Chennai: The post-lunch session of ‘Straight Talk’ by TVNews4U witnessed a fireside chat interactive session between famous South Indian actor and social activist Kasthuri Shankar and CK Kumaravel, Co-Founder of one of the largest and fastest growing Saloon Chain in South India, Naturals.
On his opening note to the audience, Kumaravel gave the credit to his wife Mrs Veena who refused to be a housewife. “It was started in the early 2000s. I was out of a devastating failure. I had a limited budget and need to run a family business. To be honest I did not have many options. The market was open without any compatetion from MNC players.”, said Kumaravel who also added that an entreprenuer is not a risk taker and a risk reducer.
Naturals brand which has over 700 saloons across six states run by more than 9000 employees and hundreds of entrepreneurs who are mainly women is now expanding its wings beyond South India with new avenues in the Northern part of India and some of the overseas market wherever there is an Indian diaspora presence. “With evolving office culture of more men and women working together, presenting themselves ‘Good Looking’ has become a part of Indian lifestyle. Thus, wherever Indians live, there is a need for grooming and it should be done by Naturals”, he says.
Asked why he depends more on women for business and not Men, Kumaravel recalls his visit to London and a meeting with Anita Roddick of ‘The Body Shop’. “According to my observation, Men do not fit in the franchisee business because they become greedy while the women are contended and sincere towards their businesses”, he recalled further adding that if we chose a woman for business, she will be successful and you will also be successful.
Speaking about the competition, Kumaravel realizes, “Salon is a complex business now. Only those who have experienced can make it successful. There had been many who tried their level best. However, we managed to thrive with our excellence.” “Not having any form of competition is also not good for the Business Ecosystem. We need competition to constantly evolve and bring in innovation”, he said, According to Kumaravel, he also did not have any technical knowledge about the business. “That was my advantage. Had I been knowing the art of hair-cutting, I would end up supervising. When we do things we do not have technical expertise, we would excel in that”, he observed.
On his advise to the budding entrepreneurs, he advises them not to fear. “If you have to be fearful you need to fear for everything that comes in your way. My advice is to be fearless regardless of whatever it comes on your way”, Even if you fail – still you should think of what to do next without being bogged down by the failure, he concluded.