Secret of Success-Ability to Take Risk
V. Dayalan and H. Rajesh, both 32 years old, started working in the beauty business right after school, as they could not afford higher education. They began as apprentices in Lakme salons and went on to become skilled beauticians. Dayalan took up a correspondence degree course in business administration and Rajesh completed a diploma programme.
But their entrepreneurial spirit combined with an aptitude for hard work would not let them rest. They formed a youth self-help group with the guidance of voluntary organisation Asha Nivas. This was to become a turning point in their lives.
"A little over a year ago, six of us formed a group called `Essential.' We took big loans to start a salon," says Rajesh. Asha Nivas offered a cash loan of Rs. 2 lakh and Andhra Bank offered a loan of Rs. 1.75 lakh to buy equipment. They borrowed from friends and relatives and cleaned out their savings to raise another Rs. 8 lakh.
The group hired prime space in the El Dorado complex on Nungambakkam High Road and called their salon `Studio Essential.' They pay Rs. 20,000 as rent and Rs. 2,500 for maintenance. They have six persons working along with them.
Says Dayalan, "We knew we were taking a big risk. But as my dad would say, `If you are starting a new business do it before you cross 35. There would be too many commitments after that.' The popularity of the parlour exceeded expectations. Not only are we paying off our loans, we also manage a decent profit."
Rajesh specialises in hair cuts, colouring, streaking, rebonding and straightening. Manicure and pedicure treatment is Dayalan's forte. As theirs is a unisex salon, they have female staff if women customers request for it. A loyal customer, V. Sharada, says the salon has a "friendly, family atomosphere".
Rajesh is very grateful to Asha Nivas. "I started my career there as a courier boy," he reminisces. The group plans to visit Asha Nivas' projects in tsunami-affected parts of Kanyakumari district to offer employment training next month.
Dayalan and Rajesh have risen in their lives but they still keep in touch with their friends in Otteri. Their long-term plan is to start a beauticians' training academy to help youth from disadvantaged sections.