Education@2020 : Vaijayanti Bhalchandra Votes for Upskilling
Vaijayanti Bhalchandra takes pride in having trained over 6000 beauticians and hairdressers (most of them women) till date. She firmly believes that educating women across social strata and underprivileged candidates, is the best way to give back to society.
What are your suggestions to improve the educational scenario in Indian salon and beauty industry?
Education is an essential lever for enhancing professionalism within an industry. Even before YLG’s establishment as a successful brand in the Indian beauty industry, long before the Salon was a business model, YLG’s founders laid the cornerstone for education in this field. Way back in 2008, we understood the industry and scope of possibilities that could be achieved. It was very exciting for us to educate the women force as it was a part of our vision. For us, education and training came first, and later salons were launched. We have academies in Chennai, Hyderabad & Bengaluru. Most of the students have become professionals at our salons and the remaining are entrepreneurs.
Professionalism improves when the education centres get certified by reputed certification bodies. The YLG Institute is accredited by CIBTAC, UK — it’s an L’Oréal partner academy, and now has certifications from CIDESCO as well. Certification increases value enabling every student to find employment.
The Indian Salon industry needs to invest in up-skilling and certifying existing skilled professionals, communicating to everyone the importance of formal education and following standards laid down by the NSDC (National Skills Development Council). Further, it will need to invest in developing management skills amongst Salon Managers and demonstrate career path and growth for such professionals working in the salon industry.
Is hairdressing more in demand as a career compared to make-up or nails?
The Indian Salon market is still skewed in favour of Beauty over Hair. Hairdressing has been more visible due to the combined efforts of large MNC brands in the professional hair products segment. There has been sustained effort in the education of hairdressers as it forms the basis for the product business growth. Hairdressing as a career offers great growth prospects and opportunity for global exposure. A career in make-up, nails, and beauty offers a good opportunity for professional and personal growth. As more brands and organisations build Beauty, Make-up, and Nails business, investment in education for these fields is also increasing. So, the future for Beauty, Nail, and Makeup professionals is bright.
What are the gaps and what is the way forward?
The single largest gap remains the shortage of skilled manpower. There are not enough trained professionals in the business now, and not enough new entrants to create a pipeline of fresh talent for the business. The company invests heavily in constantly upgrading skills of existing employees, as well as regular reward and recognition programmes to retain talent. The company will focus on improving reach in the cities we are already present in. We are exploring franchise options outside our cities with a capital-efficient model. We aspire to be South India’s most preferred salon chain for women with a leading presence in three major metros in South India.
How do you recruit the staff and what all goes in their training?
Human Resource is the primary asset for a customer-focused service organisation. Technological advancements can add to that, but the core strength is the people. YLG has a complete module of training the new joiners across departments. We believe in creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information with a multidisciplinary approach to achieve organisational objectives. All new joiners go through a structured induction where they are given a brief overview of all departments in the organisation.
We follow a stringent procedure for the recruitment of our skilled operators; once the operators are hired, they undergo a standardised training and certification program. Only certified operators are allowed to bill those services for customers. There is an ongoing initiative which educates and handholds existing employees to get certification from the B&WSSC (Beauty & Wellness Sector Skills Council) through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Program.