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Insight into India and L’Oréal’s Acquisition of Cheryl’s Cosmeceuticals

By: Ritoo Jhha
Posted: March 25, 2014, from the April 2014 issue of GCI Magazine.

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We are keeping the entire essence of the brand and trying to make it big. This will be the first brand from India in the L’Oréal world that has been acquired, and we will make sure that, as an Indian team, we make it really big so that the Indian brand can be in lot of other countries.

RJ: L’Oréal Professionnel is a brand in your division facing tough competition with lots of others having entered this category in India. So, what’s your take?

AK: All competition is welcome. But that competition has to do 15 years of education that we have already put in. All the best to them. This year alone, we will be training 125,000 hairdressers—and multiply that by 15 years. That’s the kind of effort any brand will need to gain a foothold in any of our salons.

RJ: Are you looking at skin care education? What about your own academy?

AK: L’Oréal India’s Professionel products division will become a complete portfolio of products. We will have skin education as well. We will use our academy to train more trainers. We are looking at producing 15,000 hairdressers in the next five years by training them from scratch. We want 15,000 young kids to become hairdressers.

RJ: How will you do that? What will you do attract youngsters to this profession?

AK: You shall see more and more hairdressers being valorized. Once they know that graduating from a certain academy gets them a good job, more are likely to come forward.

RJ: What are your concerns?

AK: Lots of spurious/not-so-safe products are entering the market in India. That’s not the right direction. Everyone who is in serious product business has to unite against such tendencies that damage the health of consumers and hairdressers alike—products that contain formaldehyde, products that claim to be Italian but are being operated by fly-by-night operators. Since they are cheap, people get tempted. We have to make sure that awareness is created.

RJ: Any ideal rates of growth?

AK: The market normally grows three times the GDP, and within that, depending upon how good your business plans are, a brand will grow.