15 mins


The 9th edition of Salon Management Congress was held in Mumbai along with the Professional Beauty India Exhibition. As industry experts voiced their opinions on the changing process and business strategies, the delegates attending the conference gleaned many insights on how the salon business is progressing in the age of digitisation and sustainability. We present you with a special report

The Mumbai edition of Salon Management Congress 2023 was held on the 2nd and 3rd of October, at Bombay Exhibition Centre. It brought well-known business minds and thought leaders on an influential platform that is known in the Indian salon industry as a source of management knowledge. At the receiving end of these knowledge sessions were the delegates that comprised salon owners, salon managers, aspiring entrepreneurs and freelance beauty professionals. Vikas Vij, Managing Director, Professional Beauty India, opened the proceedings with a welcome address while Kanishka Ramchandani, Consulting Editor, Professional Beauty x Hairdressers Journal facilitated the two-day event, as they together moderated the panel discussions. Sanchit Udwani, Product Manager, Kohot Recruitment, made a presentation about ‘Solving your recruitment challenge: Finding the right candidate using digital tools.’

Salon Management Congress 2023 – Mumbai edition spanned across two days, comprising panel discussions and fireside chats. The esteemed panelists brought to the table vast experience, insider view and management expertise of successfully running a salon business. In this report, we bring you the key takeaways of each session that witnessed healthy debating amongst the panelists and cross-questioning by the moderators.

Panel 1: How has managing a salon changed in recent years?


Montie Thanki. MD, T&T Products and Salon

Rahul Bhalchandra, Co-Founder, YLG Salons

Samir Srivastava, CEO, LOOKS Salon

Savio John Pereira, Owner, Savio John Pereira Salons

Moderator: Vikas Vij, Professional Beauty india


• The biggest change has been in the way business is run today, and the technological advancements.

• As a hairdresser you cannot do everything yourself. To be strong in business as you are at hairdressing, you need a strong creative team, too.

• Tenacity is the most important quality required to run a salon business.

• Building your team and providing them with tech support are two of the main challenges for salon owners. It is important to provide continued training to the staff in order to retain them.

• Plan your business well! There are plenty of opportunities in India. You need to have the right strategy in mind when it comes to planning expansions according to your business idea and goals.

• Offering discounts won’t take you anywhere! Understand your market and your consumer and then you play the game accordingly.

• Price plays an important part but what is more crucial for any hairdresser is quality and consistency, as people are willing to pay if they get the quality they expect, consistently.

• Scaling up is easy - it’s managing people that is a challenge.

Panel 2: Optimising your salon business performance: Why data and technology are important for running a successful modern salon business?


Akshay Poorey, Co-Founder, DINGG

Qurat Syed, Owner, Lemon Salon

Rohan Kant, CEO, Envi Salons

Vandana Bhardwaj, Director and Spokesperson, Marie Claire Paris Salon, India

Moderator: Kanishka Ramchandani


• When you use software to record data, you can analyse the services that sell, the customer persona, online bookings and appointments. Data drives growth and helps you plan better. Data is in sales, performance, marketing and operations.

• Data is key, data is everything! Data means customers. All salons work hard to multiply and grow their customers. Keeping data safe, protected and multiplying it should be the objective of any salon business.

• Data management is key for successful business. People at the backend struggle with data management, stock management and inventory turnaround, there’s a need for a software that takes care of these as well as save client preferences. The software should make data usable and easy-to-read by staff members.

• The most common mistake in data management is lack of education in the staff members. They also need to understand customer relationship management. Now AI is also in the picture; we need to learn that, too.

• With the advancements in technology, we are now able to retain clients better, the investments may feel scary in the beginning but in the end, it is worth it.

• The data should be available irrespective of which branch the client goes to, the software and analysis is a package deal. A strong backend is crucial for the smooth running of your business.

• Get your data software sorted from the first salon itself.

