'There were safety concerns for home services that will be reduced with the phased unlocking of lockdown restrictions.'
The Covid-19 pandemic has given a sledgehammer blow to every industry. With this, the salon industry in India was not an exception as well. The prolonged lockdown posed a big threat to salons as they had to keep their doors shut. This paved the way for people to opt for salon services at home but safety concerns were still an issue. Witnessing this, salon-at-home service providers like Yes Madam have prioritized hygiene and safety protocols to ensure absolute customer wellness amid the pandemic. In an exclusive conversation with Financial Express Online Mayank Arya, Co-founder of Noida-based salon-at-home service startup Yes Madam talked about the government’s necessary steps to revive the salon industry, its current scenario and future trends. Excerpts:
What inspired you to establish Yes Madam Salon-at-home services?
With Yes Madam, our aim has always been to empower the professionals who partner with us. We have noticed that the beauty industry lacks the ability to cherish these experts who provide their services and we knew we would turn that upside down. In addition to that, Yes Madam has introduced transparency and a per-minute service model that has never existed in the game before! With Yes Madam, you can book a service and pay according to the minutes involved in the service and also choose to eliminate the product cost.
The beauty industry often exploits its clientele with high pricing and incomplete disclosure, Yes Madam is here to change that. We offer 100% transparency in all our services and products so that our customers know exactly what they are paying for.
What’s your take on the revival of the salon-at-home industry with the phased unlocking of lockdown restrictions?
We do believe that the pandemic has highlighted the benefits of home services and many people prefer them. Especially since the situation demanded everything to be done at home, it is apparent that grooming at home and other home services also saw a sharp rise. However, there were safety concerns for home services that will be reduced with the phased unlocking of lockdown restrictions. This would revive the salon-at-home industry and give Yes Madam a better chance to pamper its client
What at-home salon service aggregators are doing to prioritize safety and hygiene to boost customer confidence?
The safety of our partners and clients is the utmost priority for Yes Madam. To ensure that they remain healthy, the entire YM team is taking all necessary safety precautions such as-
All our service partners are getting vaccinated for Covid-19 as soon as possible
· Our experts provide services with a full PPE kit, disposable masks, gloves, etc.
· All tools and equipment is properly sanitized before use
· YM uses mono doses for everything possible to ensure safety & transparency
· Temperature monitoring of all experts is done before assigning them services
· 13 safety protocols are being followed to ensure maximum safety
Considering the third wave, what should be the retail and beauty industry business strategies a business owner should focus on? Also, what possible future trends of the salon industry do you think of in the post-Covid world?
At any point in time, certain strategies shall remain unhinged for a successful business. First of which would be problem-solving. Business owners must learn the issues that arise with the customers and try to incorporate methods to solve them. Other than that, improving the quality of services and products with continuous R&D will always help. And lastly, adding to the customer experience with something that your competition lacks.
Talking about post-Covid trends that I think would stay in the beauty industry is that it’s going to be the safety and hygiene precautions. It’s difficult to imagine a world where tools are not sanitized before a haircut, or someone is being too close to you without a mask. Safety trends are here to stay.
How stay-at-home circumstances have pushed the demand for at-home salon services? Explain in terms of pre and at the time of the pandemic?
We do believe that the pandemic has highlighted the benefits of home services and many people prefer them. Especially since the situation demanded everything to be done at home, it is apparent that grooming at home and other home services also saw a sharp rise. Before Covid-19, many people were unsure about calling someone home to get services and the idea didn’t quite settle with them. However, with the lockdown placed in almost every area and being unable to get your regular services done, home services did become a need of the hour. And gradually people are getting comfortable with them considering the safety precautions taken.
What are your views on the beauty and personal health sector industry? What is the impact of Covid-19 on this segment?
The addition of Covid in our lives has made us rethink the way we live. During the lockdown, many people started focusing on their health and wellbeing. The focus was diverted from personal health in the pre-Covid world, but sitting at home made us realize how precious our health is and we must take care of it. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been majorly on our lifestyle and we are ready to make changes in it. With this, the beauty and personal health sector will only grow for the betterment of people.
What do you think should be the government’s necessary steps to revive the salon industry?
We understand that going out and accessing services offline at the salons can definitely add to the hassle and thus, we support the government’s decision of gradually unlocking the lockdown restrictions. However, the promotion of at-home services, with safety & hygiene would not only highlight safety but also help revive the salon-at-home industry. We are getting all our professionals vaccinated to make sure that there are utmost safety standards maintained. Such safety standards are mandatory to ensure safety and the government should promote them.
What all are the services you provide to the customers amid pandemic and at what price? In these recent times, have you cut down your rates?
All YM services are operational even during the lockdown period with a deep focus on safety and hygiene. Amid the pandemic, we have taken certain measures in the procedure of services to ensure safety, such as mouthless/contactless threading, roll-on waxing, and so on. Testing times require innovative minds and we at YM have tried our best to keep our services operational without compromising the safety of our clients and partners. The pricing of the services remains similar with the addition of a safety & hygiene kit that comes with every service. This kit includes disposable items such as masks, gloves, sanitiser, towels, etc. The safety & hygiene kit ensures quality service at affordable prices.
What are your expansion plans?
YM has expanded rather speedily with Mumbai being our recent addition. We plan on adding more locations to our map of YM services so that we can cover all of Mumbai. After that, we plan on moving to Pune. And two-tier city expansions are also happening on the side. YM aims to go International as well, starting with Dubai and Nepal. The entire YM team is working very hard to expand our services and be able to cater to a larger number of clients.