…Natural edge

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GROOMING MANTRAC.K. Kumaravel and Veenaphotos: V. GANESAN
GROOMING MANTRAC.K. Kumaravel and Veenaphotos: V. GANESAN

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And the fairytale continues as the salon has just launched its 128th outlet in the country. It is probably the only salon from Chennai to have such a wide presence. So far Naturals has branches in Pune, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Calicut, Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram, Ooty, Puducherry among others. “We are also catering to smaller towns such as Cuddalore, Tirupati, Thanjavur, Salem, Ranipet, Pollachi, Tirupur, Nagercoil... These are good markets for us as there is not much competition there. It is amazing how beauty conscious people are these days. Television has penetrated their living rooms and they aspire to be what they see on TV,” adds Kumaravel.

The couple recalls that till about a few decades ago going to a parlour was considered taboo. When Naturals came up with unisex salons, the conservative Chennaiite wasn't too comfortable with it. But gradually things began to change. And most men stopped going to ‘barber shops' and got introduced to the world of salons.

Veena believes that this industry suffers from misnomers. “Earlier people thought that those who were not academically inclined would take up this profession. But today graduates approach us for training,” smiles Veena.

Naturals have their own training academies in T. Nagar, Coimbatore and Siliguri and shortly plan to open in Bengaluru and Hyderabad as well. “By opting for the franchise model we ensured the proper functioning of the salons because it was getting difficult for us to handle everything on our own,” she adds. Most of the franchisees are women and Veena and Kumaravel are happy that they have empowered more than 600 women and provided about 15,000 jobs.

Following the success of Naturals, the duo wanted to establish a high-end salon and in 2010 Page 3 was launched. “We tied up with Kerastase and Keraskin for treatments. This salon focuses on a different line of treatments and products altogether,” says Veena.

What's next? “We're aiming at a pan-Indian presence. Actor Genelia our brand ambassador is also our client,” they say.

Ironically, a business which lets its clients sit back and relax doesn't quite let the owners do so. “This industry has got its own challenges. It's important to be innovative and keep the staff motivated. It is vital to take our clients' feedback seriously. We have received complaints from our clients about certain aspects and we ensure we correct them,” Kumaravel says and adds with a grin, “Yes, I do enjoy hair spa treatments here.” Veena laughs and intervenes, “Having a salon helps because no matter what time of the day it is you can always get an appointment for a hair treatment!”

Earlier people thought that those who were not academically inclined would take up this profession. But today graduates approach us for training




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