In a country on the verge of taking the next step toward growth with foreign investment entering the country in a big way, the hair and make up industry is poised to support this progress in true style and grace.

Hair fascinates me. Nineteen years of being in this industry exist to speak for themselves. From male and female actors to models to musicians, to disc jockeys, sports personalities and more, I’ve spent my career creating looks that stand out, are bespoke, and bring out an individual’s personality. I was barely 8 months old in the beauty industry and had just won my first competition, when one of my looks was chosen by L’Oreal Paris for their product launch ‘Look Book’, which featured my creative work. That was my first brush with an international brand. I was then invited to travel across the country to showcase these different looks. Schwarzkopf Professional then signed me on in 2003 to be their brand ambassador. It was the first time India had a brand ambassador for a multinational global hair care brand and I was the first Indian to hold the mantle of being not just a brand ambassador but a creative brand ambassador as well, which entailed me giving creative direction to the country at that time. Over the years, I have been approached to take on the responsibility of brand ambassador for numerous foreign brands looking to invest in India. These include Wahl (clippers), Denman (brushes), TIGI (Bed Head), Moroccan Oil, and Olaplex, to name a few.

MAKING THE CUT

So what is it that attracts foreign brands to India? Firstly, on a personal professional level, various brands have approached me because they were drawn to my competition background. Foreign brands are looking for differentiation when they chose someone to represent them in a particular space. They felt that I was doing things that were way ahead of my time, and going to be the future in hair. They continue to invest in me because their vision of me turned out to be spot on, as a lot of looks I created initially went on to become global trends. The second factor that attracts them is my clientele. My clientele initially was a direct result of my winning competitions, both in India and internationally. Celebrities wanted to carry my cuts and colour. The movie industry wanted me to create various looks for their actors. So I started changing a lot of actors’ looks, I started designing the looks for movies from 2000 onward, and gave birth to a hair revolution. Whatever I did for the fashion scene back then, like bohemian fringes, side flicks, etc., got trendy and caught on. So Bollywood is where my work really got its limelight. For global beauty brands, that’s what made them feel they could invest in the country through me. A celebrity carrying your looks, and millions of people aspiring to have that look, it was just the right cut for them.

SHAPING THE VISION

For any foreign brand, after having found a representative, the next step for them is the demographic. With over a billion people, any foreign brand in the beauty industry, looking to invest in India, knows that our population has mass appeal. The selling power is extremely high and demand is definitely more than the supply. This is the perfect formula for investors and they know they can’t go wrong in this aspect. The second area that plays a crucial role for any investor is awareness. In India, everyone is so aware of hair and beauty and products that is really is boom time. Also, what many brands have realized is that you have to continuously change packaging for the Indian market. It has to look new and different all the time, as this keeps attracting customers.

Now, a foreign investor has been attracted to India. But what keeps them investing here? For one, India is a very adaptable market. Secondly, it’s an extremely diverse market. The culture of our country, how we accept products, plays a very important role. I do trade shows all over the country and the one thing that stands out in the beauty industry is unity in diversity. We have different textures of hair in different parts of the country. We have different skin types. This lends itself to a lot of opportunity to keep creating new products. No product or brand is stuck with a market. If something doesn’t work in the North, it will work in the East or West or South. Hence, for foreign brands it’s a win-win situation. Thirdly, a very big plus point for our country right now, after travelling all across the length and breath of the country, and representing so many foreign brands, is the language. Most people across the country speak English. So communication-wise, we have it made, unlike some other countries I have travelled to. This non-language barrier is our biggest strength for foreign brands coming into the country.

COLOUR ME CURRENT

In the past few months alone, I have attended trade shows in Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, and many other states. At each of these shows, I have noticed the number of international brands coming down and on the look out for distributors and people to invest in, in our country. Also, studying the demographic across the country, today people are looking for versatility, wash-and-go styles, and minimal product usage on the hair. Hence, there is ample space for brands to come in and invest here. Also, our demographic is divided into the niche, mid, and low price segment, each with its own loyal customers. But the best part is that in our country we have a lot of one-time-use customers, who will try a brand at least once. And this forms a large part of the consumer base. Therefore, there is enough of room for every brand’s product to grow its own loyal fan base.

STYLING THINGS TO COME

India is on the cusp of economic growth. This is evident in the beauty industry, which is estimated to touch $48 billion in India this year. That is a 17.4% growth from last year. We are looking at an 8% growth rate in the men’s range, which now makes the men’s category the fastest growing market segment. Bollywood too has gone global and this plays a huge influencing role. The Indian flavor is the spice of the season everywhere right now. We have a lot of Indian characters being portrayed in international serials and movies. Priyanka Chopra is rocking it out there, as is Deepika Padukone. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time.

Current market research trend analysis shows an increase in youngsters spending money on their hair cuts, colours, and other beauty products and services. This has grown by about 40%, guaranteeing a willingness among youngsters to spend INR 500-1000 at the least and INR 3,000-4,000 at the most, on a product or service. We have thus been catapulted into the next zone altogether. As the industry grows, more products get bought, services are availed of, and the economic growth of the country is added to. Thus, more and more foreign investors enter our markets to sell their wares and their services. This cusp of growth means more earning power, which translates to more spending power, which automatically means overall growth and an industry that supports the progress of the country every step of the way.

Box Item
Firsts
Haircut
A bob for Raageshwari from her waist length hair

Award
Domestic
For Colour - Schwarzkopf Colour Trophy
For Hair – Salon International All India Hair Dressing Championship
International
Hair Asia Pacific in Malaysia

Celebrity
Madhuri Dixit

Crazy Out There Style
The Millennium Woman & Man - Salon International Competition in 1999.
I painted the female model’s hair completely silver & covered the male model in mud & shaved him bald two weeks before the competition. As his hair started growing, I fashioned the globe and all its continents and would regularly shape his hair to form the earth. I completed the look by colouring (hair) the continents in different colours.

1st and still only Indian to be a World Hair Dressing Judge in Japan in 2012

Biggest Wedding
Liz Hurley

Muse
Priyanka Chopra



Savio John Pereira

Savio John Pereira is a celebrity hairstylist not just to the stars but to any and every client that takes a seat in his cutting chair. Where creativity knows no end, that is where his work begins. As an educator, he constantly holds the belief that no creation is without purpose and teaches budding students how to create identities for any and every individual.

 






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