Star hairstylist Jawed Habib reveals why the slowdown doesn't hurt his $30 million biz


  • In an interview with Business Insider Jawed Habib told how he focused on small towns in India to become popular.
  • His company is aggressively working on plans to expand into more cities and sell more products and franchisees - even in times of slowdown.
  • Habib has conquered the needs, aesthetics and pocket size of Tier II and Tier III cities.

At the salon in Khan Market in Delhi, a lady in her sixties sprang up excitedly as hair stylist Jawed Habib walked up to her. While she is being prepped, her husband whipped out a phone to shoot a video. Soon, a young girl sitting next to the lady stood up during the styling session and asked Habib, “Can you also give me a makeover?”




The recession-proof business
The stylist who gained fans and clients across ages - now owns the $30 million Jawed Habib Hair & Beauty. He is also known to have given former president and missile man APJ Abdul Kalam, his trademark hairdo.

Habib came from a long line of hair dressers as his father and grandfather were in the business too. But Habib never wanted to be one. Yet, he is now thriving in his family business for the last 25 years. His company is aggressively working on plans to expand into more cities and sell more products and franchisees - even in times of slowdown.

“Slowdown or not, everybody needs a haircut,” he said. Unlike in other sectors, Habib is hopeful of maintaining his margins and turning good profits.

“There’s no recession in my business. It is safe. I don’t really run a salon. I sell franchisee. Every year we sell around 100-120 franchises. We have done it in the past and the growth has been similar in fact much better. My growth has never gone down, it has only been higher,” he said in an interview with Business Insider.


The ₹196 billion beauty pie

Hair and beauty sector accounts for 40% of the massive ₹490 billion wellness industry of India - at ₹196 billion. In a largely unorganized beauty services market, Habib is one of few popular chains which is keen on smaller towns as well as cities - that has expanded his horizons.

Habib has conquered the needs, aesthetics and pocket size of Tier II and Tier III cities. He knew that the path to nurture a relation with the Indian middle class, will bear fruit. Today his approach has taken his brand to 110 cities in 24 states with 864 salons. He aims to cross the 1,000 mark in salon in FY20.

“The knowledge in smaller towns in India is very simple. They have questions like which shampoo to use or should grow my hair long or not. I gave this information to people and they loved it,” he said.

Habib believes that he has reached out only to a mere half a percent of vast middle class of India — at 300 million. “It still has a long way to go,” he said in his book, Attitude is Everything by SAGE Publications India.

A haircut with every seminar

Apart from his celebrity value and hobnobbing with who’s who, Habib also created a brand for himself in a unique manner - seminars. He sponsors at least 50 seminars a month across cities to spread the word about his business. At first, only 15-20 people used to attend his seminars but soon it increased to 400 to 500 people.

In addition, he provides a haircut in every new city he visits. “All these have helped me in moving myself and my brand. In fact, over the years, we noticed that immediately after a visit, we get franchisee enquiry calls from that city,” he said.

Habib also wants to expand overseas. Presently, he owns two salons in Bangladesh and one in Dubai. Another global salon is in works in Nairobi, Kenya. He is also looking to target Africa and the United Kingdom.

See also:
Here’s how much it costs to run a Starbucks store in India and how much it earns
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