Of late, humanity has started realizing that an invariable growth in society is impossible without women’s empowerment. The realization has triggered various campaigns and projects intending to empower women at large. The ‘Naturals Salon’ chain is a distinctive business model that facilitates innovation and financial empowerment of women – all at once.
The Co-founder & CEO of the Naturals Salon chain Mr. CK Kumarvel belongs to a business family. As a child, he was one of the six siblings who comprehended their mother’s struggles to raise the children after their father’s demise, CK was only thirteen when his father died. His mother looked after the household chores, the business which was under debt, and the upbringing of her children. Childhood experiences helped CKK envision a special perspective towards women’s talent and potential, which was seldom tapped.
As a young man, CKK helped his brothers in their businesses but post his marriage, CK planned to do something of his own. It was the year 2000 which was also the time when his wife, Veena Kumaravel, Founder of Naturals, expressed her desire to become an entrepreneur – CKK joined his wife to launch a business venture together and also help out other women to set-up their independent businesses, in a similar fashion.
CKK & Veena toyed with the idea of starting a preschool, boutique or a salon. It was Veena who chose the salon business and the duo launched their brand Naturals with the goal of offering high-quality grooming at affordable rates. Back then, quality salon services were only available at five-star hotels, making it out-of-reach of commoners. CKK & Veena’s knowledge of beauty salons was poor but that did not deter them from venturing into this industry and making a change.
For CKK’s Naturals Salon, growing to over 680 + branches, across India, was not easy. The first six years of the business were about recording losses, but with a reducing pattern. CKK approached banks to fund the expansion of his salon chain but was turned down by most of them considering the Salon business unviable. However, CKK continued his efforts when a banker trusted him for repayment despite a lack of belief in the salon Industry. By the year number six of their operations, Naturals Salon had six branches in total, making them Chennai’s biggest salon chain.
CKK’s business model which evolved around the philosophy of ‘Women Empowerment’ was showing steady results with an increasing number of salons and revenue – a key strategy change that followed the growth was the adoption of the franchisee business model, which further fueled the quick expansion of Naturals Salons business.
After almost two decades of arduous work on a business idea that was triggered due to his wife’s wish, CKK’s Naturals Salon has done a tremendous job in terms of growth and industry transformation. The industry which was once considered a taboo industry, has not gained prominence due to the efforts by the likes of CK Kumaravel. Their brand Natural Salon has been endorsed by prominent Bollywood personalities like Genelia D’souza and Kareena Kapoor, but for CK, the biggest accomplishment is the respect he created for the profession of hairdressers and stylists, and the opportunities he created for women.
An idea that started with the thought of creating an opportunity for his wife, CKK’s Naturals Salon stands tall with 680+ branches, 10000 + employees, 400+ women entrepreneurs – forming one of the largest salon chains in India.
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