The coronavirus pandemic has caused an economic tsunami in the world. While social distancing has proved disastrous for many businesses, it has been most unkind to one sector whose professionals make a living by touching people – the salon and beauty & wellness sector. Aside from this, business expenses like location rents, payment for products and paying employees remain.
Dhruv Sayani, MD, Ccigma Lifestyle, and brand owner of KT Professional, believes that the lockdown has had serious ramifications on the salon industry. He says, “The impact is going to last for the rest of 2020 or until a vaccine for the virus is not found which may be six to eight months away. Hence, brands need to be careful with inventory planning and management, they should keep the stock intact and account for low demand over the next few months. Due to logistical issues, as other countries are locked down too, the transit of goods will be affected. It will also directly impact product purchase and demand. Every sector would have to account for this economic loss and the overall impact on our GDP.
“Post the lockdown and from a brand’s perspective there will be an immense change in the way business is done. We predict that the average consumer will spend less due to social distancing, impact on the income of an average family, and the postponement of weddings and celebratory events.
“We plan to overcome the ill-effects by optimising costs and efficiency, and utilising resources to gain traction and cover lost ground. It will also be a wait-and-watch as the government regulations will play a key aspect in what happens next. It will be a big thing if businesses can bounce back by the last quarter of the year.
“Going forward, salon protocols will have to change, as hygiene is a key factor now. We are virtually conducting workshops with our staff on products and holding refresher trainings so that post lockdown we can implement them into our system. As a brand we will support salons and make-up artists with better price points, and during technical training sessions, emphasise on the importance of hygiene and safety.
“As a business owner I know that all businessmen across various sectors are facing a similar challenge as we are in this industry and this sector. Business houses are seeking assistance from the government on taxes, statutory payments and tax relief in this financial year which would boost and benefit the economy at large. All this will help the economy catch up on lost time and business to a certain extent.”
Anita Golani, Proprietor, Anita’s Aromatics views the quarantine time as an opportunity to step back and analyse how the business has progressed. She shares, “We need to identify the pain-points or roadblocks in our business and figure out ways of overcoming them. It is also important to keep looking for opportunities which can be used to facilitate growth once things stabilise. No industry will remain untouched from the impact of COVID-19, including the beauty industry. Operational expenses like rents, salaries, and so on, must continue despite the cash crunch. The beauty industry relies on an efficient, flexible supply chain. As a matter of rule in March, we cut back on purchases, and when we resume operations, a phase wise scheduling, depending on the company’s priority is done. This time, we have adequate stocks to ensure that our clients do not suffer, and a probable phase-wise opening of the lockdown.
“We will overcome the ill-effects of the lockdown by focusing on improving functionality at the office level. The onus is on better systems to improve efficiency and harnessing technology is an important part of our budget allocation. Our newer product ranges are focused on mainly enhanced well-being and provide the necessary leverage that will re-instil the faith of the end-consumer.
“Request the government to realise that the beauty and wellness sector requires urgent financial stimulus and a safety net such as a wage support or subsidy package which would enable employers to pay salaries and other statutory dues of daily wage workers. Treatment of commercial electricity, water, and utility bills needs to be examined, especially when the lockdown has been extended. It will be extremely beneficial for units to be offered deferment or to partially pay property taxes, rent and other utilities in order to avoid further costs and liquidity shortfalls, since payment of personnel salaries should be a priority for enterprise owners. Structural changes of lending practices for this sector – given the current economic climate, digital finance lending platforms will be better suited to offer unsecured loans to most enterprises in the micro and small business spectrum.”
“Cash is king, so once the lockdown is opened, entrepreneurs in the business of beauty and wellness can focus on reducing their monthly expenses and increasing the monthly revenue. To do this, you’ll need to reinvent yourself physically, mentally, financially and your business model. Once you’ve done this, you’ll notice the difference in your own business. The illiterates of the 21st century are not the ones who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, relearn and unlearn. This is the time to unlearn and relearn, and if you do so you’ll see for yourself the opportunities that have come up. So, be confident and look within, and you’ll emerge stronger.”
Apar Gupta, Founder of Blu Ocean Studios, an enterprise, rationalises the current situation – salon businesses have shut down and workers have been told to stay at home, therefore demand is going down as a result of lost income and the corresponding collapse in sales, too. He shares, “There is no telling how consumers will shop for make-up and skin care once the pandemic ends, and it is equally unclear whether service workers will see a lasting impact from the virus. Many companies and consumers do not seem interested in new launches as of now; social distancing and quarantine are directing people to get creative and experiment with their looks.
“At Blu Ocean, we are committed to launching Glameura, a novel solution that aims to close existing gaps in the wellness industry. From the lockdown, we have learnt that skin care and beauty need to focus on ethically derived and environment-friendly solutions if you want to overcome challenges. With Glameura, we hope to turn around the landscape of the salon industry in India and abroad, however, to do that I urge the government to provide relief to the wellness industry by reducing the GST slab from 18 percent to 5 percent to encourage the consumers to opt for better well-being and a hygienic lifestyle.”