After completing training on hairdressing and beauty works from Mumbai, Laxmee Thakur returned to Nepal with an aim to do something here itself, instead of working in the Indian city.
When most salons in Nepal were operating from roadside spaces, he came up with an idea of starting a premium beauty salon in Thamel. He had realized the need gap in the market for high class of people, who wanted service from standard spaces. He took a small room of barely 300 sq ft. in rent, and designed interior of the beauty studio a unique way using bamboo furniture, making the visitors to feel the difference so that he could charge a premium price for his services. The price of services then used to start from around 150, way higher than normally charged by a normal hairdresser.
He had started the business with an initial investment of 1 lakh rupees. And, the majority of his clients would be tourists. He used to be at work from early in the morning to around 11 in the night. But, it was seasonal and used to run on touristic season only. After working for few years from Thamel, and realizing the need to open a new outlet, he went to open a branch of the salon in Kundalini Club in Maharajgunj. He had opened the outlet there in the club after realizing the need gap in the area.
But, it was pretty challenging in the beginning. He had to wait all day long to get a client, and the frequency was just 1-2 in the beginning. To get a client, he used to approach guests in the club, convey information about the beauty studio in the receptionist of the club. It was too risky for him to go to that place as there was no market of hair saloon till then. However, he took the challenge and created a new market.
When the club was closed down after few years, he shifted it to BhatBhateni, Maharajgung. He simply transferred his clients to the new location. After successfully running it for few years, he opened a new outlet of the salon in Koteshwor branch of the supermarket. With success of the branch, he recently opened another outlet in BhatBhateni Supermarket, Pulchowk. “We started outlets in these different locations to provide service to the clients in their own nearby locations. But, opening every new outlets was bit risky, and we asked ourselves if we can get any clients from the area,” he said to Glocal Khabar.
Sharing why he never eyed the roadside hair-dressing kiosks, he said, “I never wanted to be providing service in that way. I just wanted to give quality service, at a standard service.”
Personalities ranging from the renowned businessman Binod Chaudhary to television personality Vijay Kumar, and from actor Saugat Malla to Namrata Shrestha have taken service from his beauty studio.
He had started the business with just 3 staffs, but around 50 stylists are currently working under the company.
In the last 17 years of operation of Laxmee Hair and Beauty Studio, many other market players have come, but Laxmee Thakur is happy to be the market leader, and being sought-after by everyone.
He simply created a brand out of Laxmee Hair Salon and Beauty Studio. He also has also worked as the director of hair-stylist for many Nepali movies.
Having started 3 outlets already, he has now planned to give franchise of the company for opening branches in different cities of Nepal. He is sure that it is going to happen within a very short span of time.
He says, customer satisfaction is all that he focuses on. “We do provide hair wash after every cuts, and provide service in such a way that even those working people and office goers can come for haircut in lunch breaks,” says Laxmee. “When our clients are returning after taking service ours, we want to make them feel that they are taking a service of Rs.2000 rupees by paying Rs.1000,” he adds.
Sharing about the challenges in the hairdressing business, he says getting quality hair-stylists is still hard in Nepal. “So, we are currently working on to start working on to start ‘Laxmee Professional Hair and Beauty Academy’ soon, and conduct trainings to those interested to become hair stylists,” he shares to Glocal Khabar.
The journey to the present position was not that easy for him. There were many highs and lows. After opening an outlet in Kundalini, he had to run to catch a bus to Maharajgung from Thamel to reach the club, if a new client came there for haircut. “In case a client came in Thamel branch, I had to run in a similar fashion to Thamel, as I couldn’t miss a single client,” he says. Laxmee had to go through such hectic times when he couldn’t afford to buy a motorbike. But, everything has changed now in the way he works. He now works from lavish spaces in the three branches of the beauty studio and all his team members look after the operation of these outlets.
It was his keen interest and passion in hair styling that made him traverse such a long journey in the sector that will continue for many more years to come.
To all those who want to start a new business, he wants them to ask themselves if they are really passionate and interested in what they have planned. “Work will be fun, and journey won’t be that tough if you’re really keen interested in your work. It would instead be your passion, making you put your heart into it,” he shares.
Startups for a better Nepal!
Presentation: Basanta Kumar Dhakal