When a New Delhi-based men’s magazine approached cricketer Virat Kohli for a photo shoot, he insisted that his hair stylist be flown in from Mumbai. The production team balked at her airfare and accommodation demands, not to mention her exorbitant fee.
Fans of Kohli, however, will unhesitatingly fork out the money to imitate his rocker Mohawk-styled eyebrow cut. It is these young Indians, inspired by stylish movie stars and cricketers who are behind the growth of the salon industry. From trims by world-renowned stylists that cost more than Rs 50,000 (champagne and pick-up and drop in a BMW 7 Series come free) to ‘espresso’ restyling for Rs 99 that snips your mane into shape in seconds to hair yoga (read branded ‘champi’), they’re all innovations that are making the cut.
The industry, pegged at Rs 12,400 crore, has seen a 33% increase over last year, according to a report by Franchise India. Primarily unorganized, it comprises 40% of the Indian beauty care market estimated at nearly Rs 31,000 crore and is set to turn into a Rs 21,700-crore business by 2015.
Its bounce has attracted new investors. Earlier this week, Godrej Consumer Products acquired a 30% stake in Mumbai-based premium hair salon chain b:blunt, run by siblings Adhuna Bhabani Akhtar & Osh Bhabani, for an undisclosed sum.
Last year in April, India Quotient picked up a stake in Mumbai-based doorstep beauty service Belita and in May, Everstone and Helion Venture invested in Bangalore-based salon chain R&R Salons that runs the “YLG” (You Look Great) brand of salons.
Industry estimates reveal that a high-end salon, which usually requires Rs 40-50 lakh to set up in a metro, achieves a break-even point in 12 months. “From the time we started, we have grown each month by about 25%,” said Italian hairstylist Rossano Ferretti, who is all set to open at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Bangalore next month, his third hair spa in India after The Oberoi, Gurgaon and the Four Sea sons, Mumbai.
Ferretti’s client list includes Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and the Late Princess Diana, and he is considered the most expensive hair stylist in the world, charging $1,000 (roughly Rs 60,000) for a cut.
Slated to visit India later this month, Ferretti’s, Gurgaon salon has him booked for three appointments. For the price, his uber rich clientele gets a pick up and drop in a BMW 7 Series, champagne on arrival, use of a VIP room and a luxurious hair revitalizing ritual of caviar pearls.