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spa industry 06 Dec 2017

In India, spa therapies are viewed as a luxury and not as an investment in one’s health- Sunil Rao

Providing the customers with quality spa services and affordable prices spells success for a brand that spires to be better than others.

By Tanvi Jetly Feature Writer

Everyone loves a good spa day. Enjoying and relaxing in a spa that relieves you from the stress that has been accumulated is a perfect idea. What stops many potential customers from enjoying such an experience is the high prices that come with the spa services. Affordability is the main point that attracts many customers towards a brand. In a conversation with (L to R) Sunil Rao, Anurag Kedia and Saurabh Garg, Co-Founders, Four Fountains De-Stress Spa, they tell us the reason that led them to start a spa chain of their own, the challenges they encountered and the future they see in the industry.

Kindly share a brief about your brand, Four Fountains De-stress spa.
Four Fountains De-stress spa, India’s largest chains of a professional healthy spa, provides holistic and therapeutic spa therapies for managing stress-induced health problems such as pain, anxiety, sleep problems, fatigue and skin ageing. The spa is located in about 30 cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Bengaluru and Pune. All therapies are provided in a scientific and holistic manner based on a guest’s health needs and lifestyle. The therapists undergo rigorous training and certification at an in-house spa training academy and are required to go through audits and re-training.

How has been your entrepreneurial journey?
Anurag- As managers employed with multi-national companies, I had worked for three years with KPMG Consulting and Tata Administrative Services. Saurabh Garg and Sunil Rao had worked for three years with Hindustan Unilever, which were fairly stressful jobs. We would travel frequently and stay in hotels. However, despite being reasonably well-paid, we could never afford to regularly take relaxing massages at the hotel spas due to the exorbitant prices. We realised that there were perhaps many more working professionals who faced the same problem. If India had to be made stress-free, spa therapies would have to be made more affordable. That common experience provided us the inspiration to start a chain of spas that would put spas within reach of people. We have today evolved into a complete health and wellness management company with brands like Four Fountains De-Stress Spa (day spa chain), Nu Ayurveda Clinic (a chain of lifestyle diseases), my Daily (meal replacement shake) and Power Spa (on-location mobile spa services for weddings and other events.

Let us know about the challenges you encountered.
Sunil- The most challenging aspect of this business was educating people about the health benefits of taking spa therapies. In India, spa therapies are viewed as a luxury and not as an investment in one’s health. However, the brand overcame this barrier by educating consumers about the scientifically proven health benefits of taking spa therapies like massages regularly. After a person has tried a spa therapy like a massage once and experienced the de-stressing effects, he or she does not need any more convincing. Another challenge was finding trained spa therapists. We have overcome this problem by setting up our own training academy where we train even fresh recruits in the science and art of spa therapies.

What, according to you, is the future of the industry?
Saurabh- We believe that both businesses are complementary to each other since every spa customer will need a salon and many salon customers may also want to use spa services. We think that in future specialisation will increase; more spas and salons will be co-located but operate under different brands rather than under one brand.                                                                                                                    

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