By successfully operating over 400 salons in India, Naturals salon has become the leading salon chains in Indian market. WI Bureau spoke to CK Kumaravel, Co-Founder, Naturals salon chain to find out their success mantra and more.
One of the fastest spreading and biggest salon chains Naturals has reached about 480 salons this year. The fastest growing salon chain is all set to hit the UAE markets and couple of other countries in abroad this year. CK Kumaravel, Co-Founder, Naturals salon chain, in an exclusive conversation with Wellness India unveiled this elite news, success mantra and much more.
Naturals’ franchising spree
In the beginning, we never though we will reach this far. It’s the outcome of great team effort that we reached this far. It is the success of the formula. A lot of time we have disrupted this industry. This industry is going on in one speed at 20-30 kilometers. Suddenly, we forayed into the (salon) space and unveiled that this business could also be run at a speed of 60-70-80 kilometers of speed. So, that is what we have done exactly and franchising is a vehicle which can really give augment speed. In a business arena, franchising is the best vehicle you should get in to in India and because India is a large country, it’s a vast country, 20 states minimum which acts like 20 countries, behaves differently. So for me, am very excited about franchising more than my salon business. What I’ve learnt is not salon business, instead I’ve learnt only franchising. How to do franchising in India is what we have learnt in over the years. Even today, technically, I do not know anything about salons and which is actually my plus point. Had I focused on my technical efficiency to run a salon successfully by learning to give a better hair cut or make-up or skincare treatment, or to make a better product for the salon industry, I would not have been sitting here and talking about being a pioneer in the salon chain in India.
Success mantra of Naturals salon
People think there is a success is a secret. Success is not a secret. It’s like knowing the combination to your number lock. If you put the numbers right, the lock will open. The numbers for the salon franchising business is:
1. To get the right franchising partner
2. To get the right location
3. To get the right interiors
4. To get the right product
5. To get the right people
6. To get the right training
7. To get the right pricing
8. To get the right promotion
If you put all the numbers in right sequence, the lock will open. The lock won’t mind whether you are a male or female, black or white, educated or uneducated, rich or poor. The number lock needs the number to be put in sequence. A lot of people know 5 or 6 numbers. They may not know the 7th or the 8th number or some might not put all the numbers in sequence that also is a challenge. So, we not only to put the right numbers, we also need to put in the right sequence like a recipe made out of right ingredients adding in right quantity and at the right time.
Apart from this, to become successful, one should have passion. Once you have passion for something, it automatically brings focus towards the same.
Challenges pertaining to the industry
I think, lack of competition is the challenge now. In fact, international brands foraying into Indian markets are good for us. I don’t think they would be able to make any impact as to understand Indian market and culture would take a lot of time. Meanwhile, we may learn couple of tricks from them rather than they will learn the Indian market from us. So, I am very clear that international ventures or people are not a threat to us. International brands are an opportunity for us. In fact, I do not consider Competition as a threat, it’s an opportunity for us to learn and get perceived.
Currently, in Tamil Nadu, Green Trends and Naturals are hitting each other. Otherwise, there is no other threat existing in the market for us.
No plans to foray into spas
Spas are for hotels which are offering luxury to the guests. There is no particular business sense for the hotels. It is a facility they are offering. It is not a separate business proposition for them. To that extent, a standalone spa could never be as good as a hotel spa. The hotel spas’ one therapy rooms cover entire area of a standalone spa. There is no way to beat the hotel spas that is one reason for us not to enter into standalone spa category. Secondly, culturally we have not evolved. Spas are most likely being considered as the best and nearest place to cheat spouse. That is where the low-end spas have spoiled the name of the standalone spas, which is another reason we have always kept ourselves away from the spa business.
Plans of merger/acquisition
We are willing for the tie-ups or acquisitions, both. However, unfortunately, the one are good and doing well, are not willing to sell. People, who are bad, are not worth buying. So it’s not in the kitty in near future.
Venturing into personal care products
Not at the moment. Right now our focus is towards reaching that 1000 salons market and we are heading towards the same as speed and size does make a lot of impact and brings all the good quality as a by-product.
Spreading market presence not business
I think, firstly, it is very important to get the size. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellent is not an act, but a habit. I am good at franchising. One cannot open salon like that, own store can be open easily. Because Naturals is my salon and I can ask my team to open 500 salons tomorrow, I ask for PE funds and ask everyone to open and it will be opened. Whereas, if you are into franchising business, you will have to check with your friend, siblings, relatives, on the internet and then only the business can grow. Franchising is a self correcting system. Unless you are good, you can’t grow. Out of my all the salons, 70 per cent is owned by the same people, 40 per cent of the people have multi-stores. It is not one store. So our growth comes from the same people who have tasted success and then they ought to open more. We are giving each person 3 salons to manage and in case a couple is managing, we give them 6 salons.
I have a dream to chase, a goal to achieve. My dream is to erase the word House Wife from the Indian dictionary. As long as there are house wives, my dream never ends. So it will continue. And, I don’t have a financial number. Then I’ll have a financial number game than I’ll become tired. My long-term dream is to create a global brand. It is a shame that India doesn’t have even 5 global brands. I want to create a global Indian brand that’s my big dream. So, as long as my dreams are not fulfilled, I have adequate energy.
We are opening our salons in Dubai and then around that five countries in UAE, GCC, USA and more. End of next year, we should be operating in 10 countries and that will give us the flavour of international market.