Top beauty salons and wellness service providers, including Jean-Claude Biguine (JCB Salons), Enrich Salons and Kaya Clinic, have urged the Maharashtra government to allow them to resume operations to protect tens of thousands of jobs and arrest their mounting losses.
These companies have been losing crores of rupees every day due to the COVID lockdown and are now ready to resume services in the state in strict compliance with the latest safety and health guidelines of the health ministry, say these companies, adding all other states have allowed resumption of their services.
Along with financial capital, Maharashtra is the single largest market for the beauty and wellness industry.
At the national level, the sector is a lifeline for 70 lakh people, two-thirds of whom are women mostly from the lower socio-economic and educational strata.
"It is critical to resume operations now so that we can ensure the livelihoods of 10 lakh employees across 40,000 salons in Maharashtra," Samir Srivastav, CEO of JCB Salons India told PTI.
With 19 salons in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat and Vadodara, JCB Salons employs over 400. It had a revenue of Rs 65 crore last year.
"Strict safety and hygiene protocols were already in place in our salons even before the pandemic hit us. But now we are going the extra mile to take more precautionary methods by deploying the best PPE gear, single-use service kits and adhering to contact-less operations. We also have a doctor at each salon.
"Each of our 400-strong workforces has put in 40 hours of training to build and put into action a new safety manual that will define a newer, safer and better JCB Salons. We've also joined forces with our global brand partners L'Oreal & Wella to redefine the beauty industry at large," he said.
Vikram Bhatt, a founder of Enrich Salons, told this agency that his team has been trained to be safety-compliant ever since its launch 11 years ago, wherein surprise audits across all 86 salons are normal practice and adherence to safety is part of their performance reviews, incentives and a six-month trend is shared with customers.
Enrich runs 86 salons across major cities employing2,200, and had a revenue of Rs 230 crore last year.
"Given new pandemic, we have reviewed each of these existing SOPs, and have made compliance more stringent. Each employee has also undergone training and certification process for safety norms released by the beauty and wellness skill council," Bhatt said.
Rajiv Nair, a group CEO of Kaya Clinic, said that despite being one of the hardest hit due to the lockdown, the beauty and wellness industry is resilient and is ready to bounce back.
On readiness to resume operations, Nair said, "Our set of protocols are in compliance to WHO guidelines. We're ready for business with more safety measures in place."
Kaya Clinic from Marico runs 93 clinics and had revenue of Rs 437 crore in FY19, of which Rs 231 crore came from the domestic market.
Kaya has also put in place extensive safety measures from masks to gloves to sanitisers to PPE Kits. It also uses UVC sanitisation of rooms/grooming rooms, pre-screening and temperature checks of consumers, staff and vendors.
Srivastav said Maharashtra has over 40,000 registered units, including barbershops, beauty parlours, salons, spas and clinics, employing over 10 lakh of which 60 per cent are women.
"With manpower alone costing around 40 per cent of revenue, rent taking away another 15-20 per cent, and zero revenue for the over two months since the lockdown, both owners and employees are equally distressed, Srivastav said.
Nair also called for an urgent financial stimulus by way of wage support, health and life insurance for service providers, short-term liquidity till the businesses are back on their feet.