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Rise of Hair and Beauty Academies

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With the rise in the number of salons in India, the demand for skilled professionals has surged manifolds. To meet this demand, hair and beauty academies are opening in every nook and corner of the country. To understand this phenomenon in India, Salon India peeks into some leading academies, which are increasing their footprint

Deep knowledge and technical exposure are the keys to make career in the hair and beauty industry, of course, passion plays an equally important role. An academy endeavours to hone skill and future of those who wish to develop careers in the industry through its internationally affiliated and certified courses. Usually the beauty courses are flexible in terms of duration. Classes are counted on an hourly basis and one can adjust the classes according to convenience. Besides offering professional courses, these academies also offer real time training from experienced and knowledgeable faculty from the industry.

The vision
The beauty academies aims to deliver premium educational content which impart artistic, and technical advancement among the aspiring stylists or make-up artists. Armed with good skills, these candidates get into high-paying jobs the academies continue producing skilled professionals.

Job potential
Hair and beauty industry is a multi billion dollar industry that employ thousands of stylists, make-up experts, scientists and other technical professionals associated with the industry. As per research shared by a leading daily, the hair industry is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 20 per cent during 2011-2014 to reach around `208 Billion by 2014. Primarily unorganised, it comprises 40 per cent of the beauty market estimated at nearly `31,000 crore and is set to turn into a `21,700-crore business by 2015. The annual growth in the Indian beauty and cosmetics markets is estimated to remain in the range of 15 to 20 per cent in the years to come, which is twice of the US and European markets. Hence the scope of this industry is huge, just focus and technically advance skills are required, for which academies play a pivotal role, by offering high-skill courses. The report also states that the number of salons have gone up in the past five years with a growth rate of 35 per cent. While the hair and beauty industry is seeing a per capita annual spend of $1.2 which is expected to grow to $ 6.2 by 2015. The spa and body treatment segment is estimated to grow approximately $772 million over the next five to eight years.

Major players
Any discussion is incomplete without the contribution from the pioneers like , International Beauty Academy, Alps Beauty Academy, ’s , Nalini & Yasmin Education, Cleopatra Beauty and Spa Academy, and the leading Schwarzkopf Professionals’ ASK Academy, to name a few. These academies aim to establish their name in the market first by giving skilled professionals to the industry and gradually increase their footprints in other parts of the country. To establish the brand in the market, the academies follow marketing strategies like discount offers, complimentary courses and guest lectures or professional trainings from industry veterans.

Wella Professionals has taken a giant stride to prove that it’s a leader in the hair industry in the true sense of the word. It has opened their first education centre in Chennai. Elaborating on the dire need of education in India, Rob Samet, P&G Salon Professional India’s Country Manager said, “Wella Professionals aims to get every Indian hair stylist at par with international hair stylists through innovative training measures and with this step, we’re much more positive about our objective.” Moreover, John Guest, P&G Salon Professionals Asia Education Capability Leader said, “We see the need for more great hairdressers to keep the engine of rapid growth growing in this emerging market. With increased exposure to international trends and brands, Indian consumers are becoming more and more beauty conscious and are willing to experiment.”

Courses and eligibility

These academies offer a wide range of professional courses on Skin Therapy, Hair Design, Styling and Cutting, Make-up and Aesthetics, Aromatherapy, Ayurveda, Dhara and Kerala Massage, Nail and Body Art and Yoga. A Personal Grooming Course for self-improvement is also available, as well as several other short-term expensive courses offering advance level of learning. The Shahnaz Husain International Beauty Academy offers professional Diploma courses, which comprises of both theoretical and practical skills, with international standards. In fact, the courses equip the student with expertise in all aspects of beauty care and also in highly specialised premium treatments. The academy offer basic to advance level courses, for 30 hours to eight months duration.