Panel 3: Brand partner or vendor to the business: How to choose and develop a healthy relationship with your product partner for your salon’s success


Drishti Ramchandani, Director, Solastaa Salon

Yashesh Bharwada, Director, Absolute Beauty Concepts

Sneh Koticha, Director, Jean Claude Biguine India

Vaijanti Bhalchandra, Co-Founder, YLG Salon

• Moderator: Kanishka Ramchandani


• The relationship should be from both the salon owners and the brand partners, to sustain together as long term association.

• With a lot of brands and increasing competition in the market, it’s all about longevity and healthy business relationship instead of just profitability.

• Trust, loyalty and building relationship with vendors will lead to success in business.

• There are four categories of vendors. Firstly, the multinational companies; secondly the suppliers/ distributors; thirdly the importers and lastly private label manufacturers. For a salon, business strategies for all of them would be different.

• Training is not just about product training; it’s also about skills.

• Challenges involve having the right team to run operations, availability of products, inventory management, risk of overstocking, etc.

• Stocking of products should be based on data analysis.

• Vendor partners have to realise that the salons are building their brands when they invest time and energy in it. So, support from the vendor is important.

Panel 4: Hair raising experience: The journey from being a hair or beauty professional to becoming a salon owner


Jashmina Jain, Associate Salon Director, Florian Hurel Hair Couture

Kapil Sharma, Founder, Kapil’s Salon & Academy

Shirin Merchant, Owner, Kut n Make Salon

Moderator: Kanishka Ramchandani


• A salon can be named after the experience that you give. If you are an artist, it can be a reflection of your personality or reflect your skills.

• If you do not have any marketing or branding budget, you can name the salon after yourself. Choosing any other name means building awareness about that brand name. So, make an informed decision before selecting your salon’s name.

• However, A drawback to naming the salon after yourself is this strategy is that any negative activity or feedback, even if it’s done by an associate or an employee, affects your personal name and value.

•If you’re an investor-oriented salon, it’s best to opt for a neutral name to avoid ego issues and create synergy.

•Your salon name can project your skill set or reflect your persona, keeping in mind your target audience, perception and values that you want to create.

•The name should be simple, short, should not be difficult to pronounce and good to recall.

• Transitioning from a hairdresser to a salon owner means, managing and running a team.

• When you are working as a hairdresser, any mistakes that you make are your mistakes. But when you run a business, your decisions affect your staff’s actions and behaviour as well as your brand name.

• Before starting your own salon, conduct a proper market research, build a fantastic team, cultivate a loyal client base, manage your finance, etc.

Panel 5: salon marketing and client acquisition: how to gain clients by implementing the correct marketing strategy?


Cherag Bambboat, Founder, Magical Makeovers

JJ Savani, Owner, JJ Savani Studio

Vikas Marwah, Owner, Vikas Marwah Salon

Dr Vijaya Salunkhe, Business Consultant, Beauty & Wellness

Moderator: Kanishka Ramchandani


• One of the best marketing strategies is word of mouth. Customers should get the clear message for ‘what’s in it for me?’

• You need to understand each customer as an individual and not as a part of the customer group. Once you have figured out the solution that you are offering, your clients will come to you, and you will be able to create a perfect marketing strategy.

• Do not blindly copy the marketing ideas of others. You need to understand your clientele and your goals to create a customised marketing plan.

• Make use of information available on the internet and social media as well as on platforms such as Salon Management Congress.

• A new customer usually comes in through referrals, Google ads or social media. When you analyse all these parameters in detail, you can understand which of these aspects are not working properly and then focus on them.

• Marketing can get you leads but how you convert them depends on your team and the level of service you can provide.

• For a new salon, initially the marketing spent should be around 40-50 per cent. Eventually you can allot 7-10 per cent of your profits to marketing.

