Sukirti Patnaik of Indulge Salons : A Story of Diligent Focus
Kaushik Karmakar gets talking to the spirited and highly focused Sukirti Patnaik on how she jumped two professions to make a success of her salon business. The Indulge chain of salons that she started in a virgin territory like Bhubneshawar, more than a decade back has set benchmarks for the state of Odisha, in fact, it is counted amongst the leading salon chains in India.
As a seasoned beauty professional, you have come a long way in this Industry. What brought you into the beauty space and how did you prepare for this profession?
I am an Electronics Engineer and an IT professional, but my passion was always in Beauty, Health and Wellness. My husband encouraged me to start a career in the beauty industry. I always believed in knowledge as the foundation of a job and a successful career. While working in the IT industry, I completed various technical courses in London and Europe, over a period of two years. I also spent a considerable amount of time travelling in India, surveying the market, shortlisting vendors, connecting with potential candidates, setting up a training centre, etc. All my training and initial work helped me set up my salon and make connections with the beauty industry.
Have you undertaken any personal training and certifications in the beauty industry?
Before starting my salon, I had enrolled at various institutes in Europe and India. I had completed courses at SAKS, AOFM, Carlton, Ash Kumar, LBS, etc. I had attended dedicated certification training programs by major international brands. I had also completed the NVQ certifications in London. I had over 30 certificates before I started my first outlet. The knowledge and skills I learnt became the pillars on which we could build the brand. Even now, I regularly attend training, both nationally and internationally, to increase my knowledge and be up-to-date with the latest in the industry.
As one of the leading salon chain brands from Eastern India, do underline the secret for your success?
The foundation for any business is quality. Indulge’s sole focus has been on maintaining the service quality through right products, proper service procedure, effective training, conducive work environment and regular audits.
How many salons does the brand Indulge currently have?
Indulge currently operates 12 salons and a training academy in Odisha. We plan to have 25 salons by March 2020.
We have over 130+ employees working in various capacities in salons and at our corporate office. Apart from our technical team, we have dedicated employees working on products, accounts, training, quality, sales and marketing. We are also investing in infrastructure and people for our future expansions.
As a woman entrepreneur, what according to you are the biggest challenges and hurdles in ensuring a well-oiled, smooth and seamless operation?
The journey of any entrepreneur is the same across industry and gender. The biggest lacuna for women entrepreneurs is in finding the right mentor and getting the right advice at the right time. Compared to men, there are fewer women leading business networks that provide the right platform and support for budding entrepreneurs. Women entrepreneurs should also have strong leadership skills and have the ability to inspire individuals to be part of a women-led organisation.
What would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs who want to venture into this industry?
Budding entrepreneurs should enter the industry only if they have a passion for beauty, the required financial strength and patience to run a business. Entrepreneurs should be hands-on in all aspects of the business.