Likewise, ASK Academy offers basic, advance and creative courses in hair styling. The Alps Academy also offers various certificate, diploma and PG diploma courses in beauty, hair and make-up, including some short-term certification courses like Certificate in Nail Art, Certificate in Airbrush make-up designed for proffering advanced level knowledge of a subject. The brand also teaches several courses for self grooming which includes Certificate in Personal Grooming, Certificate in Saree Draping, et cetra. A minimum school leaving certificate is enough to start pursuing a career in hair and beauty industry, yet these established academies offer courses which gives the candidate an opportunity to pursue in graduation or any other advance level professional education. The basic fee structure of the courses offered at these hair and beauty academies is between `10,000 to `2 lakh.

The first few steps
The biggest industry players like Alps, VLCC, Shahnaz Husain and ASK academies, have followed three basic steps while establishing academies. They formed an USP to tap the market, then made an investment in building the academy and promoting it by using the most common, yet popular marketing strategies. Here is a guideline from the existing market players who’s beauty academies are expanding to nationwide.

USP
Sharing the unique selling propaganda, Natasha Naegamvala, Director of Nalini and Yasmin Academy, says, “ Ours is the oldest academy in India and our curriculum is based on the international schools. It is a beautiful blend of international methods and techniques adapted on Indain hair”. Reiterates , Director, Alps Beauty Academy, “Our biggest USP is the wide variety of courses which is about 26 different courses that we offer under one roof. From basic to advance, we offer courses for both amature and experienced professionals who wants to enhance their skill. Second comes the extensive practical training along with scientific theoretical knowledge that make each student passing out from our academy, an expert. Our students get the best of theoretical knowledge that makes for a strong base and get to work on real clients and gain real experiences.”

Investment
In order to establish an academy with basic courses and training facilities, an investment of over `20 to `30 lakh is required. Some of the leading academies unveil the basic figure of investment made by them, to give a clear picture about the initial decisions one has to take before opening an academy. Aashmeen Munjal, founder, Star Salon & Academy shared that she has made an investment of about `30 lakh. While Bharti Taneja has also made somewhat same investment in establishing her Alps Academy by investing over `30 to `40 lakhs on each academy. Significantly, the eastern region of India also have good hair and beauty academies. Kakoli Sengupta, Founder of Glitz & Glamour Academy in Kolkata shares, “I have made an investment of approx `21 lakhs to establish this academy in 2006.”

Market establishment
For an industry veteran like Shahnaz Husain and Aashmeen Munjaal, establishing an academy and branding it in the market was simple, as they have made a niche for themselves in the industry. However, for the new players, being consistent in taking the brand one notch up, the academies often organise beauty events or opt to use media to create sensation in the market by introducing their brand or even offer discounts to enroll maximum numbers of students in the courses.

Says Najeeb Ur Rahman, Technical Head, ,“Every Year we get almost two to three international guests to show creative and commercial work to inspire aspiring hairdressers in India, Antony Whitaker, Dieter Kaiser, Emma Ekman, Karen Oliver, Winny Loo, Rick Lee to name a few.” Meanwhile, Taneja shares, “We also conduct a lot of seminars. We often take several sessions on the latest technologies in the beauty world. This helps professional and salon owners identify the technologies they want to learn and update their knowledge with our latest courses. We also go to schools and get in touch with educational counsellors, who help young students choose the best courses with us.”

Expansion to Tier II and III

After exhausting the big cities, the big players are eyeing tier II and III regions. These are the best areas to invest in as they have a maximum number of salons, running in every nook and corner. The demand for skilled professionals is extremely high here. Infact, the focus has now shifted to smaller areas, seeing the growth potential in them. It is considered that the future of the retailing industry lies in the smaller towns. Therefore, the stress on vocational training is also shifting to the Tier II regions. as the availability of land and location is cheaper in smaller cities, and the beauty business has tremendous potential for growth in terms of salons and training. Shares Husain, “Our brand moved to the smaller cities due to brand identity. The growth of the Shahnaz Husain brand as the leading brand in herbal beauty care, has led to a demand for the franchise. Many franchise holders are running training academies along with their franchise salons.” Meerut, Ghaziabad and Muzaffarnagar have academies of leading market players.
It is apparent from the extensive research conducted that education is the key to success of the hair and beauty industry.