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Burzin M Daver

CEO | 10 Oct 2011

The hair and beauty market is quite fragmented in India with presence of unorganised players. Though there is no accurate data available, overall salon business is estimated to be around Rs 2,000-3,000 crore, out of which international brands have a very low share. There was a need for an international player providing both hair and beauty solutions under the same roof and Saks salons aim to fulfil that need. Mumbai being the fashion hub is a key driver to these businesses.

After branded clothes, shoes, accessories and even spectacles, its time personal grooming also got branded. The beauty and hair care industry, largely dominated by unorganised players in India is seeing the entry of more and more international brands. Established chains from fashion hubs like Paris, Milan and London are entering the Indian market to carve their share of the Rs 3,000 crore and growing industry. The latest in line is Saks from London and bringing them to India is the Livewel Group, a known player in the aviation services business.

Leading Saks’ foray in India is Burzin M Daver, CEO, Livewel Group and Saks Hair and Beauty. Daver is an MBA and gold medallist from Newport University, California, specialising in Marketing for Service Industry. A certified lead auditor by Bureau Veritas Quality International for ISO 9000 system and approved Quality Control Manager by Director General of Civil Aviation, Daver has been instrumental in heading the Group’s aviation business, which has more than 6,000 employees and operations in five countries, with India as the base.

He also heads the international business of the Group, which is into beauty salons and spas and has been the prime mover in bringing Saks to India.

Daver shares his plans for the brand’s foray in India, the USP it has adopted to dominate the market and communication partners chosen for a strong brand push, in conversation with Deepika Bhardwaj from exchange4media.

Q. What prompted you to foray into this segment in India now?

Livewel Group has been actively engaged in the health and beauty care space for the last 10 years, with our beauty clinics present across India and the Middle East under the Livewel brand name. Saks Hair and Beauty, with about 200 salons, is the largest and one of the most premium brands in terms of positioning in the UK. Market studies showed that a brand like Saks was not available in India, providing a range of services like spa, hair treatment, dermatological solution and a lot more under the same roof. So we decided to partner with them and brought them to India. Our first salon in Mumbai, with a space of 6,000 sq ft, is the largest in India in terms of size, services and treatment menu. Indian beauty business is still in its infancy as far as international brands are concerned and we are hoping to make the first mark here.

Q. Could you share some numbers on the hair & beauty market in India that prompted Saks to explore avenues here?

The hair and beauty market is quite fragmented in India with presence of unorganised players. Though there is no accurate data available, overall salon business is estimated to be around Rs 2,000-3,000 crore, out of which international brands have a very low share. There was a need for an international player providing both hair and beauty solutions under the same roof and Saks salons aim to fulfil that need. Mumbai being the fashion hub is a key driver to these businesses, and that propelled us to open our first salon here to provide premium solution to the consumers.

Q. How is the market growing? What share of this pie are you looking at?

Premium salons have seen an extensive growth in India, growing at a rate of about 25 per cent in the last two years. But this kind of growth has been seen only in the metros. We also intend to gain presence in these markets first. The plans are to be present in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore rolling out two salons in each of these cities in the next two years. Long term plan is to open about 50 salons in markets that are growing fast. All of these salons will be owned by Livewel Group, but the expertise will be from Saks London. All the facilities will be of the same standard and quality as in the UK.

Q. What will be the USP of Saks? Could you briefly explain your strategy to create a presence in India - a market that is already so fragmented?

The USP of Saks internationally, and in India also, is its ambience and the look and feel. Our partnerships in terms of products and services are also unparalleled. We have offerings like exclusive hair treatment through Kerastase, consultation for hair treatments, beauty and advanced beauty treatments using Elemis, which is UK’s largest spa, nail treatments using Jessica from the US, mineral make-up using Young Blood from the US, all under the same space. Experts from the UK will be heading the hair and beauty sections of the salon, practicing international standards and unveiling latest trends in hair and beauty from around the world. We would also be the only stop to sell products from these brands.

There will be a great focus on bringing latest trends and fashions from the UK, unveiling those trends here at India. We would release a trend book every season for our clients, with information on new hairstyles, hairdos, make-up lines, etc. All these would benchmark us with international salons. Our staff is also fully trained from Saks UK.

Q. It is heard you will be starting a training academy too? What are your plans for that?

Yes, we plan to start Saks Academy in Mumbai very soon. But this will happen after we rollout the second salon here. Training courses from Saks Academy are considered one of the best worldwide. We will start Saks accredited courses by January 2012 approximately.

Q. What are your marketing and advertising plans? How would you roll out the communication going forward?

As we have begun our operations in Mumbai first, our communication would be dedicated to this market only. Saks will remain the face of the communication. It will detail what Saks is all about, where they come from, what is the heritage they enjoy, what is happening in the Mumbai context, etc. Once we move to other cities, we would advertise at a national level. The idea is to do brand building first and then product specific or services specific advertisement.

Q. What are your budgets in the first year? What would be the focus mediums?

We would go with print, outdoor and digital during the rollout. Marketing budget for the first year is around Rs 2 crore through traditional channels and around Rs 1 crore through direct marketing. This is apart from the investments we would do on the stores.

Q. Which all agencies have you partnered with for these duties?

We have handed over our PR and social media duties to Percept Profile. Creative duties are being handled by IBD, again a Percept company. Our media agency is Gracious Communication, while the in-salon design will be handled by an in-house team.

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