The business of beauty is experiencing a 360 degree shift for the better as, elite salon brands add boutique hoard that lift quality standards and profit margins for salon business, opens room for opportunities.
Boutiquing in salon business compliments traditional image of India’s beauty parlours and salons. It allows stylists to transform into full service fashion advisors for their clients. What's more surprising, it not only focuses on creating a high-end ambiance that offers burly services, but it equally provides chic pampering by choicest products.
Often define as two notches up from a regular beauty service space, Boutique salons draws attention of a community of several thousand loyal consumers, who tend to flaunt brand name over the stylist or service being opted by them.
“Boutique salons will always find a need and patrons from a large country like ours. But it will not get scale. Trick of the trade is to retain its uniqueness and still find a scale. Brands born out of personalities like Ambika Pillai, Hakeem Aleem will find it difficult to manage both scale and uniqueness. While brands like BBlunt and Page3 has managed to do both seamlessly. So the trick of the trade is to find scale for boutique salons. That's a billion dollar opportunity,” said CK Kumaravel, CEO & Co-founder, Naturals boutique spa & salon.
Out of the box
At a time like this Magnifique, India’s first luxury boutique salon has opened its doors to consumers who demand the best for their vanity – hair, skin, make-up, personal grooming and body care. The ultra luxurious salon in Delhi’s Defence Colony area has been attracting both men and women who don’t want to compromise on quality.
Magnifique offers cutting edge services with new SOP as the stylist understand consumers’ face structure, body type, lifestyle and personality before putting scissor over the comb.
“The pampering and catering to the individual tastes and needs of our clients has paid off well. That is why, most first time clients at Magnifique are converting into regular and loyal consumers,” informed Milan Sharma, Managing Partner, Magnifique Boutique salon.
He later noted, at boutique salons, clients are treated as individuals and not as meagre number that walk through the door.
India’s growing internal consumption is moving away from the mass market to the luxury segment. According to ASSOCHAM, the Indian luxury market is expected to cross $18.3 billion by the end of 2016 from the earlier figure of $14.7 billion, growing at a CAGR of about 25 per cent.
Besides travel, cars, jewellery and clothes, luxury market also includes business of grooming which specifically includes luxury spas and salons. The size of the high income group consumers continues to grow as they now spend over 40 per cent of their monthly income on luxury brands, products and services. While, middle-income group consumers spend only 8 to10 per cent of their income on grooming services.
Successfully raising the bar in the category, Lakmé Absolute salon, the premium unisex state-of-the-art chain of salons operated by Lakmé Lever, marks the epitome of exclusivity. Its luxurious offering equipped with a bevy of bespoke services, the best international beauty brands, and a rich legacy of backstage expertise from Lakmé Fashion Weeks makes it a tough competitor in the boutique salons’ category.
With the increasing spending propensity and a general proclivity to invest in personal care, consumers not only want to look groomed, but expect world-class expertise, cutting-edge services and a great experience, at par with international trends. Boutique Salons are catering to this growing demand, offering high-quality services delivered in a premium ambience,” opined Pushkraj Shenai, CEO, Lakmé Lever Pvt Ltd.
The gap between ‘the aspirational’ and ‘the high rollers’ is not just getting thin, but is now an evident overlap between the two.
Raising the bar
Not only services, products and ambiance can woo a high end client, it’s the professionally trained staff and hospitality which brings bonus points to the kitty.
“Times are changing very fast in professional salon industry. No more fooling by big brands where personal touch is missing and target pressure is high. Even the professionals have learnt that only transparent niche boutique brands will be good at providing quality and enhancing their image and repute in years to come. I also think beauty and wellness industry can't be ignored and will adopt green organic natural movement in coming years through Boutique salons,” said Richa Agarwal, Founder & CEO, Cleopatra Salon & Spa, Chandigarh.
Boutique salons, where clients can relax in an ambient environment that reeks of luxury with every attention to detail aromatherapy, piped music, good coffee and refreshments, as well as associates that have been trained extensively in soft skills to raise standard of their work place.
Many salon owners have already established themselves as premiere hair care centers, and because of this, the addition of retail corner or product bar would be simple and inexpensive, yet effective addition in the Boutique salons.