“Going forward, Quaranchange will be the mantra.”

Samir Srivastav needs no introduction. He has established the JCB Salon & Spa brand to define quality, luxury and style in India. He is a true champion of the industry at different forums. He tells us all that he has been doing at JCB during these days of the lockdown and how he’s preparing his team for their return to work.

Sandhya Chipalkatti: As silly as it sounds, how are you doing during this pandemic?

Like everyone else – edgy, restless and reflective. Though I must add that the last has led to productive thinking and revisiting many aspects of business and life. Surely a ‘penny drop’ moment. In a good way.

How has this situation affected your 18 JCB properties? Any advice for other owners?

JCB Salons was the 1st chain to take a safety over business approach at the very start of the pandemic and we decided to close operations to protect our staff and clients much before the government lockdown.

My advice to salon operators is to use this time to introspect & deep dive into their business “math” which is basically your financials, spend a portion of the day in learning and development for all verticals of Hair, Beauty and don’t forget the very important Operations teams – who also form the core engine of the business.

Example JCB has launched its international spring summer 2020 collection hair styles online training sessions. Our Ops team has conducted a large number of CLD sessions on Home Care & Product knowledge, Soft Skills, how to manage social media and Google for each salon.

I also believe that leaders of organisations at this important stage must be highly visible in physical and verbal communication on a daily basis with the entire team reaching out to them, reassuring them of good times ahead and ensuring they follow and practise all the government of India safety guidelines. These are important at both individual and social level.

What do you think will change, post COVID? What new demands will arise? How will it impact the salon industry?

Firstly, the entire business model of “confined” space businesses will undergo a huge change.

As a business initially we have to have a “Head Down Hedgehog approach” & be very cost efficient till demand ramps up.

Tremendous expectations and rightly so on a “Safe COVID Free Salon” environment will be key.

I also see a consumer shift and Polarisation of price value benefit for services and home care.

Is there any silver lining to this situation? One learning from COVID?

Business Learning: Hygiene is one of the key tenets of our industry and this is one learning to be championed at the owner level relentlessly.

Life learning: The entire contact tracing process has brought to light a very important truth – Every individual, irrespective of social strata or class impacts the larger community. We are all interconnected. No one is an island. This learning can have a paradigm shift in both business and society.

“I believe that leaders of organisations at this important stage must be highly visible in physical and verbal communication on a daily basis with the entire team.”

Tell us about your future projects so that we have something to look forward to!

JCB has always been the innovator in the Indian beauty industry and is known for its ahead of the industry launches in services / treatments / training’s and products for which we rely on our brand partners however big or small. We will continue to have a robust innovation pipeline for 2020, though it will be at this stage delayed by a few months. Geographical expansion will see us launching 2 salons in Pune immediately post lockdown lifting. We also have a surprise announcement of a new expansion of a business vertical in the pipeline.

So yes, you will see how adversity is the mother of invention.

Finally, what other skills or talents have you discovered within yourself during this lockdown period?

Not skills but I’ve gotten much more quality time to read, absorb, think, imagine and build scenarios on a professional side. More importantly, learning to quieten the mind for a bit
and observing how that calm leads to greater thinking and ideation.

On a personal side I have been blessed with a lovely family with whom I’m getting to spend much more quality time. On a social level I play an important part in the society. I live in Bombay so I have a large set of responsibilities to fulfil on a daily basis especially for the safety, security and hygiene of our residential block.

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