With a rich legacy of over 70 years, Denman hair brushes have managed to create a niche for themselves. The brand has had a strong presence in India since 1996, but it was just a couple of years ago that United Group were handed over the mantle to handle the operations for Denman in India. We speak with Nilesh Hada, Director, United Group to learn about the brand’s journey since they came on board.
“I would be more than happy if salons agreed to allow me to replace all the brushes they use with Denman, and yes, I would do this for them absolutely free,” says Nilesh Hada, Director, United Group, the company that has been representing Denman in India since early 2011.
So, if Hada is ready to do this for them free of cost, where is the problem? He shares, “The problem is with the unmatchable quality and experience that Denman extends which doesn’t really take a lot of time to get people used to it. If the hair stylists at all the salons get used to Denman then for sure holding another brush from any other brand wouldn’t appeal to them as much.”
This is one of the primary challenges that Hada and his team face to make Indian beauty industry realise that quality comes at a price. Moreover, each hair brush is just not a tool to dress the tresses but it is the tool to make hair behave and feel in a certain way.
When United Group was given the responsibility to overlook the operations and distribution of Denman in India, the company was seemingly excited to foray into the category of beauty and professional styling tools. Though the brand has had its presence in India since 1996, it was only in 2010 that they decided to switch partners and through their consultants, they approached Hada’s company.
The transition of the brand from one company in India to another did have the usual challenges that come in when any transition happens but soon things were in place once the ball got rolling. Hada elaborates, “During the first year, we received a lot of support from Denman as they knew that there was a lot of stock already in the market. We used that period of time to get to the pulse of the market and have a structure in place for the journey ahead. From meeting various stores across the country to developing a rapport with the salons, we were gradually establishing our base. As for our relationship with Denman, it has been extremely cordial since day one. They have been extremely open to extending any support we have needed from them throughout.”
The only thing Hada wishes Denman would consider to introduce brushes with an entry level price point thus allowing them to enter markets which are price sensitive. Hada explains, “Denman as a brand has been a top favorite with stylists across the world. In fact Vidal Sassoon was a strong advocate of their D3 model from Denman and wherever he went he carried the brush. The price factor is one of the biggest challenges we are facing today. Everyone knows about Denman but when it comes to standardization of the tool kit for each of the stylists, the salons really do not want to spend that kind of money inspite of knowing the quality that they would get. However, I am optimistic that things shall gradually change and quality styling tools shall soon make strong in-roads within the industry.”
Hada feels that the consumer today too is opting for branded hair brushes as against the yesteryears when brands for brushes didn’t matter much . What helps the brand reach out to the consumer with its consumer range is its presence in salon. According to Hada when a consumer sees his/her stylist using the brand, he subconsciously registers the brand in the mind and this influences the shopping decisions.
Unlike distributors of lesser known brands or new brands, Hada doesn’t really face a problem with the stocking of Denman at various beauty stores and other retail outlets. As long as there are customers for the brand, the shopkeepers not only are happy to have our brand but they are prompt with their payments too. So far, the company hasn’t spent much on their marketing activities when it comes to reaching the consumers through their consumer range but for professional range they have a dedicated budget which is spent for various shows and advertisements in industry magazines. Inventory control is more of less streamlined based on the learning from the two-year journey though Hada feels that the beauty industry is at its most dynamic phase at present hence to have an accurate forecast before placing a stock order isn’t really foolproof.
On the cards for the brand is creation of a dream team of stylists which would be the face for Denman in India. Hada is very much open to having co-branded activities with various salon chains and offer them co-branded hair brushes as per their needs.