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PRIYADARSHINI PAITANDY
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CHATLINE 128 salons and counting! Veena and C.K. Kumaravel talk to PRIYADARSHINI PAITANDY about taking their beauty chain to small towns and creating job opportunities

No jazzy music. No flashy lights. No waiting lounges stacked with magazines. Only single-room ‘beauty parlours' where clients sat huddled awaiting their turn, while the ones getting the work done sat with their faces slathered in gooey pastes or hair pulled back into embarrassing knots with the others looking on. So much for discreet beauty treatments. The alternative was probably to walk into a five-star hotel and get services done at their posh fragrant salons and of course shell out a lot extra. There weren't enough mid-level salons to bridge the gap between the two and that's when Veena thought of starting Naturals. The first salon came up on Khader Nawaz Khan Road in 2000. “It was a way to keep myself occupied. At that point Chennai mostly had small parlours and many people weren't comfortable walking into a big hotel, so we thought a salon such as this would be a good idea,” says Veena Kumaravel.

“Initially funding was difficult. Even banks wouldn't fund salons. It was a hassle those days to procure salon equipment. The furniture for the salon was imported from Italy. It's easier now,” says Veena adding, “We broke even after three years and then opened our second salon in Anna Nagar.” More outlets were opened across the city, the business grew bigger and required more help. So, Veena's husband C.K. Kumaravel, who already had his own business, joined her.

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