Fireside Chat: Seema Jerajani with Vikas Vij

“I wanted to be the best at what I did. So, I used to work and save money for two years, to be able to go abroad to study, such as at the Vidal Sassoon academy. I also learnt about skin and aromatherapy. Every 2-3 years I picked a new specialisation because I believe learning is continuous and it should never stop.

Many young professionals approach me saying they don’t have the means to study about hairdressing.

I tell them read the book I have written. It is a one-of-a-kind book that has been referred to by international companies.

I gave up my salon for health reasons. When you are so passionate about something, it sometimes burns you out. I was burnt out and that affected my health. So, now I teach and work only 10 days a month. I always wanted to be a teacher, and that is how I planned my education. I’m very happy about my decision, as my work hours are limited, and I can spend more time with my family so it has all worked out well for me. I’m one of the most highly qualified professionals globally in my line of work. I will keep going abroad to study further.”

Panel 6: Getting salon ready staff: raw, poached or homegrown organic – what’s the best way to build your salon team?


Biju Nair, Executive Director, LTA School Of Beauty

Bina Punjani, Founder and Art Director, Bina Punjani Salon

Leena Khandekar, Founder, Lee’s International Beauty and Spa Institute

Raman Chouhan, Founder, Victress Beauty Academy

Moderator: Kanishka Ramchandani


• As a salon, you need to have a philosophy for recruitment. Why are hairdressers eager to join you? Any other salon can offer them money. You can give them something beyond money - education, empowerment, growth, creativity and upskilling.

• Interns and associates should be trained in-house before moving them on to senior roles. While hiring raw talent, consider parameters such as whether you will be able to groom them, do they speak the local language, etc.

• First and foremost, look for a team player, someone with the right vibe and energy so the clients feel the energy too.

• A recruit should be trainable and a learner and come with an attitude of acceptance towards education. Junior stylists or skin therapists should have at least basic skills and some level of education. Thereafter, you can upscale them and bring them up to speed.

• Regular academic qualification is generally not a criteria while hiring in the beauty industry. If a person has talent and a willingness to learn, lack of education and grooming can be ignored. However, it is the salon’s job to train the recruit in soft skills and make them presentable in addition to their talent.

• In fresh talent, look for confidence, ability to learn, consistency to stay with the same company so they can develop culture and learn well.

Panel 7: Sustainability and the salon industry: how practically and commercially realistic is it for salons to go green?


• Pushkaraj Shenai, Wholetime CEO, Lakme Lever

• Sachin Kamat, Industry Expert

• Rekha Chaudhari, MD, Oneline Wellness; Global Wellness Ambassador; and Founder, World Digital Detox Day

• Moderator: Kanishka Ramchandani


• Citizens of the world economy, we as salons need to take charge. When Covid hit, the most responsible industry for taking care of the consumers was the salon industry and today we are being celebrated for it.

• Switching to renewable sources of energy and reducing power consumption is the top priority to make the salon industry sustainable, followed by reducing food consumption and wastage.

• A simple and practical way to bring sustainability into your salon operations is to start wherever you are. And do whatever you are doing consistently. For example, e-invoicing, natural disposable wipes, etc. These small steps can lead to a big cumulative effect.

• When it comes to sustainability and salon, it is a community-based approach. If we come together as an industry, we can definitely make a big impact.

• The salon industry depends heavily on water consumption. We should use it responsibly.

• We should add sustainable service as part of our staff training.

• Take initiatives, start making efforts, and create awareness.

• Whatever is scarce is more expensive, hence ecofriendly is currently more expensive. Whether the consumer is willing to spend for these options is the first question a salon owner needs to ask. You can consider keeping a separate section of your salon that’s sustainable and charge the client a premium price for it.

• It does not help to have the mindset to either be 100 per cent eco-friendly or not at all. Do whatever best you can!

• Don’t wait for the trend to become big before getting on to it, because once it becomes big, you lose the first mover’s advantage. Start early!

Panel 8: Retail therapy or retail vs therapy: how can salon owners and their staff successfully drive retail revenue or should they focus on services revenue?


