Kairali is on expansion mode and around 10 more centres opening on the horizon. Geeta Ramesh, CEO, Kairali Ayurvedic Centre, shares with Salon India the various marketing activities planned for the year
What inspired you to launch Kairali?
I have done my Bachelors in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery and M.Sc. in Biochemistry. This was followed by a course in Ayurvedic Medicines to understand Ayurveda better. I have more than 25 years of experience in promoting Ayurveda and wellness therapies through Kairali Ayurvedic treatment centres and Kairali health resorts.
What inspired you to launch Kairali?
I got married to a family of ‘Ayurvedacharyas’ practising Ayurveda for the past 6 decades in Kerala. Also, this science was not very popular in other parts of India and I thought it would be a great venture to take it to Delhi and spread its benefits. This inspired us to launch Ayurveda services by the name Kairali Ayurvedic Centre in New Delhi in 1989.
Back then, did you anticipate that spa and wellness would become such a buzzword?
I have utilised the 6 decades of Ayurvedic knowledge and expertise to accomplish the Kairali Ayurvedic vision of promoting Ayurveda the world over. I always wanted people to benefit through natural and safe Ayurvedic therapies and medicines without any side effects that Allopathy has, but it was not expected that it will be appreciated and accepted in the coming years in a big way. Our vision was to take this great science first to other parts of India and spread it to the whole world.
How was the beginning?
There were challenges to set up an exclusive Ayurveda centre in a metro city like Delhi and I took the challenge to open one, to offer authentic Ayurvedic massages and therapies. The first centre was opened in Saket, New Delhi, with a team of ten people including myself. We hired well-trained people for the marketing of Kairali. We advertised in all leading newspapers and had hand-outs circulated. Media wrote a lot about us, as this was something new for them too. Many magazines and papers printed our interview. TV channels from abroad also gave us a lot of coverage. Last but not the least Kairali’s name spread through word of mouth due to the superb results that customers got from our treatments.
How did you realise the opportunities present in the segment?
When we started, Ayurveda was comparatively unknown. Our efforts have not only helped it gain popularity but also helped India in being recognised as the birthplace of Ayurveda. Nowadays everyone is dealing with stress due the fast-paced lifestyle. Therefore, to treat people, Kairali was conceived. We were sure on the subject and its benefits. However, there was no awareness about this to the general public at large. They didn’t know such a remedy existed for various diseases that Allopathy could not handle, especially diseases like arthritis, spondylitis, paralysis, slip disc, joint pains, etc. All these can actually be cured in Ayurveda if treated initially.
Did you have any mentors?
While my father -in-law, Late Dr K.S. Vasudevan was my mentor, his father Late Dr Sankunny Vaidiar was my inspiration. None of this would have been possible without the guidance and support of my husband, K.V. Ramesh.
What was the initial investment like?
First Kairali centre started in 1989, out of a rented space of four rooms. The initial investment for the centre was approximately Rs. 50,000 per month inclusive of rent, salaries, supplies, etc.
How is Kairali faring today?
Kairali Ayurvedic Group has grown rapidly since its inception. Currently, it has more than 35 treatment centres located in 9 countries and still counting. Kairali resorts at multiple locations are spreading knowledge of Ayurveda, yoga and meditation. The demand for Kairali herbal products, Ayurvedic oils and medicines is growing day by day, and these are shipped across the globe.
What is the USP of Kairali?
Our USP is our knowledge of nearly 9 decades of Ayurveda. Kairali believes in spreading knowledge of Ayurveda, hence it caters to everything related with Ayurveda like equipment, Ayurvedic oils and medicines, herbal products, Yoga teacher training programmes, Ayurvedic Panchkarma training, etc. We don’t deviate from our path as the market changes. We firmly believe in our vision, which is spreading Ayurveda in its purest form.
What are the treatments and services available?
There are various treatments available at our resorts and centres like treatments for weight loss, stress and strain, Panchkarma, arthritis, spondylitis, sinusitis and migraine, psoriasis, nervous disorders and many more. The spa menu of our Delhi centre is enclosed for reference.
Unlike the rest of the spas, Kairali keeps a low profile. Why?
Kairali is not keeping a low profile. Our presence in the form of 35 centres across 9 countries and several others in pipeline shows the growth of Kairali Group. We are not the same as other spas that have suddenly cropped. We are more into traditional science that deals with wellness and treatments. It is more through word of mouth that we grew.
What are the main challenges that you are up against today?
In the past few years, several spa centres has opened up, claiming to provide Ayurvedic therapies. It has diluted the original essence of Ayurveda. Conveying people the difference between the actual therapies from the fake ones is one of the major challenges we faced.
What is the growth in percentage that Kairali has seen in 2012–13?
Kairali group is growing at 8 percent to 10 percent year on year.
According to you, what, in figures, is the market size of spas today?
The market of spas is growing at the rate of 25 percent per annum. The spa and body treatment segment is estimated to grow approximately US$772 million over the next five to eight years.
What is your take on the wellness industry in India?
Spa segment is a new entrant in the wellness industry. Consumers are ready to pay a premium to pamper themselves at spas with different therapies. Increase in the standard of living of middle class segment and their increasing affluence has led to willingness to pay for the beauty products and services. There is a sudden increase in the number of spas in Tier-II and -III cities, the reason being lower operational costs in these cities.
What would you wish the Government of India to do in this segment?
The department of AYUSH under Ministry of Health should assist the people associated with the spa and wellness industry through various schemes, such as inclusion of Ayurvedic centres under the CGHS, ESIC, etc.
What is in store for Kairali in 2014?
Kairali is on expansion mode and around 10 more centres are going to open in the coming few months in India and other countries. Various marketing activities have been planned this year through advertisements of Kairali in print, electronic and online media.