Two siblings from Srinagar, Mehwish and Shahnaaz Shafi, are among the first Kashmiri entrepreneurs to own a well-known chain of salons in Kashmir. The sister team obtained the franchise for the Kashmir location of the Indian grooming company "Geetanjali Salon" this year.
The siblings think social media has helped Kashmir's grooming business reach its full potential because more people are willing to spend money on their appearance. They said that youthful business owners had discovered the tremendous commercial potential in the same.
“Social media has acted as a catalyst and boosted the salon industry in Kashmir. If you ask me how I would simply say that people get information about new trends and new beauty products by following social media content," Mehwish said.
"Be it, brides and grooms, if you ask them what inspired them to go to a particular grooming outlet, they will say that they saw such and such thing on their social media pages. Social media has given free service to advertise your outlet online. Be it hairdressers, makeup artists, or salon owners, they have used social media to a great extent to expand their business,” Mehwish said. While talking about their journey of bringing Geetanjali to Kashmir they said that from a very young age they were very fond of grooming themselves and others for the occasion. They said that they loved applying makeup on friends and family for social occasions and were very well versed in the industry and products.
“We thought why not bring this well-established chain to Kashmir. Last year we started the journey to bring Geetanjali to Kashmir. After finishing the formalities to get the franchise, we went on to do the market research. It was a long journey where we started by taking baby steps and learning on the way. Finally earlier this year we opened our first salon in Jawaharnagar Srinagar,” Mehwish said. She said that Kashmir has already a good presence of salons and the competition is also good. She said that through their outlet they wanted to give world-class services which will simply set them apart from others.
“Why would a customer choose us if they are getting the same service everywhere? We tried to give world-class service and that too at affordable prices. Another thing that sets us apart is that every professional that is working with us is trained in this profession from outside the valley. There are experts for each kind of makeover,” Mehwish added. She said that it took them months to ensure that all the professionals, equipment, location, and other aspect are top-notch.
“Another important thing is that there are many fake products in the market which are being passed as the original. As our products are bought directly from the companies under Geetanjali's supervision, that ensures that we have top-notch products. People come to us for their special occasions and they want value for their money. We are here to give the same,” she said. The duo said that they are trying their best to give top-notch service to brides, grooms, and other people on their special occasions. They said that from facial service, hair, makeup, and other things, they are here to provide the best services. They said that in the journey, they were very lucky to have the support of the franchise owners, locals of Kashmir, their friends, and their family. Mehwish said that every friend and family member helped them through suggestions and other ways.
The duo says that they did a well-researched market survey to ensure that they will understand the customers and give them services to their expectations. The duo said that although they were in academics they took the step to invest in the grooming industry because they saw potential.
The two began with an idea, and as of today, they employ around 30 people from Kashmir and other countries. They claimed that if someone tried to enter the corporate world, they could become employment providers. According to them, Kashmir's fashion, beauty, and grooming industries are expanding, and now is the ideal time for young businesspeople to invest there and seize any opportunities that arise.