There is no international threat to us: Looks Salon Founder
There is no international threat to us: Looks Salon Founder

When Sanjay Dutta, a B.Com graduate with no professional knowledge of grooming envisioned Looks Salon in 1989, the salon industry was amateur and full of challenges. However, this self motivated man has made every possible effort to build a brand which is exclusive, premium yet dicount averse brand.

With a target to create same big bang market presence in remaining three regions of the country, here is a success saga of Looks Premium Salon.

How was the market like in 1989?
In 1989, competition wasn’t as high it was after 10-11 years. In 1996, when L’Oréal came to India and brought its high quality professional range of products along with knowledge about beauty and hair the real competition began. In 2001, they invited me to Paris and to the city of Bologna to attend the Cosmoprof (Cosmoprof Worldwide, the quintessential international beauty edition of competition) where the vision totally changed. Going to Cosmoprof, being an Indian, was a different experience and exposure all together during that time.  People really welcomed us when we went to the city of Bologna and when I returned, L’Oréal proposed us to open collaboration salons. Thus, we were the first brand to open L’Oréal collaboration salons in Delhi in 2002.

What changes have you seen in terms of customer behaviour and what kind of services the new age consumers prefer as per the on vogue trends?
Indian Salon Industry is evolving with time. As we walked down the road, we have observed a paradigm shift in customers’ adaptation to this industry. From considering Salon as a ‘Mom & Pop barber shop’ to a place where they pamper themselves is the change that is observed in the consumer behaviour.

The evolution has seen acceptability of hair-beauty services by male gender. People who used to think of Salon services as luxury have started accepting it as basic grooming practices.

What kind of technology are you using for effective operations of all Looks outlets in India? Have you upgraded or installed any new technology to keep a tab over franchisee’s performance?
We have certain tracking and monitoring tools deployed, which we use to efficiently track and monitor the performance of all Salon’s. We have ERP and CRM software’s which help us achieve that. Our software’s are omni-present and is the same in every Looks Salon. We constantly upgrade our systems with time for the ease of transaction. Also, we run our in-house customer loyalty program which has the largest customer database in our geography of operations.

How do you decide on the location to open salon? What kind of area you prefer to open outlets and why? Please elaborate.
We choose locations on basis of need in the surrounding area. Once our franchise team identifies the location, we open nominations for franchise allocation. We aim at associating with likeminded business owners which can be in-sync with the vision and mission of the brand.

What’s your take on the growing market competition with the foray of global players?
In Delhi, we don’t see any competition because my one salon is competing with the other salon. So, we don’t see what other people are doing. Rather, we are more interested in giving something new to our clients. While, if you talk about international brands venturing into Indian market, what’s the point having them here, if the staff working in it is Indian, trained in local academies. There is no international challenge or threat to us as the international brands foraying in Indian market are keeping our products. As we have our own academy, these international brands are seeking staff recruitment from our academies only. We give professional training too and these staff members are trained and skilled by us.

What are your expansion plans in India and overseas?
Last year we’ve opened 25 salons and this year we have 30-25 salons and have 5 years plan to open 250 salons in total. We’re the only brand in the market with 7 outlets in last 8 months. Being choosy about the locations, we will surely open in Bengaluru in South and Mumbai and certain locations in Pune in all the metro and smart cities of India. So far, we have opened our first salon in Dubai in March 2015.

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