The Indian Salon Report 2014 says, the industry is worth $2.6 billion and growing at a promising rate of 20 per cent year-on-year and franchising is the key to growth of this industry.
Franchising is the prime reason of growth and rapid expansion of Indian salon industry. Today, consumers are looking for - Convenience, Effective solutions, Progressive Styles and on vogue exclusivity and delight at their each visit to the salon. Partnering with a brand gives you a tried and tested formula for all of the above.
In fact, Salon Interiors have become a major turnkey in the recent times. And, franchising with an established brand gives the investor an expert solution to the same. To understand more about the tit-bits of salon franchise in India, WI Bureau spoke to leading mom-entrepreneur, celebrity stylist and Founder and Creative Director of BBLUNT salons- Adhuna Bhabani.
About her franchise journey
We thought of franchising 5 years after the brand was launched. We have taken time to develop the right model and partnering with the right franchisee. We finalized the model and initiated with a wave of 7 outlets in the initial period, then we paused for a couple of years to evaluate and strengthen the existing business partners. We learnt from our experiences, both mistakes and successes, and improvised our model. Now, we are going more ambitiously and looking to expand full steam through our franchise network.
BBLUNT’s growth story
From opening our first business together on to winning hair dressing awards, from opening our second branch onto the 17th one and from our first Bollywood hair styling debut, to the 50+ films that followed after, has all been a part of our growth. I think Dil Chahta Hai put BBLUNT on the map. It marked the breaking away from the traditional mould of hair styling in Bollywood. The setting up of our academy has by far been one of our biggest milestones, crucial to helping us expand and enabling us to achieve goals that we had set for ourselves before we even started any of it all. Our primary goal had always been to create an army of hair dressers who are open and honest in the work that they do, and we have! As hairdressers, we admired Vidal Sassoon, and another one of our goals was to take the best aspects of what we’ve learned from them and create that for ourselves in India. The bigger, more challenging dream however, for my brother, Osh (Bhabani) and Avan (Contractor) and I was to create our line of products customized for Indian hair type and weather conditions and our partnership with Godrej made that come true! We now are able to reach out to the larger masses through our products, giving them a customized BBLUNT experience in hair care and styling, that too in the comfort of their homes.
Best performing franchisees
Every partner of our’s brings different strengths to the table. Some are of creative outlook and some are more business centric. However, the best is the combination of both to strike the right balance. It’s unfair to name one, the sign of a successful franchise is venturing into multiple outlets and we have a couple of such partners. We are pleased that all of them are running healthy profit margins.
Franchisee selection criteria
We welcome invitations from all prospective franchisees. We need to be confident that our franchise partners are capable of creating a salon business that meets our high standards. Hence, there are a number of criteria that we would prefer the franchise team to be able to demonstrate in advance. It’s a must for all BBLUNT‘s partners to share our entrepreneurial passion and quality consciousness.
Moreover, we offer an exhaustive training for the technical team before all systems are a go and a dedicated number of days to polish their skills and update the teams with latest, global trends in the hair industry.
About 35 per cent of our franchisees are owned and run by young entrepreneurs who are between the age group of 25-39 years, but we do not believe in any age discrimination. It’s important to find the right partner irrespective of their age.
We are remotely connected with all our stores through our ERP system which makes the audit process effective and enables us to support the franchise partners in taking marketing, hiring and process improvisation calls for their respective stores.
We see our organisation to be at the top of our chosen businesses. Be it high end company owned salon businesses, an education business that produces the next wave of talent, successful franchise network across the country and at select international locations, a thriving Bollywood and shoot business or whether it would be an excellent range of hair care products made for Indian hair type and weather – bringing you a BBLUNT stylist in a bottle and give you a salon-like experience at home. Hair is what we do best – so we’re committed to propel forward using years of experience within hair styling and expertise in hair care.
Acknowledging franchisee success
We love to grow with our business partners by learning from each other’s mistakes and sharing successes. As most of our franchisee salons were in a start-up phase so the focus was to nurture and help them grow and now as they mature, we will develop ways to acknowledge their achievements.
Young vs experienced franchisee
Both sides have their own strengths. And, as a franchisor, we would like to have a combination of youthful enthusiasm paired with experienced professionalism. The young entrepreneurs need to have some track record to prove their calibre and the experienced entrepreneurs should be flexible and adaptable in their approach to business.
We are majorly planning to expand in the metros and the upcoming cities in India where there is a demand for aspirational Hair Care. We also intend to expand further in selected international locations with a large Indian population.
Preferred location to flex franchise
There are two concepts that we offer – BBLUNT mini and BBLUNT Style Bar.
BBLUNT Style Bar is a pioneering concept in India of a ‘Retail shop with a salon in it’ and it is preferred to be located in high footfall malls. This concept is a hybrid of retail and salon and will change the way people buy hair products in the country.
While, BBLUNT mini is our aspirational brand, developed in response to the growing wealth in India; these salons strive for outstanding service in upmarket venues, but at reasonable prices. Preference would be near an upbeat residential area or high street to start with a BBLUNT mini.
Selection of right franchise location
We check the potential of the location through various mediums like industry sources, retail vendors, reputed brooking agents or employees who might be native to that place, etc. We also value the partners’ understanding of the market and highly depend on their recommendation as we believe them to be the masters of that location
Selection criteria usually include checks like neighbouring brands, proximity of premium coffee brands like Starbucks, etc. to understand spending capacity of the locale. We also try and get the business numbers of these stores to validate our selection.
Extending franchisee support
Training is our core strength and that has been a powerful retention tool for us. We share developmental plans with each individual team member which guides them to value their contribution to the organisation.
We ensure that each team member of the franchise salons are trained with us so they can adapt the BBLUNT way of treating hair. There is constant interaction with the teams on both business and technical front. We recommend our approved vendors for all salon equipment to our franchisee partners.