A business for which the future looks eternally bright is of beauty parlours. Everyone wants to look nice and a visit to the parlour is the first choice for people looking for a quick fix.
In Goa, the beauty business is booming and attracts entrepreneurs in a big way. In fact, after gold jewelry shops it would be beauty parlours that are really popular for business especially among women entrepreneurs.
With a salon around corner, it is difficult to put a number of how many beauty parlours are there in the state. According to officials of the Ponda Municipal Council just Ponda city alone has 44 operational parlours.
Currently with the festival of Christmas around the corner it is busy time for those in the trade of beautifying. Most of are tapping on the demand for makeovers and treatments to boost business in the festive season.
Owners reveal that, business is blooming but also becoming highly competitive. “Customers want quick service, the minute you keep them waiting they walk away” points out Supriya Gaonkar, Supriya Ladies Beauty Parlour, Ponda.
Parlour owners say that, the average growth in sales due to the ongoing festive rush is about 25 to 30 per cent. Some of the most requested services are hair coloring, highlights, haircuts, facials, pedicure, manicure and bridal makeup. According to them, international clients and weddings bring in high returns towards the year-end.
To manage the festive rush Neomis Salon and Spa, Caranzalem, attends to clients only on first come first serve basis. “We stop taking appointments prior to the Christmas week as this allows us to manage the rush better and not all our clients can make it on time for the appointment” reveals Neomi Barneto, owner of the Neomis chain.
Barneto is in the industry for over 20 years, and she explains, that to make services pocket friendly and encourage customers to spend on grooming for the festive season the store introduces various type of offers.
There are all types of parlous. Some operate on traditional lines while some are hi-fi. Most of the parlours have transformed into salons and spas although they may offer just the regular services. Local beauticians who operate on word of mouth publicity are eager to grab a share of the lucrative beauty pie but say that, awareness of costly imported products and preference for luxury among customers has made it tough to make profits.
Bindu Tyagi, owner , Saundarta Vandana, Ponda, says that, she stocks up on popular brands based on the customer’s most frequent request. “I research on the benefits of the product and market it to clients who are hesitant to use it . If we do not have the product we have to put down the customer’s request at first but when we get a similar request again it becomes an unavoidable investment as we cannot compromise with our client’s satisfaction to survive in this sector,” she reveals.
Apart from ensuring quality in the products used, parlour owners also give utmost importance to hygiene. “We make sure to keep the premises clean at all times and employ dedicated staff for this purpose. It is important to spend on this field if you want your client’s to come to you again. Cleanliness and relaxed atmosphere is important,” explains Barneto. She discloses that, customers value hygiene above all more than luxury. “Luxurious interiors in salons can be worked upon depending on the client segment but it cannot replace the hygiene aspect,” says Barneto who over the years is expanded her network to make it a successful chain.
Goa is also known as a wedding destination, so salons bank on bridal packages to lure in customers. Presently with the wedding season in full bloom, most salons are offering free trails for loyal customers and consultation services. “Earlier only Catholic brides would approach us for bridal services but now we get Hindu and foreign brides too” says Barneto.
Jahed Hussain, proprietor, Javed Habib, says “Destination weddings are highly profitable for us as clients are willing to shell out extra for their special day. However the number of Goan weddings we receive are few as we have observed that their the budget is much smaller to opt for our services.”
Making a digital switch to garner sales is the latest trend in the industry. Salons make the best use of apps and social media platforms to reach out to their clients. “We launched an app about six months back to provide our client’s hassle free appointment bookings and avail of offers at their nearest outlet” says Barneto.
Some salons also post photographs and feedbacks on facebook and instagram to portfolio their work on the online platform. “Gone are the days where we had to maintain a photo album at the salon to show our clients bridal looks. Today our customers search online on the look they want and dedicatedly follow our work on social media before approaching us,” reveals Awon Fernandes, owner , ax styles, Pillar.
Beauty parlours are profitable business. Especially for women entrepreneurs they are the best avenue to become financially independent. Most owners say that, theirs is the only industry that is skewed in favour of women. “Salons are one segment of the beauty industry where you will find women who have not taken up jobs before coming forward to start their own business. A number of subsidy options are available in the state to further boost their passion,” discloses Barneto.
According to officials at EDC, most of the women beneficiaries under the CMRY scheme for self-employment take loans for setting up beauty parlours which just goes to show how popular the business is.