presently, Shahnaz Husain has over 400 franchise ventures worldwide and is looking to expand preferably in Pune, Nasik, Dehradun, Faridabad, Baroda and many more. The brand believes that the business has already expanded in metros and other big cities. It is tier-III places that are seen as having great potential. However, Contours with 11 operational outlets in India is aggressively looking for franchisees pan-India preferably in tier- I & II cities.

85% of salons and spas are run by women entrepreneurs who are looking to make a mark in the beauty and wellness industry. Herbal and organic beauty care has been the main driver of growth in the beauty industry.

 

 

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