“Stay positive, better days are on their way “

With over 15 years of experience in distributing premium beauty products in India, Manish Dialani heads M.D. M.K. Exim India Ltd., a company listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, from the last five years. While his company has various divisions of business including textiles, the cosmetics division distributes premium international brands like Morroccan Oil, Paul Mitchell and BCL to over 5000 salons across 108 cities of India.

He has built a strong professional distribution channel across India with a network of direct sales force and sub-distributors. An in-house PR team, professional educators and efficient logistics management too has helped multiply the growth of the company.

Speaking with SS WEEKLY, he tells us how this pandemic has allowed the company to think of new ways to sustain business.

Sandhya Chipalkatti: Your company distributes select, premium brands for the beauty industry. What has your experience been in terms of business during COVID-19?

When the need for something becomes essential, you are forced to find ways of getting or achieving it.

Covid has taught us how each and every heading of the trail balance in the books of accounts is so important. At all levels we have identified and evaluated the smallest to biggest aspects across our company. The experience has been a very informative one. We have been able to concentrate on various aspects of business which we had never done before, thanks to Mr Covid.

Do you think the sales potential of a brand is influenced by its profile e.g. mass/ premium?

I believe we are blessed to be in this industry and it’s a bit better than the other sectors that we see. Our customers are salons and we all know that the business that salons did during this period was mainly “retail sales” so frankly I don’t have much reasons to complain. Yes we represent premium products and yes our category products users at this stage will not think of ALSO compromising on a shampoo or conditioner or save on this expense to protect their pocket. The customer has already compromised on a lot of things since lockdown.

How have you serviced your salon clients during the lockdown?

We have been very active with our dispatches and deliveries of stocks across the time. We have supported them with complimentary salon use products in order to reduce their salon over

heads. We have extended a very flexible and attractive payment facilities to our customers and we have made sure that we communicate with all that we are with them during this crisis.

What role can brands play in supporting the industry now?

I believe it’s a time to give back to our industry and our salons. Each and every member of the salon fraternity is very important to us. Brands have to communicate and educate the salons on basic hygiene level and dos and don’ts. It’s important for brands to support financially to salons at this stage with salon use products, flexible payment packages, etc. Ofcourse, this should be done considering all aspects. Brands have to think less on profit and more on support level this financial year. We need to ensure that salons survive, if they survive we automatically are in a safe boat.

How and when will the beauty business come back on its big growth track pre Covid?

“Delhi duur nahi hai!” Salon business is at 35-40% now and we all know that the festive season is here. We expect the salon business to get to 65% soon which I believe is not bad at this stage. Few of the salons have managed to negotiated a lot of their fixed costs and there are a lot of reasons for them to fight back. The main issue here with salons is dependency with their land lords and if they manage to get this sorted, they are in a safe boat. I believe November is the time we should see salons smiling.

“Humans are the most adaptable species on earth and Covid has re-activated this feature in our system. We are inventing something new everyday”

What marketing strategy should brands adopt to remain relevant at this time?

With the use of technology we have developed a very unique marketing affiliate program which rewards to salons on purchases made by its customers. I believe affiliate marketing programs should be a good way to support at this stage. We have launched this program with leading chain salons across 4 zones at this stage and they are super excited and happy with the results they see.

One positive learning from COVID?

We have understood the true meaning of “ necessity is the mother of invention” and last but not the least, at this stage you get to know the people who are besides you when you are driven to south or racing towards north.

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