Sumit Israni, Celebrity hairdresser and Managing Director of Geetanjali Salons, shares what he believes is most important for up-and-coming stylists and entrepreneurs to break into today’s beauty industry in an exclusive interview.
Sumit Israni, Managing Director of Geetanjali Salons, is a man of many talents. He began his career decades ago and has since amassed experience on how to best operate a successful salon business. He brings valuable experience to the table and his ideas have influenced professionals in the beauty industry over the years.
With this industry making a comeback and starting to open up new doors, what do you predict will happen in 2022?
The industry has experienced a resurgence since February, this year. We’re quite certain we will recover whatever we have lost in the past two years. Moreover, people are more confident in salons, especially big salons, due to the cleanliness and hygiene they practice. Weddings and parties are happening so if you take good care of your salon business, it will bounce back.
What I am seeing is that this season should give us a great boost. There was a huge jump in February, for the targets were all met. I expect it to go back to the days before Covid. All of the weddings are happening now and business seems to be getting back on track.
There are three different formats of the Geetanjali brand – salons, studios, and Tweak. Each one serves a very different function from the other in terms of how they operate. How different are the formats from one another in terms of retail, products, etc?
Each of the formats is geared toward a different audience.
Geetanjali Studios are like mom-and-dad salons for people who want to experience luxury – that’s the bottom of the pyramid and that’s a big market. Geetanjali salons, on the other hand, are best suited for upper-middle-class individuals looking to upgrade from their local mom and pop shops – they understand quality products and have come to expect nothing less.
Geetanjali Salon, being the flagship salon pan-India, is a premier hair care destination with the best professionals. We are not overpriced and we occupy prime locations across the country.
At Tweak, we have a very quirky and different format that caters to youngsters; however, our audience is limited by that. Geetanjali, on the other hand, has a different style. People who visit Geetanjali will not relate to Tweak and Vis-a-Vis. At Tweak, you will see a lot of experiments with hair colour and makeovers – so it appeals to more of a younger generation.
What about education? Is it also different across all three formats?
All three formats provide different types of education due to the different products and services available. However, as a hairdresser, my primary focus is education. As a brand, we will never compromise on education – it is the core of our business model. That’s why we invest so much in marketing and education and education extends beyond marketing.
During covid times, we have trained more than 5K students online, and we have completed more than 10K hours in training internal employees. Now, we are getting back to normal, so we will also conduct physical training from March onwards. We have an in-house training centre for the staff.
What hair cut and colour trends would you like to predict for the season?
The trends are leaning towards short hair. I believe in drastic makeovers, and this season is all about above-shoulder hair, like natural waves. The colour is dependent on what suits you; however, a lot of deep shades and purples are very in while cool browns are popular based on your natural hair texture.
What tips and advice do you have for aspiring hairdressers who look up to you as one of the industry’s top trendsetters? What are your plans for the future in terms of expansion?
It’s important to choose the pace you want to go in your career. The thing with today’s hairdressers is they want to grow very fast. While it is true that online education is readily available, make sure you take one step at a time!
Our focus is purely on what we have in our hands, we do not focus on whether we have to open 200 or 300 outlets. Whatever we do, we make sure it turns out well. We devote a lot of energy to every project we start, like Tweak – we haven’t opened another branch yet because there is no number game. Our goal is that every branch we open should be profitable! Our business is extremely challenging, training the staff, continuously training them, and retaining clients require effort and time – we have worked hard for more than 28 years – and this does not happen overnight.
As we expand, we are starting in Jammu, Sri Nagar, Pune, Goa and Orissa. We are also present in Ayodhya, Bareilly, Meerut – establishing footholds in Tier II and III cities – as well as just recently opening two salons each in Varanasi and Allahabad.