Appearance matters, it is always perceived and prevailed, especially in the world of business, what looks good sells well. Personalization not only affects the sales and brand value of an enterprise but also the perception of it towards the customers. According to statistics, more than 80% of customers like to buy products/services which makes them personalized and not just another sales number. If making a product/service look good is of such importance then what about personal wellness and beauty?
Entrepreneurs, celebrities, etc. all look dazzling and charismatic, always looking sharp, with radiating skin, perfectly neat hair, etc. Looks are a major factor, as they are dealing with big shots and names in the market and respective industries. It is rightly said that the first impression is the last, so make sure that you are always the best foot and suit forward!
In conversation with the Founder of VLCC Group, Vandana Luthra. Let’s hear more about how VLCC revolutionizes beauty and wellness, what are the products/services it offers, franchising opportunities, and the Founder’s professional journey.
Brief us about the company, what inspired you to start the company?
VLCC is one of the largest players in the beauty and wellness services industry in India, with the widest footprint of company-operated clinics. We are one of the few players in the industry to have accomplished the transition from a Wellness & Beauty services company to a Wellness & Beauty services and products company. The company operates across 310 locations in 143 cities in 12 countries across South Asia, South East Asia, the Gulf Cooperation Council region, and East Africa.
We have created an ecosystem of comprehensive services and products, including wellness programs, weight management solutions, personal care products, nutraceutical products, and skill development training that is aimed to professionalize the industry, with well-built research and development supporting the three business segments, wherein customer and service delivery insights are proactively utilized to develop efficacious products for Personal Care Products and enhanced technical and practical training curriculum for our Institutes.
The idea bloomed after understanding the demand and market for wellness and beauty products and services for men and women. For over 30 years of operations, the VLCC brand has grown to become synonymous with Wellness & Beauty in Indian households. We have been passionately working towards our mission “Transforming Lives” by curating products that serve the need of new-age India and works well in the beauty & wellness market.
What are the products or services the company focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?
VLCC operates in three business segments within the Wellness & Beauty domains:
VLCC Wellness Clinics
One of the key offerings of VLCC is its Wellness & Beauty Clinics chain. The company has a network with 191 clinics spread across 106 cities in 23 states in India. We also operate 25 Wellness & Beauty Clinics in UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Following services are available in the VLCC Wellness & Beauty Clinics:
- Wellness therapies, including immunity boosting packages and post-COVID-19 recovery programs;
- Weight management packages, delivered through nutrition management, physical activity regimen, and behavioral counseling;
- Body contouring using advanced USFDA approved appliances;
- Advanced beauty treatments and therapies for skin and hair;
- Minimally invasive aesthetic dermatology procedures;
- Laser hair reduction; and
- Regular beauty parlor services, including hairstyling, hair coloring, grooming, etc.
VLCC is the only wellness player whose Wellness and Weight Management programs carry the “Recommended by Indian Medical Association (IMA)” stamp of approval. IMA is the national organization of doctors of modern medicine, with a membership base of over 330,000 doctors.
Personal Care Products
This segment incorporates an array of Beauty & Wellness products formulated after understanding the personal care needs of a wider customer base. Under this, the company has curated a portfolio of innovative and differentiated Personal Care Products, targeting a fast-growing larger customer base who are conscious about their healthcare & wellness. A majority of this ever-evolving segment portfolio, consisting of 118 herbal / natural skincare, hair-care, and body-care products are manufactured in-house, under the VLCC Natural Sciences™ brand, by our subsidiary VLCC Personal Care Limited, at its two plants in Uttarakhand and Assam.
The company has a wide distribution network with 110,000 retail outlets in India and also a large presence in the e-commerce channel. Another VLCC Group company, in Singapore, manufactures and sells an award-winning range of premium skin-care lines – BelleWave™ (Treatment and Home-care line) and SkinMTX™ (Aesthetic Dermatology maintenance line), to salons, spas, and aesthetic dermatology clinics across South East Asia. A range of Nutraceuticals and Personal Care Products, under the brand VLCC Wellscience™, is also sold exclusively through the direct-selling route.
The Company also provides certification courses to students who would like to take up a career in the Beauty & Wellness sector, through their VLCC Institutes of Beauty & Nutrition. Through a comprehensive curriculum, the brand is creating a workforce that is not only skilled but also industry-ready.
