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The success of salon business depends on the retention of new clients- Istayak Ansari

Men’s grooming market has been growing large with each passing day due to the increase in awareness and availability of high amount of disposable income.

By Tanvi Jetly Feature Writer

Men’s grooming is a rising sector and the beauty industry is bringing in opportunities for many brands and choices for customers. Men have always been looked at as the species that doesn’t care much about looks and grooming but with times taking a turn, they have also started investing their time and money into their appearance. Brands have been noticing this change and have, on the most appropriate time, come up with services that men would love. In a conversation with Istayak Ansari, Director and Co- Founder, Truefitt & Hill, Lloyds Luxuries Ltd, for our Indian Salon and Wellness Coffee Table Book 2017, he shares with us the vision that has let his brand to keep going on, his viewpoint regarding the men’s grooming market and being a brand that only serves exclusively men.

Kindly share a brief about your brand, Truefitt & Hill.
Catering exclusively to men, Truefitt & Hill aims to create a grooming destination which not only stands out for its products and services but also creates new benchmark when it comes to customer service. Established in 2013, Lloyds Luxuries successfully acquired the ‘Master Franchise License’ for Truefitt & Hill. Being positioned as the top ranking luxury barbershop in India, it enjoys its success primarily due to factors like intense training by master barbers from UK, consistency in service delivery, maintaining international hygiene standards, using world-class products from Truefitt & Hill- UK and a passionate and motivated team which shares the same vision for the brand.

How has been your entrepreneurial journey?
I had started this journey with Truefitt & Hill post quitting my job as a CEO of an international gym chain. Grooming business is very different from the gym business. The positive side of the business is that it’s a necessity. Everyone visits a salon/barbershop at least a month and would spend between Rs 50 and Rs 5000. However, the negative side is that if you don’t win the customers over during the first visit, he is not coming back to you. Therefore, the success of salon business depends on the retention of new clients. The brand in India was started in May 2014 with the first store in Khar, Mumbai. Today, Truefitt & Hill has the largest footprint in India, as compared to other nations.

What, according to you, are the latest emerging trends in the spa and salon industry?
In the last few years, there has been tremendous growth in the salon and spa sector. Contrary to the popular belief that women enjoy salon services more than men, Truefitt & Hill is one of its kind salons, catering to only men folk. Men account for 15 to 20 percent of the total revenue in any salon. The grooming market for men is at the growth stage which will grow at 25 to 30 percent over the next 10 years. Growth in the nation’s salon and spa industry continues to outstrip the overall economy in the recent years and will continue to do so.

What is the vision on which Truefitt & Hill works?
We groom men for greatness. With our talented team and proven experience, we strive to be the top luxury barbershop in the country.

What all challenges did you face and how did you overcome them in your business?
Initially, for Truefitt & Hill, the biggest challenge was to get trained and well-groomed staff. When the brand started the business, its entire focus was on delivering a world-class experience that required intensive training of the staff before they opened its first store. And, accordingly, the entire staff was sent for two months intense training before they were deputed to the store. This ritual is even followed today. This is followed by a monthly training for the next three months to make sure all the staff is technically at the same level for uniformity of the services.

Any unforgettable moments for you and your brand?
In the last three years journey, Trufitt & Hill has enjoyed several unforgettable moments by receiving awards and recognition. Apart from awards and recognition that we have received, the best moment is when our clients praise us and tell us how this brand has changed their perspective towards grooming.

Kindly say something about your brand’s business model and expansion plans.
Since 2014, Truefitt & Hill has added 10 stores across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Gurgaon. The brand runs via a mix of company-owned and franchise-owned outlets. It plans to open 10 new stores in India which will include existing cities and Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Ahmadabad, Chandigarh and Indore. In addition, Truefitt and Hill will be opening first two international stores in Dhaka- Bangladesh and Colombo- Sri Lanka in 2017 as the brand has rights for Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan.

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