Lakme Salon's Growth Journey Is An Inspiring One
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In a journey that spans over three decades, Lakme Salon has excelled in the beauty and cosmetics industry. With an expansive network of 450 salons across India, the brand now looks at opening two new outlets every week. In this interview, the company's spokesperson highlights the reasons why the brand has been such a huge success in India
Could you walk us through the key highlights in Lakme Salon’s journey in India?
We started our journey in 1980 with one salon, but it took us 30 years to open our first 100 stores and we reached the milestone in 2010. And since then, every two years we have been adding 100 salons to our boutique of stores. The key highlight of our journey has of course been our expansion. In addition to launching our own stores, we started franchising in 2000, nearly two decades ago, and in the last 20 years, we have built a lot of system, operations and management processes in place as we grew. Today, we are at 450 salons.
While the company owns 50, the rest are owned by franchisees. Another key milestone in our journey has been the launch of Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) in the year 2000. Of course, LFW too has undergone many innovations and changes, and today from introducing leading designer collaborations to launching bridal collections first on the ramp, LFW has come a long way. Further, four years ago we discovered there were more avenues where we could grow, and we decided to expand even further. The Lakme Academy was launched and we have 100 centres so far.
How is your franchise model contributing towards your vision?
For a brand like ours with the ambition to extend its footprint across the country, we need the support of a strong network of partners to grow. Our franchise model has helped scale up operations across India and takes our service promise to more than 154 cities in a short span of time. Lakme Salon offers franchise opportunities to entrepreneurs from metros right up to Tier III and IV towns. Franchisees can choose from different formats – regular, smart and prime models which are customised as per the city and the area. The portfolio, fit-outs and service standards remain the same across the different formats. We plan to expand our footprint at the rate of two new salons per week.
What are the best practices you adopt while choosing your franchise partners?
It’s important to mention that although franchising has been important to us, we see no difference between a company-run and a franchise outlet. Hence, we have very stringent selection criteria, and most often only one out of three applicants make it to the final round. We ensure that the franchisee’s interests align with our value system. Most often, the applicants have to face an interview before getting shortlisted. We have a strong support chain associated with all our franchise partners and lastly, we are closely glued on the performance of our outlets. Every Lakme Salon is rated and the owner of whichever salon scores high is taken on the Lakme Advisory Council. Such members help other franchise owners adopt successful practices.
What do you think are the advantages of owning a Lakme Salon?
Our expertise and ease of doing business are the biggest advantages. For example, a chartered accountant in Punjab owns more than 10 Lakme Salon outlets, while an IT professional in Bengaluru owns six outlets. These are people who are not from the beauty industry but have leveraged from our experience. Since we do not differentiate between a company-owned and a franchise-owned outlet, performances of all our salons matter equally to us.
Franchising since: 2017
Total outlets: 180+
Investment: Rs 15-20 lakh
Area: 150-250 sq. feet
Break-even: 12-18 months
Expansion: Pan-India, Global