MUMBAI: Jean-Claude Biguine's first memory of a parlour is when his mother took him for a haircut, when he was around 14 and his hair had reached shoulder length.
The young boy was spellbound. He fell in love with the 'ceremony' as he calls it.
From wearing the kimono to the spray to the smell, everything — he decided then and there, he wanted to be a part of that world.
Today, at 50, Biguine runs a business worth close to $150 million (about Rs 1,250 crore) with about 350 salons in 17 countries, and he considers India to be more important a market than even the US.
He plans to have 40-50 Jean-Claude Biguine, or JCB, salons in the country over the next 4-5 years. "Now that the brand has been well established in the locations that we are in, we canspread the brand," Biguine told ET.
JCB, one of the rare international salons to have established in the country, has more than 30,000 people visiting its 10 salons in a month, spending about $60 (Rs 3,700) each. "I do not want JCB to be for the elite, which is what I feel it is right now, but to take it to the masses, we need to go to tier-2 and to cheaper retail locations," Biguine says. "We must be more accessible to all. Currently there is a huge divide in India between the rich and the poor, but our strategy is to be in locations which address both worlds, and the spending power is on the rise."
A host of international salon brands including Clarins, L'Occitane, Rene Furterer, Jacques Dessange and Franck Provost, have tried to tap into India's Rs 7,000 crore (Ficci figures) organised salon market in the last decade, but few have survived.