How This Regional Brand Plans to Expand Nationally Her aim is to explore the fast growing beauty and wellness market

By Baishali Mukherjee

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Born to Kolkata's legendary Hatkhola Dutta family, this she-preneur has been one of the pioneers in the city's wellness and beauty space. Directly trained under Shahnaz Hussain, this beauty therapist started her entrepreneurial journey in a very modest way with one small parlour. After 25 years in the industry she is now spreading her wings to grow beyond the regional bracket.

If things go as planned Sharmila Singh Flora, founder, Flora's, a beauty and wellness company with two outlets in Kolkata, will have at least 20 outlets- salons and skin clinics across the country over the next few years. Her aim is to explore the fast growing beauty and wellness market, which according to a recent KPMG report is going to double, reaching Rs 80,370 crore by 2017-18 from Rs 41,224 crore in 2012-13.

Sharmila Singh Flora

An Opportune Moment to Spread Out and Expand

With 25 years in service, Flora thinks this is the most opportune moment to spread out and expand. She owns salons for both men and women, skin clinics and offers an array of herbal beauty products. She is also planning to go for franchising her brand and is presently evaluating deals with a number of beauty clinics and parlours. A three-month certificate course or beauty and wellness with the scope of employment at Flora's, is also in the bouquet of her offerings.

A trained beauty therapist, Flora offers comprehensive therapeutic advice on skin and hair care. "We take care of issues including hair fall to skin-pigmentation and treat them with ayurvedic resources and advanced technologies. The healing process is entirely herbal," shared Flora who gives individual attention to her clients.

She maintained that the by and large the beauty and wellness market in India is approximately Rs 74,700 crore in retail sales value and the personal wellness sector has been growing at 13 % YOY, largely outshining the overall economic growth rate.

Plans to go Global

If one is to go by another report published recently by Smergers, a leading investment banker for SMEs, the reality of the Rs 10,000 crore Indian salon industry is that it is mostly unorganized and only a mere Rs 2,500 crore out of the large pie, accounts for the organized slice. However, trends show that the organized sector is going to grow soon that too at a much faster pace of 30 % in contrast to the unorganized section whose growth rate is predicted lower than 20 %.

Even with a population of 1.2 billion in India, the average per person annual spending on beauty and wellness is only $1.5 annually. On the other hand the global average of this is nearly $15, $230 in the US, $10.3 in China, and $30.2 in Malaysia. This clearly indicates the possibility of augmentation for the Indian beauty and wellness industry - the report states.

"Disposable income of our country's exceedingly large customer base is now fast growing and they consider personal care as something very important. As the retail sales are all set to grow at an average of seven per cent in the coming decade we will witness major opportunities to tap this exponential growth. Business is thriving in this sector and there's adequate space for many more players. Our brand has recognition in Kolkata as we have consolidated it significantly over the years and now it is the time to spread out nationally and in due course internationally as well," notified Flora who completed her post graduation from Women's World, affiliated to England's International Therapy Examination Council.

Making Most of the 'Go-herbal' Trend

Flora's brand offers an ideal combination of beauty products and services and she has expansion-plans for her products also, quite pertinently so, given that the current ayurvedic market is slated at Rs 4,500 crore.

At present the herbal products account for 6-7 % of the beauty product market. Industry experts predict that it is likely to grow to nearly 10 % of the segment by FY20. A number of industry players are revamping existing business modes and investing in new products or are going for acquisitions to make most of the 'go-herbal' trend. Flora with 54 products under her hat does not want to stay behind.

Baishali Mukherjee

Former Freelancer

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