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investment 22 Jun 2016

How rebranding works wonders for Naturals@home, disrupting Indian salon industry

Two expert in their respective fields merged couple of months back to raise the bar of competition in Indian salon industry. It’s the saga of Naturals@home, which is set to disrupt online beauty marketplace in India.

“A brick & mortar is incomplete without online presence. Similarly, an online venture won’t sustain for long without physical presence,” opined CK Kumaravel, Co-founder and CEO of Naturals salon chain, when asked about brand’s recent deal with Vyomo online beauty marketplace.

Headquartered in Chennai, Naturals salon chain is the brainchild of Veena K, backed by hubby CK Kumaravel. The brand dominates the Indian salon industry with about 550 salons in 80 cities across India and has presence in UAE.

Known for disrupting the industry, Naturals salon has once again ideate to bring brook & mortar merge with online marketplace Vyomo and re-branded it as Naturals@home.

The idea clicked with the existing market gap witnessed by the franchise giant.

The problem

So far, Naturals salon has held a strong position in salon industry, dominating the market with over 500 physical outlets, successfully operating in every nook & corner of India. However, the brand was unable to hold the same expertise on the digital space.

Thus, to fortify its weakness, Naturals opened arms for tech startups.

“We wanted to enter into this (tech marketplace) space because there is a set of consumers who are available at-home and the beauticians are available in the salon. Customer is waiting for the beautician, while the beautician is waiting for the customer. The best of the salons has only 50 per cent of capacity utilization. Usually a salon’s capacity utilization is only 40 per cent. In order to make this 50 into 80, unless we do something out of the box, it’s not going to happen,” shared Kumaravel.

The solution

The pioneers were approached by numerous beauty startups like Paparazzi and Mumbai’s The Home Salon. But, nothing clicked, until a Bengaluru-based startup Vyomo approached them.

“They liked the team, they liked our execution capability, they liked the disruption that we were doing and also, they believe that on-demand beauty services will take upto 30 per cent of the beauty service industry.Rather than sitting on the fence, they wanted to lead,” explained Abhinav Khare, Founder, Vyomo beauty marketplace.

Outcome

The startup signed $15 million deal with Naturals, giving controlling stake to the later in cricketer Yuvaraj Singh backed Vyomo and agreed to re-brand the beauty app as ‘Naturals@home’.

Significantly, ‘Re-branding’ was yet another strategy of the duo to boost online clientele.

Elaborating on the same, Khare unveiled, “We’re changing Vyomo with Naturals which are much prestigious. They are paying crores of rupees in the marketing and promotions and it makes sense to utilise the resources that I have access to. Majority of the funds will be investing in building very high technology team and second one is going live in 80 cities in the next 6 months period. So not only in tier I, but all the tier II cities as well.”

Significantly, not only the team and its long-term vision, but the technology and engineering of Vyomo compelled the Naturals team to welcome the startup on-board. Likewise, Vyomo astounded with the largest beauty salons chains in India, almost double of the nearest competitor (Lakmé), close to 550 salons in 80 cities in India. While the second largest player is Lakmé, which almost procure 270 salons in the country.

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