“A person is like the canvas and beauty is your work of art on them”, says Dr. Blossom Kochhar, Chairperson, Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies; Chairperson Beauty and Wellness Sector Skill Council (B&WSSC), while talking about why makeup and hairstyle are not just about beauty but a creative work of art.
Beauty is not just an outer appearance but also inner strength. Good looks make a person appreciate themselves and feel confident, giving them the inner strength to face the world. As the beauty sector has become one of the main emerging industries, it is providing employment to many people around the globe. To know her journey of building a global beauty brand, successfully running a creative training institute, and diversifying into many other areas in the domain of beauty, we conversed with Dr. Blossom Kochhar, Chairperson, Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies; Chairperson B&WSSC.
Note: These just excerpts from our conversation, you can watch the full video interview on our YouTube channel.
Q: How did you start the journey in the beauty sector when it wasn’t even considered an aspirational profession?
A: It started as a hobby when I discovered that I feel extremely happy making people look good. I decided to take it up as a profession by doing a Cosmetology course after my husband got transferred to Delhi. The courses at that time were only on theory, but for the beauty sector, we need practical learning to get the knowledge of the skin, hair texture, makeup, etc. So, I learned the practical part at few of my friends’ places in Bengaluru. I told one of my friend’s son that I would like to cut his hair but when he denied, I offered him 20 rupees, then, he got excited and brought his friends too for a haircut from me, in return of 20 rupees. That is how I learnt to do the haircut!
After shifting to Delhi, I started hiring people for makeup, and hairstyle. But before that, I used to train people in the required skills. We also offered courses from Pivot Point, America, which gave good training practically along with the theory part. From salon and then to training, I went into making products. At that time, only retail products were available and not professional products. So, we started with aromatherapy which is a part of Ayurveda that worked on the wellness part of the client. We started from a small factory with whatever money we had with us because there was no way of getting loans at that time.
Q: Don’t you think your personal brand, Aroma magic also signifies connecting Skill India with Make in India?
A: Yes, the personal brand, Aroma Magic does signify Skill India with Make in India as all the raw material for the products are from India. There is no animal testing as we believe in the authenticity of the product.
Q: Being the college of beauty education, why isn’t the word, ‘beauty’ added in the name of your college, ‘Blossom Kochhar’s College of Creative Arts and Design’?
A: Beauty is a creative art, as the person becomes your canvas here. Grooming the skin and makeup is a fine art. So, this means you’re doing a work of art on your client. Also, the courses in our college are not just about hair and makeup but we also have courses on photography, fashion, and personal grooming. We got in touch with the London School, Pivot Point, so the students can get jobs from all over the world.
We train people even in rural areas and towns for this profession. Widows are also trained where they can earn money by starting in their own house.
Q: What is your vision for employment growth in the beauty sector?
A: The beauty sector is just getting organised, as the salons have started opening chain salons. There are several job opportunities for people who would want to take up a profession in the beauty sector. For employment in the beauty sector, practical training is as important as theory. Institutes must encourage students to take up apprenticeship opportunities. This will help the students gain practical knowledge and helps them get employed. We train them in soft skills and speaking skills to become sophisticated. We also urge to make them job-worthy and industry-ready.
Q: How can schools get started with courses for students who are interested in this field?
A: We can definitely start this in smaller classes with grooming by making this profession look glamourous. We can add up yoga, exercise, and wellness classes in the curriculum. When they complete the course, even if students are not good in academics, they can learn mehendi (henna) design, hairstyles and start earning money. For example, they can do this from their homes or can start by doing a hairstyle for the bride. This also gives them confidence in acquiring a job. But, to get into the beauty sector, skilling is very essential along with education.
Also read: Makeover for Beauty and wellness sector post-COVID-19 – https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/makeover-for-beauty-and-wellness-sector-post-covid-19/
Q: What is the impact of COVID-19 on the beauty sector?
A: Beauty is a profession that can be taken up from anywhere. Of course, the pandemic has impacted it during the first wave of COVID-19. Though salons were not running, salaries had to be paid to the employees. So, they came up with home services which actually started years ago when we used to call up for body massages and mehendi for hair. The only thing which has been added now after the pandemic is hygiene.
For the salons to run successfully, the foremost thing has to be hygiene, where the clients gain confidence to get the services from a salon. Our salon has been given a hygiene certification and is running well. Although there’s a pandemic, people do not compromise on good looks. They want to get pampered and look good, no matter what the situation is. So, the beauty sector will not completely get impacted or closed by COVID-19.
There is also a new way of learning which is online education. We adopted this before the pandemic so we will keep it running. We need to invest in practical training through online education. Teachers need to be dedicated as they have to watch over the students. With this education, we can reach out to much more people by making it interesting.
We should also have a cluster system in the beauty sector as to where and when the employees can work and go. We need to employ people who cannot afford to have big salons. So, the big salons should give people an opportunity to work in their salons as they are trained and skilled in the beauty sector. This idea is like community entrepreneurship.
To conclude, I would like to mention that the beauty sector is the most amazing profession to be in. If you like to do something, you need to be passionate about it. To become an entrepreneur, one should educate themselves and have the right attitude. Learn the skill for yourself, even though you have a company, as it will help you to live on your own.