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Take a peek into the salon market down South, with the owner of Vurve Salon

by Arun Shirishkar

Professional Beauty spoke to the managing director of Vurve Salon, Rebecca Samuel, about the market down South to discuss the salon market and discuss its workings and operations

Given that the Indian beauty and salon industry is experiencing a transformation, brands seek to thrive on the cut-throat market. With several salons shutting down space, they must match up the pace and strike a balance with the ever-evolving trends and consumer needs. And, one such young brand is — Vurve Salon — that focuses on the client experience. The brand has grown with six signature salons in Chennai, and one in Bangalore, within two years of its existence.

What are the customer’s demands at Vurve Salon? What treatments are popular, among both men and women?
The customer demands are always evolving at Vurve Salon; they want to know what the latest trends are, have reference pictures of what they want and are also ready to experiment. Men have joined the bandwagon of wanting to look dapper and sharp always. The most popular trends for men are messy textured hairstyles with high/low fades and sharp beards. Men with medium length hair at the crown are also opting for a keratin treatment to maintain the comb-over look, high fade, and a beard. Women are experimenting with their hair and asking for various types of bob cuts, both symmetrical and asymmetrical. Also, it is the year of curly hair and as a brand, we are promoting women to embrace their curls and suggesting suitable cuts and colour for curly hair. Colour treatments have always been
our forte. Currently, the trend in colour is the mocha and caramel browns, honey blondes and copper shades. The keratin treatment continues to be popular in the south and it is a good combination with the colour services. Both men and women are particular about their mane and it has become a priority for them to take very good care of their hair. The ratio of women and men opting for hair treatments is about 65:35.

How’s the market in the South?
The market, over the years, has seen a huge transition in a positive direction. It has become a priority for both men and women to look good and the spending power has increased.

How do you source products for salon use?
All our products are sourced directly from the brands and certified importers and distributors. We are a key account with most of them and have built lasting relationships with all of them.

How do you keep yourself updated in terms of education and training?
Vurve Salon is a young, energetic and vivacious brand. We have always wanted to be creatively inclined and wanted to fill in the gaps in the south where creativity was probably amiss. We are also big believers in continuous education and learning. The team members are constantly being up-skilled and pushed beyond their boundaries to test their creative
acumen. Almost 80% of the hairdressers are constantly on digital platforms understanding the latest trends.

What do you think about the education standards of the Indian salon industry? What measures are you taking at your salon in terms of skilling your staff?
The education standards are improving, however, there is a huge expectation from the hairdressers to get their training from the salon brand. Also, salon brands are still dependent on product companies to provide training, which I think is just not enough. Vurve Salon has teamed up with Vipul Chudasama Academy for training. We have been associated with him and his team since 2015 and this was, is, and will always be the best decision that we have taken to hone and update the skill of the hairdressers.

How to manage staff? Any operational challenges?
We are faced with challenges operationally, be it staff attrition, performance management, constant motivation, etc. From our end, we try to keep the environment fun, comfortable, and we believe that in some way we have corporatized the way we operate at the salons. The freedom to express has bridged the gaps between the employees and customers, and employees and the management too. We are also noticing that the employees are now
looking at stability and career progression as against just monetary hikes, which is a positive sign.

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