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Lyvia Wu: A style prodigy

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Owner of in Kolkata, is a style prodigy in the true sense. She calls the shots at her salon and focuses on client satisfaction. Wu shares her journey, salon management strategies, views on the salon industry, and more

Lyvia Wu: A style prodigy

Getting started
Hairdressing has been in my family. My mother, Lana Lin, has been running the Lin Salon in Mumbai for over three decades, and my twin sister, Sylvia Chen runs Butterfly Pond Salon. I was inspired by them to be a hairdresser. I took up courses at Toni&Guy Singapore, Master Class by Paul Faltrick in Macau, and recently completed a course at Vidal Sasoon in Toronto. In 2000, I was recruited by Wella to be a part of their National Technical Consultant team in Mumbai and given the opportunity to be trained by Utta Wolf, Technical Head and a colour expert. Later, with the support of my family, I launched Pink Tree Salon in Kolkata.

Challenges faced
It was working from home with no professional equipment and a proper business plan. I overcame this hurdle with my technical approach, knowledge of hair and the ability to understand the demands of my clients.

Key issues for salon owners
It is all about personalisation – from client interaction and communication to recruiting my team. I am present at my salon seven days a week as it helps to address challenges when it comes to clients or the team. Hygiene, atmosphere, space, functionality and location are key factors to be taken into consideration while designing a salon. Clients usually prefer a relaxed atmosphere, so it is important to establish a sense of space while picking design elements. A prime location also adds to the brand value of the salon. Hygiene is an indispensable aspect and is directly proportional to client satisfaction and footfall. I believe it is easier to train than to change one’s work habits. So, we look for eager and fresh learners, and then train them on techniques, deliverables, client interaction, to name a few. I also look forward to upskill our staff, as staying updated and relevant is mandatory.

Brands offered
I personally have to be convinced before offering products and services to my clients. So, we undergo trial runs and demos before launching any product or brand. In hair, we have Wella Professionals, Moroccanoil, Biotop Professional, GkHair, Keratin and Cysteine; in skin, there is Skeyndor.

Trends in vogue
Colour: Hair colour today, is all about placement. Face contour colouring techniques, mono tones, cool ash and blue are in.
Cut: Modern twist to the bob, lob or long bob is big.
Style: Texture and movement are key. Tripple barrel tong gives a fresh approach.

View on the Indian hair and beauty industry
In the last decade, the salon industry has grown to become a lifestyle. The rising awareness, social media, global influence, and income are some of the factors for this gradual shift in the industry. With multiple brands on offer, the discerning clients know exactly what they want. Service quality and a client-centric focus will help to stay ahead of competition.

Advise to newcomers and future plans
It is extremely important to be hardworking and ready to go the extra mile to achieve your goals. There are no short cuts to success. Like any other company, growth is always in the business plan. We are working on expansion plans.