“As salons re-open, customers may temporarily decide that they do not require certain services however, in the long run, they will certainly come back.”

Rayed Merchant has been Director SSIZ International, one of the biggest importers, distributors and retailers to salons and spas in the Indian beauty industry from the last 11 years. SSIZ, a family run business, established in 2009, has kept pace with the swift changes in the industry by constantly innovating, so as to offer the best and latest to their clients.

Rayed tells us how, even during the pandemic, the company has been fully active, advising and preparing their clients for re-starting their business!

Sandhya Chipalkatti: Your company is a major supplier for salons. How has the market been for you since the lockdown?

We at Beauty Palace and SSIZ International cater to everything one needs to run a salon since our inception in 1987. Our range includes Furniture, Make-up and it’s tools, Hair care products and styling tools, Salon equipment, Male grooming products and tools etc. We supply to salons pan India from A+ salons and Spas,salon chains, smaller salons, everyone is welcome at Beauty Palace.

Itis safe to say that most of us were caught unprepared for the pandemic and the lockdown has significantly impacted our businesses. Currently, we are seeing lower revenues and going through a tough time to survive. However, we are looking forward to some positive times ahead and being back in action soon.

Your multiple distribution channels allow you to reach consumers as well as salons. How did you connect with them through this period?

Despite thenegative impact onmost businesses, it is important to be prepared well for the post pandemic phase. Despite the partial lockdown, we are proactively maintaining relationships by:

  • Updatingour clients through social media interaction.
  • Creating and sharing content that will benefit them
  • Live Online training/Step by step sessions/Emails/Video conferences
  • Checking on clients if they are ok and offering services that might help them.
  • Preparing them for the restart by managing the supply chain system for them.

We see this as our responsibility and service – nurturing a long term relationship, and helping both our businesses to bounce back.

What will change, post COVID? Will customer choices in salon services change?

The virus has changed the way we are living and we will not be reverting to what it was, very soon.

As salons re-open, customers may temporarily decide that they do not require certain services however, in the long run, they will certainly come back. Services that require physical closeness such as head or body massages will remain suspended. Hair services – cut and colour will be a major revenue generator. We also see basic grooming activities like manicure – pedicure showing some increase initially.

Salons are taking many safety and sanitization precautions to regain their client’s confidence. Brand sampling and testing will become contactless. The industry will definitely bounce back with safety at the heart of it.

Will the uncertain economic climate make theconsumer downsize spends? What will the priorities be?

Longer lockdowns could have a severe impact on our economy and create financial instability for everyone. Consumers will curtail expenditure and spend where and when necessary. Luxuries will be a story of the past and customers would look at essentials for some time.
With no social gatherings, weddings taking place, many would not like to indulge in beauty services in a larger way. The additional costs in PPE etc., will lead to an increase in service prices which combined with reduction in the number of clients serviced, will make the beauty industry a luxury spend in nature.

One learning from COVID? Is there any silver lining?

It has taught us to be prepared for any situation; made us mentally strong; helped nurture relationships with vendors, colleagues and clients and to be solution oriented with positivity. It is advisable for everyone to work towards disaster management funds in each company, in order to have some resistance to such epidemics in future. Positivity is the flower in our garden of life, keep it blooming all the time.

“It is advisable for everyone to work towards disaster management funds in each company.”

When do you think the Indian beauty and grooming industry will return to normal?

We are already witnessing a slight demand and are hopeful that things will normalize by the end of this year or early next. We see immense potential in digital ads, DIY tutorials and videos on how to use certain beauty tools, etc. which will help educate and nurture relationships.

Education has been a strong pillar in our industry, it will continue to give confidence and new techniques to be implemented in future.

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