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Third edition of SMC runs a full house in Mumbai

by Arun Shirishkar

Salon Management Congress (SMC) powered by Zenoti held at Professional Beauty Mumbai witnessed a league of top honchos and salon experts handing out valuable advice on the art of running the beauty business.

A salon owner, more often than not, is a hairdresser, marketing and sales head, front desk and customer service manager and admin head all at the same time. While passion is a crucial element that drives an entrepreneur in the salon business, certain skill sets are equally important. And that’s the gap that Salon Management Congress (SMC) powered by Zenoti organised by Professional Beauty along with Beaute Espace Media Pvt Ltd aims to fill.

The third edition of the Congress was held along the sidelines of Professional Beauty Mumbai on the 1st and 2nd of October. It had a well-curated list of panels, covering various aspects of the salon business in India. The closed-door ticketed event had a full-house with delegates flocking to its gates for a 2-day intensive course on salon management.

Day 1

Ritoo Jhha, Editor and Pulisher of Beauty Launchpad magazine and owner of Beaute Espace, welcomed the delegates to SMC. Her speech was followed by that of Vikas Vij, CEO, IDEX. Proceedings for Day 1 opened with a keynote address by Adhuna Bhabani, Creative Director and Founder, BBLUNT Salons and Academy, and Asha Hariharan, Founder & Director, Beyond The Fringe Salons and Asha Hariharan Academy. It was moderated by Ritoo Jhha. The two experts regaled the audience with their experiences of working with celebrities, the dos and don’ts and pros and cons. Delegates had many questions for the experts regarding this interesting topic, which were taken up and discussed.

The next session was on women empowerment in the salon industry. The stalwart speakers included Nayana Karunaratne, Chairperson,  Salon Nayana Chain of Salons and SN Academies in Sri Lanka & India; C K Kumaravel, CEO & Co-founder, Naturals Salon; Rekha Chaudhari, Wellness Ambassador & Managing Director – JCKRC Spa Destination Pvt Ltd; Rukmini Honawar, Creative Director/ Partner, Runah Salon; Sunita Pawar, Founder, Lookwell Salons & Academy; and Rochelle Chhabra, Professional Division Head – Streax Professional, Hygienic Research Institute Pvt Ltd. Various aspects such as gender equality, maternity benefits, financing for women, etc, were discussed. This session, too, was moderated by Ritoo.

The third session was on raising capital for your first venture and then for scaling up. The panel included Chunchreek Singhvi, Lead Investments, Railways, HFCL Group; Vishal Katkoria, Director, o3 Capital; and Vikram Bhatt, Founder & Director, Enrich Hair & Skin Solutions Pvt. Ltd. The experts covered all the possible finance sources an entrepreneur could tap while setting up the first salon and later while scaling up. The session was moderated by Kanishka Ramchandani, Managing Editor, Beauty Launchpad magazine.

New age salon management

Sourcing is an important part of salon managment, and that was the topic of the next session. Asha Hariharan; Suhash Dsouza, Head Supply Chain Management, Enrich Salons & Academy; Subham Virmani, Director (Sales & Strategy) at Esskay Beauty Resources; and Mukul Pawar, Director, LooKWell Salons & Academy, spoke about how to effectively source products, tools and equipment for your salon. Kanishka was once again donned the moderator’s hat for this one.

Underscoring the importance of advanced education, a set of seasoned educators comprised the panel for building continual education into your business. Avni Amlani – International Skin Expert and Consultant; Arpita Das, Managing Director, Beauness By Arpita; Major Sonali Kadam of Symbiosis Skills and Open University, Pune; Asha Hariharan; Richa Aggarwal, Founder, Cleopatra Chain of Wellness Spa & Beauty Makeovers; and Spoorthy Shetty, CEO, BBLUNT stressed the relevance of continual education as part of staff incentive programme and to remain a cut above competition. It was moderated by Ritoo.

Technology has invaded every aspect of our lives, so why should salons remain bereft of it? Analysing how technology is impacting the  salon industry and the evolution of ‘Smart Salons’ was the next session. The introductory talk was given by Sudha Madhuri, VP – Services, Zenoti. She then moderated the session, which had Istayak Ansari, Director-cofounder, Lloyds Luxuries Ltd; Samir Srivastav, Chief Executive Officer, Jean-Claude Biguine Salon & Spa, India; Sachin Kamat, Director  – Employee & Customer Engagement, Enrich Salons & Academy; and Samir Hariharan, Director, Beyond The Fringe Salon & Academy. Day 1 ended with a vote of thanks from the Beaute Espace team.

Day 2

The second day of SMC opened with a keynote address by Ritoo Jhha on disaster management for salon, in the wake of the Kerala floods. A message by Dr Maya Bhasi, Senior Consultant (Wellness & Alternative Medicine), Sparsh Wellness & Alternative Medicine Clinic, Chengannur Kerala, was conveyed via a video. Thereafter, Ritoo engaged Rajesh Kamdar, Insurance Advisor, on the nuances of insuring salon spaces.

The next session was on Marketing strategies for salons: Building a sustainable brand when you are launching. This session was moderated by Pushkaraj Shenai, Chief Executive Officer – Lakmé Lever Pvt Ltd. He also chipped in his inputs along with Sachin Kamat, Director, Employee & Customer Engagement, Enrich Salons & Academy; and Vandana Bhardwaj, Spokesperson & Director at Marie Claire Paris Salon & Wellness.

‘Staff retention: Is there a tried and tested formula to manage attrition?’ was the next session. Moderated by Kanishka, this session had Rohit Dedhia, Director, Enrich Salons; Richa Aggarwal, Founder, Cleopatra Chain of Wellness Spa & Beauty Makeovers; and Rizwan Ahmad, GM Sales – Streax Professional Division, Hygienic Research Institute Pvt. Ltd. The experts discussed the impact of effective HR policies, work culture and education on staff retention. This interaction was facilitated by Kanishka.

Creating strong foundations

Continuing on the subject of staff, the next session was dedicated to grooming your salon’s staff to be your brand ambassadors. In this session, Disha Meher, Head of Training – Salon & Spa at Urban Clap; Miriam Mathew, Director,  Stream Spas; and Asha Hariharan, debated on various issues pertaining to the staff such as uniforms, hygiene, presentation, etc. Miriam also made a presentation on soft skills for salon staff.

Next on was an important panel on the importance of the skincare vertical for your salon. List of experts for this session included Bikram Sapra, Managing Director, JB Skincare Pvt Ltd; Marisa Goel, Owner, Serena’s Beauty Salon and The Skin Inn; Avni Amlani – International Skin Expert and Consultant; Hina Khan, Education Head, Dermalogica; and Rukshmani Thakkar, Head – Skin, Enrich Salons. The panel focussed on the entire skincare spectrum – from products and services to training and international certifications. This session was moderated by Ritoo.

The concluding session of SMC was on curation of trend collections. It was led by Vipul Chudasama, Director, Vipul Chudasama Hair Education & Studio; Saurabh Muley, Photographer; and Natasha Nischol, Co-founder-Director, FAT MU, with Kanishka as moderator. The experts answered questions on the relevance of trend collections for salons, right time to create one’s own collections, working backstage at fashion events and in films/TV. The day ended with a thank-you speech by Ritoo amidst huge applause by the audience.

The third edition of Salon Management Congress powered by Zenoti was a resounding success. Delegates interacted wholeheartedly and participated in Q & A sessions. The renowned speakers were open for networking and interaction in-between sessions. Each one of the participant left with a treasure trove of knowledge about efficient running of salons. For updates about the next Salon Management Congress, stay tuned to Professionalbeauty.in.

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