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Can Trichology be a Business? This Entrepreneur Claims There is no Direct Competitor in the Market The brand is also looking to invest between two to three crores in start-ups which are focused on building the brand online and is planning to go global by next year

By Komal Nathani

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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From cannabis to marijuana, wellness industry is today engulfed with different genres of businesses spread in the industry, where the experts have chosen the path of entrepreneurship to take their interest and passion ahead. With a lot of entrepreneurs tapping a flock of untapped opportunities, the India's wellness industry is likely to hit INR 1.5 trillion by Financial Year 2019-20, according to a report by FICCI.

Story of Apurva Shah, India's first trichologist is one of those inspiring tales that can motivate all of us to follow our passion like a "mad person' and attain success on your path.

Shah tossed an idea of making trichology a business in India when there were very few or no experts of technology science, back then in 1986. With his wife Sonal, who was also a trichologist, Shah founded a company called Rich Feel Trichology Centre, which today is known as India's first and only chain of hair and scalp clinic.

Entrepreneur India caught up with Shah in 2018 Indian Salon and Wellness Congress organized by Franchise India, where he spoke about how he started from one room office and today the company is ready to go global by next year.

How I did It?

Comparing his passion with the word "madness', Shah talked about how he convinced his father during his college year to pursue entrepreneurship when trichology had almost no scope in India.

Speaking about how Rich Feel took a shape of reality, Shah shared the story of how he ended up developing a product on his own for hair loss in order to help a friend in his early days.

"When I was in college a friend of friend had a severe problem of hair loss and it was then when I decided to develop a product of my own brand. It was then when me and my wife launched a hair loss tonic with "Dr. Shah's Hair Tonic' name.

"It was a hit and by the time we actually became doctors in 1986, the hair tonic was established. It continues to be our best-selling product," he added.

That's how RichFeel made its beginning in India.

The Burgeoning Industry of Health & Wellness

Science of trichology is making its mark not just in India but in all over the world. With the increase in number of hair and scalp diseases, a lot of trichologists internationally have started their own academies and training institutes to run their own clinics. However, in India, there are not many big players who are practicing trichology along with entrepreneurship.

When Shah was asked about who does he think its competitor in market, he assertively said that there is no competitor of them in India.

Speaking about the major changes Shah has seen in the industry over these years, he talked about how the consumer behavior has changed in India. "While earlier there was customer satisfaction, but now it's customer delight, said Shah.

"You have to be perfect and different and you have to have a differentiator, otherwise what is the difference between you and somebody next door," he added.

Expertise & Technology – Major Differentiators

When Shah was asked about how he has expanded his company's customer base over these years, he assertively said through his expertise and use of technology.

"If you have a gynae problem you will go to the gynaecologist, if you have heart problem you will go to the cardiologist. So if you have a hair problem, you go to a trichologist. That's the first differentiator in our business," said Shah.

Terming technology as the second differentiator, he said that the technology we bring in differentiates us from any other hair & scalp clinic in India. "We come by knowledge, great innovations, aggressive pricing and marketing, and that's what stand us out," he added.

What was a dream two-three years ago is now a reality in India, said Shah. "The techniques and equipment we are bringing in for hair problems, had been never used by people in India yet," he added.

From 50 to now more than 100 clinics in India and other neighbouring countries like Dubai and UAE, RichFeel has made its significant position in the Indian wellness market with its futuristic vision.

The brand is also looking to invest between two to three crores in start-ups which are focused on building the brand online as per the media reports.

Sharing the success mantra for aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to build a venture in trichology, Shah selected out these ones.

  • Be a certified trichologist

  • Equip yourself with a state of art technologies.

  • Believe in yourself and your passion

Komal Nathani

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

A firm believer of hard work and patience. Love to cover stories that hold a potential to change the momentum of business world. Currently, a part of all-women web team of Entrepreneur’s Asia Pacific edition to jig the wheel of business journalism!

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