It was just an urge to earn Rs 60,000 a month that turned the couple C K Kumaravel and K Veena into entrepreneurs and owners of the Rs 200 crore Naturals Beauty salon, the beauty care brand of Groom India Salon and Spa, spread across India.
Naturals Beauty Salon is now crossing a milestone and will be opening its 250th salon on Monday. The new salon will be inaugurated by star couple Sneha and Prasanna at Neelankarai.
“We have tied up with L’Oreal who is a brand partner besides Carestas, the hair treatment product of L’Oreal,” said Veena. They believe Neelankarai is a high-end market for them and the salon size is also quite larger than the usual 1,500 square feet. “This will be a 24-seater salon,” said K Kumaravel
“We did not have any experience and we were not from the industry. I just want to keep my wife engaged, so I started the venture,” said Kumaravel humbly.
After initial hiccups in the first three years, luck smiled at them after they got a loan to set up a chain of six salons. And from there there was no looking back. The success for the growth is attributed to offering franchises across the country.
“The mantra for the success of the franchise is that we put 50 per cent of the amount and the franchisee puts another 50 per cent. The profit is shared between us,” says Kumaravel.
Currently, Naturals employs about 4000 people and its franchisee stores are run by 120 women entrepernuers. “We have 88 Naturals beauty salons in Chennai alone and 40 spread across Tamil Nadu,” Kumaravel says. Interestingly, only 10 salons are owned by the company and the rest are based on the franchisee model.
The biggest challenge the couple face is getting skilled manpower. And they are banking on girls from the North-East, who are economical, disciplined and skilled. “More than 60 per cent of our workforce is from the North-East. We have also tied up with Laurus Edutech in Ambattur and Godrej for getting trained manpower,” said Kumaravel and Veena. Laurus Edutech is the training partner of Union government’s National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
Naturals is also setting up academies along with their salons to nurture the skills of their potential hairdressers. “We are setting up academies in Siliguri, Manipur, Dimapur and Gangtok,” said Kumaravel. The strength of Naturals is in Tier II and Tier III cities, says Kumaravel. In metros, there is a huge competition but in Tier-II and Tier-III cities there is no competition.
Interstingly, the couple have set up a salon in Colombo too. “There has been lot of international queries but we have not yet decided,” said Kumaravel.
Currently, Kumaravel, who is the co-founder of Grooms India, said that Naturals has salons in all formats that include Naturals Family Salon (unisex), Naturals Lounge (Premium Unisex Salon), Page 3 Luxury Salons and Naturals W – All Women Exclusive Salon to encompass people from all walks of life.