Gunjann Taneja, Executive Director, ALPS Beauty Clinics & Academies

Manisha Chopra, Founder, Sea Soul Cosmetics

Rachit Malhotra, Owner, Femina Plus Salon

Viki Thakkar, Director, Viki Thakar Design Studio

Moderator: Kanishka Ramchandani


• When a customer comes to a salon for a particular service, they also need to know about the after care of that service. This is where retail sales come in the picture.

• Using counter-productive products reduces the effectiveness of salon treatments. It can negatively impact the after effects or expected results of the service. To avoid that, the customers have to be educated on all of these points.

• The staff has to be trained to be able to give the correct information to the clients.

• By retailing, you complete the service provided.

• When someone walks into your salon, the kind of brands you carry tell the client what kind of stature your salon carries. It builds the salon’s image.

• The staff gets extra perks and incentives as these sales generate extra revenue.

• Small salons are more creative when it comes to retail shelves due to the lack of space

• Now the brand shelves are shrinking as every salon, big or small, has around 7-10 brands. Salons should go by their own aesthetics and not worry about the brand shelves. Keep it basic!

• The client knows that the staff will try to sell the products to me, so it is important to teach the staff to softly push the products.

• From a design perspective, it is important to support product sales by using the correct lights or clearer mirrors so the displays appear brighter.

Panel 9: To franchise or not to franchise: the question for every entrepreneurial salon owner


Allen John, COO, Naturals and Naturals Beauty Academy

M S Bharath, Founder and Managing Partner, Kria Law

Pralay Bakshi, COO, Bina Punjani Salon CXO, LOOKS Salon


• Whether to franchise or not to franchise your salon brand depends on your growth plan, but you should be able to control the franchise.

• Franchising is a very smart thing to do as it gets you money without investing but franchise only when your brand name can pull customers.

• Running a salon is an expensive business so it is better to have an investor as a sleeping partner, while you control the operations.

• While the investor can be the eyes and ears for the location, the management will be done by the company to maintain standard of services.

• ‘Franchise’ if you are successful in one location and your business is replicable but you don’t want to invest in other locations, you have to maintain three aspects: location, quality control and safety audits.

• Proper quality control audits, safety audits and SOPs are mandatory.

• To manage your franchisees, invest in a strong backend team, ensure routine visits to the franchise outlets not just for policing, but also to support in case they need it.

• Ensure the standard of service and products is uniform across franchisees.

• In case of issues that might arise with your franchisees, you should try to resolve them internally with a notice. If the problem persists, you can go to court. Don’t rush to the court until you have tried to resolve internally.

• For grievance redressal maintain communication, have clear and honorable intentions but there should not be second chances if the franchisee does not respect the terms of the business. Because brand name is critically important, media is brutal and the entire brand will be dragged in case of any mistakes.

Fireside Chat: What’s the next step for the salon industry?


Annalouise Kenny, Founder and CEO, Skin Philosophy

Latha Mohan, Founder, Spalon India

Nikisha Bhatia, Hair and Make-up Professional and Consultant

Vikram Bhatt, Director, Enrich

Moderator: Vikas Vij


• Examining the latest revenue trends for salons

• What could the industry look like in 2030?

• What are some key global salon trends coming to India?

• Ensure the standard of service and products is uniform across franchisees.

• In case of issues that might arise with your franchisees, you should try to resolve them internally with a notice. If the problem persists, you can go to court. Don’t rush to the court until you have tried to resolve internally.

• For grievance redressal maintain communication, have clear and honorable intentions but there should not be second chances if the franchisee does not respect the terms of the business. Because brand name is critically important, media is brutal and the entire brand will be dragged in case of any mistakes.

This article appears in the Dec 23 - Jan 23 Issue of Professional Beauty/ Hairdressers Journal India

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This article appears in the Dec 23 - Jan 23 Issue of Professional Beauty/ Hairdressers Journal India