To meet the tremendous demand for skilled personnel in the burgeoning Wellness & Beauty industry, VLCC operates 94 training academies across 67 cities in India, making it one of the largest professional training academy chains in the beauty and nutrition segment. Through these institutes, the company reiterates its mission of transforming lives by helping create employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, especially for women to enable their financial independence.
Please tell us about your team.
VLCC’s team of over 3,000 staff members across 12 countries, comprises qualified subject matter experts and skilled professionals. Every Wellness Clinic in all countries is staffed by a qualified and trained team of experts including medical doctors, nutritionists, dermatologists, cosmetologists, physiotherapists, fitness trainers, and wellness counselors, and other specialists and sales staff. This team works closely with each customer to analyze and understand their requirements to recommend the most appropriate treatments and personalize those treatments accordingly.
Over 70% of employees of our Wellness Clinics and Institutes are women. In our Wellness & Beauty services operations in South Asia, including India, all our heads of Company-operated Wellness Clinics and Institutes are women, while in the GCC Region heads of 17 out of the 18 Company-operated Wellness Clinics are women, as are the area and regional management heads. We believe this has contributed significantly to our goal of ensuring women’s empowerment.
Please brief us about your professional experience and what are the key achievements of your business journey?
Mrs. Vandana Luthra, Founder & Co-Chairperson, VLCC Group, is widely recognized as a visionary in the wellness & beauty industry and is a recipient of the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honor, for her contribution to Trade & Industry.
After a professional course from a leading institute of its time in New Delhi, India, I acquired further domain knowledge in beauty care, fitness, food & nutrition, and skincare from Germany, the UK, and France. I made my entrepreneurial debut in 1989 by opening the first VLCC Wellness & Beauty services clinic in New Delhi, which seamlessly married dietary modification and exercise regimen-based weight management programs with cutting-edge skin and hair treatments.
This was at the time when the Indian Wellness & Beauty industry was still nascent and the concept of combining wellness and beauty as an approach to holistic wellbeing was a completely new paradigm and which was primarily initiated by me. Today, VLCC is widely recognized for its comprehensive portfolio of Wellness & Beauty services and products and also enjoys a high level of consumer trust. The VLCC Group’s operations currently span 310 locations in 143 cities and 12 countries including India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Singapore, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and Kenya, with a staff strength of over 3,000 professionals.
I have worked meticulously to help the Wellness & Beauty industry be recognized as an organized sector industry having quality standards, benchmarked services, and a focus on customer satisfaction, backed by cutting-edge technology and applications. My endeavors have been towards placing the fitness and beauty industry at par with those of the most advanced countries internationally.
I am also a keen educationist and social worker. I spend considerable time with youth, who wish to make their careers in the ever-expanding Wellness & Beauty industry. It was my foresight that led to the setting up of the VLCC Institute of Beauty & Nutrition, which currently operates 94 campuses in India and imparts entry-level as well as skill enhancement vocational training to thousands of students annually.
Recognizing my pioneering initiatives of skill development in the field of Wellness & Beauty domain, I was appointed in 2014 to 2020 as the first Chairperson of the government-backed, industry-led Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council which has been tasked by the Government of India to create and evolve a nurturing ecosystem for all skills-related training in the Indian beauty and wellness arena.
As a Member of the Steering Committee of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana(translation: Prime Minister’s Skill Development Scheme), a US$ 1.9 billion initiative of the Government of India for recognition and standardization of skills, I have been closely associated with the Skill India Mission.
I was featured in Fortune magazine’s listings of “50 Most Powerful Women in Business in India” from 2011 to 2017 as well as in Forbes magazine’s 2016 list of “50 Asia Power Women” and the Femina magazine’s “Power List 2020”. I was also conferred the ‘Haryana Gaurav Samman’ by the Government of Haryana (India) at its Global NRI Summit in 2017 for a contribution towards the wellness and beauty industry globally.
Any client experience you would like to highlight?
We estimate that in the last 5 years VLCC would have catered to over 10 million customers (including repeat customers). Every client for us is special, so to pick out a specific customer experience from among millions would not be fair. We have always had a strong focus on the delivery of service and customer engagement, treating each customer as an individual, and tailoring customized wellness & beauty programs to meet their specific. It is gratifying to see that a majority of our annual sales come from repeat customers, e.g., in Fiscal 2021 this figure stood at 60.5%.