‘I treat ev­ery bride like a princess.’

A con­ver­sa­tion with Angie.

Enterprise - - Interview -

What was the idea be­hind launch­ing Angie’s and how re­ward­ing has the ex­pe­ri­ence been?

There was no in­spi­ra­tion be­hind it, I was pushed into it. My mother had been in this pro­fes­sion since 1970s. I learned cut­ting hair, do­ing makeup and many other things at a very young age. In 1982 she de­cided to open an­other branch in De­fence and in 1986 I went for fur­ther train­ing to Lon­don.

Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Sa­lon Green Book, day spas are one of the fastest grow­ing seg­ments in the beauty in­dus­try. Do you be­lieve this is rel­e­vant to the Pak­istani beauty sa­lon in­dus­try as well?

Spas are mush­room­ing but hardly any of them spare beauty spas in the real sense. Any­one who puts up a fa­cial bed in their sa­lon thinks that they are run­ning a spa. It is a lu­cra­tive busi­ness and a fast grow­ing in­dus­try around the globe but, un­for­tu­nately, in Pak­istan there is no check and bal­ance. Many brand and sta­tus- con­scious women of­ten go to spe­cific sa­lons merely be­cause they know some in­flu­en­tial per­son does the same. Some go to a par­tic­u­lar sa­lon be­cause they have seen a pic­ture pub­lished on the cover of a mag­a­zine. Ac­tu­ally, cus­tomers need to be ed­u­cated enough to know the dif­fer­ence be­tween gen­uine makeup and Pho­to­shop.

What does the mush­room growth of beauty par­lours in Pak­istan re­flect?

Cus­tomers need to know that well- es­tab­lished sa­lons in­vest in their em­ploy­ees and prod­ucts and spend a lot of money on the in­te­ri­ors, etc. There­fore what they charge is jus­ti­fied and it is worth spend­ing rather go­ing for a blow dry to a small par­lour where it does not even last by the time one ar­rives at the event.

How would you rate the bri­dal ser­vices of­fered by your beauty sa­lon?

One of the best! I don’t take too many brides and don’t go for mass pro­duc­tion. I like to give in­di­vid­ual at­ten­tion to ev­ery bride who comes in be­cause at the end of the day she is paying me for my ser­vices. I treat ev­ery bride like a princess and I truly be­lieve one needs to be true and hon­est to their pro­fes­sion. This not only helps cre­ate cus­tomers but also gives me in­ner peace and sat­is­fac­tion. I have built my busi­ness through the power of word of mouth. the psy­che of the up­per class, who be­lieve that if a sa­lon is ex­pen­sive rather than rea­son­able, then it must be man­aged by the most ex­pe­ri­enced and qual­i­fied

‘...cus­tomers need to be ed­u­cated enough to know the dif­fer­ence be­tween gen­uine makeup and Pho­to­shop.’

Peo­ple’s spend­ing abil­ity is de­clin­ing due to the eco­nomic crunch. Then how are prices on the rise at beauty sa­lons?

For one, we use im­ported prod­ucts. Lo­cal prod­ucts are good but they still can­not com­pete with the in­ter­na­tional ones. The in­creas­ing dol­lar rates are an added prob­lem. As the prices of prod­ucts, elec­tric­ity and water rise, we have to ad­just ac­cord­ingly. We try our best not to in­crease prices, but then we have to cut down on our prof­its. Our cus­tomers are not the only vic­tim of in­fla­tion: it is a vi­cious cy­cle and we are equally af­fected.

Then how do you man­age to achieve a bal­ance?

The per­fect bal­ance is achieved by cut­ting down on prof­its. I have worked with con­tes­tants of Miss World beauty pageants, but it is sad to know

pro­fes­sion­als.

Which parts of the year are the most and least pro­duc­tive in terms of your par­tic­u­lar busi­ness?

The wed­ding fever is al­ways high in De­cem­ber, mak­ing that a prof­itable time. How­ever, the first 10 days of Muhar­ram and the month of Ra­madan are rel­a­tively slow for us. Even June and July are slow as many of our cus­tomers are abroad.

How im­por­tant is the lo­ca­tion of a beauty sa­lon?

Lo­ca­tion is ex­tremely cru­cial. Find­ing a se­cure area should be one’s main pri­or­ity. In­stalling a se­cu­rity sys­tem has also be­come cru­cial in to­day’s world.

What is your com­pet­i­tive edge?

I would say my­self and my hard­work­ing team who have pro­fes­sional knowl­edge.

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