Jawed Habib is one of the most well known hair dressers and hair stylists in India, with 550 unisex salons and a $30 million dollar empire.
Jawed Habib Hair and Beauty Ltd, its founder says, is the 'Tesco' of hairdressing. Where hairdressing can often be seen as an elite city pastime, Habib created affordable salons targeting even provincial customers in second-tier Indian towns - though his salons are in big cities too.
Habib is innovating in an industry where at village level you generally find cutters and barbers out in the open air working with a hand mirror and a bowl of water. And maybe one stool.
Jawed Habib’s family has hairdressing pedigree; his grandfather was the personal barber for India’s last Viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten, and its first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
Habib is the face of his branding, but it is all carefully thought out. I explored it with him. First off, I wanted to know how he decided what his brand stands for.
"During my journey with this profession, I visited many cities and small towns where I conducted seminars. Many participants learnt from such seminars and I too learnt a lot. I realised that the hair and beauty industry in India is very disorganised, which actually is hampering it’s growth. It deserves to grow. So I decided to play a role in organising this hair and beauty sector by providing professional hair and beauty services to people by opening high quality and affordable hair and beauty salons and academies all over India. This was the decision I took 20 years ago for my brand, and I worked hard for it."
Drilling down, I asked Habib to define his brand.
"Our brand, Jawed Habib Hair & beauty Ltd., stands for affordable and high-quality hair and beauty services. We believe in delivering professional services in a very affordable price range, for which we have created different brands suiting different customers. This has worked well for us and for our customer so far."
So how does Habib get his message across to people?
"I have been extensively travelling for the business for many years now. I even go abroad for work. I conduct hair workshops, seminars, classroom training, business talks, conferences, do TV interviews, press conferences and much more. I have written regular articles for many prestigious publications, news dailies, social media etc. I also have written five books on hair. Through this effort I have been constantly in touch with people. My work spreads the message across faster than anything!
"In addition to the salons, we run 50 academies successfully across the nation. We have five functional brands under our company and are soon launching a few more. All this is because of sending our message across to the people. Nothing helps your brand more than consistent good service to customers for branding. This is how we got to where we are."
Habib does hair makeover shows for many national Indian TV channels. He has appeared on one show, called "Subha Savera" for the national TV channel, Doordarshan, for roughly three continuous years.
He is also a judge on TV business shows, appearing on 'Lufthansa Runway to Success' in 2015. Cross-branding also helps his work, he says: "I endorsed the brand Sunsilk of Unilever India as their brand ambassador from 2000-2009."
He’s not above attracting attention through creating records, either.
"I did 410 haircuts non-stop in 24 hrs and got myself listed myself in the Limca book of records in 1997. I was also the official hair stylist for the Miss India event in the year 2003.
"I recently did Professional Beauty India, a very prominent and successful hair and beauty event in India and Dubai, 2015-2016. Most importantly I have done a serious of 55 educational CDs on hair which has really helped the true branding for the company."
Habib says that his branding is about spreading education to the people about hair. "We educate our stylists and they educate their customers, which helps all of us. This brings quality to the work and satisfaction in the customers. It ultimately spreads the message of best in class service delivery at our salons. This good branding strategy is working for us. Education for me is the best branding policy in the world!"
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