In the salon business for more than two decades now, Saleem Gulzar is one of the veterans in the industry.Saleem took his father’s vision ahead and is now the proud owner and Creative Head of Waves Salon in Delhi-NCR
In an exclusive interview with Salon India, Saleem Gulzar narrates his professional experiences and expansion plans.
Hairdressing is my family business. I was inspired by my father, late Gulzar, who was also a part of this profession. I joined his salon as a hairdresser in 1988 and learnt all the basic techniques from him. After four or five years of practice, I realized that a career in hairdressing is all I wanted. Hence, I thought of upgrading my skills and enrolled myself at Pivot Point in Delhi. Thereafter, I completed multiple courses from international academies like Toni and Guy and Vidal Sassoon. And that’s how my journey began! I owe my success to my father.
People who have supported me, especially my seniors like Guy Kremer, are my inspiration. In India, it is Najeeb Ur Rehman whom I truly admire.
Challenges then and now
When I started, it was not considered to be a challenging creative job, in fact, it was more of a barber job. Also, there was no scope in terms of creativity as we did basic cuts only. The chemical treatments had yet not ventured into the Indian market. Moving on to the products – we had to buy them from international markets and were not exposed to many products, except Godrej, which had dyes and not colours.
However, the revolution came in when multinational brands, like L’Oréal Professionnel and Schwarzkopf Professional entered India. The kind of training they gave to us is unbelievable and that’s the reason we are technically sound today. The change is also taking place in trade magazines, products, trends and client knowledge. There is a wind of change in the domestic market. Earlier, when we used to talk about experts, there was Jawed Habib for hair and Shahnaz Husain for beauty, but today there are many professionals who have entered this space hence it is much more organized now.
Research and homework
We have access to the internet these days, so I do a lot of research as far as tutorial videos and images are concerned. I also believe that there is no age for learning, so I keep studying advance courses on a regular basis. I also take clues from look books and collections of hair brands and then tone them down as per the requirement of the client.
Hair education in India
If I have to rate the Indian hair industry, when it comes to education, I would give 5 points out of 10. There are many people, who have the resources to take up expensive courses, while there are others who cannot afford the high fees and so do not get a strong foundation by way of education. I think till the time education doesn’t reach the grassroots, it’s not worth it to someone who really wants to be a hairdresser but unable to pursue his passion due to paucity of funds. We need affordable training academies, as well. In fact, I would like to have a section or may be an NGO, where I can educate underprivileged kids or the differently abled.
I do everything be it cut, colour, styling or make-up, but I’m passionate about haircuts.
Trends that will rule 2016
For both the genders, disconnection is popular depending on hair length and facial features. Again variation depends on client to client. Earlier clients were hesitant, but now they welcome new looks and products. However, as a professional, it’s our duty to educate a client about the maintenance of style, products to be used and home styling.
Advice to the gen-next
Don’t run after money. If you are serious about this career, then only think of coming into this industry, otherwise, it’s of no use!
Expansion plans ahead
As of now, I have three salons in Delhi-NCR –in Sector 18 Noida, Lakshmi Nagar in Delhi and Pari Chowk in Greater Noida. We will soon be coming up with an academy at the Noida branch, and another salon in Mayur Vihar.