With an expertise in dermatology solutions and a fearless attitude, Vandana Luthra has shaken up the industry with her renowned aesthetic treatments. The beauty entrepreneur is the genius behind VLCC and BelleWave.
If you have been following the beauty industry success story that is BelleWave’s rise from under-the-radar status to having over 600 salons offering their treatments, then you already know this professional beauty salon. Read on for Vandana Luthra’s story — the genesis of her idea, how her work has impacted the aesthetics industry, and her future plans for BelleWave.
1. Have you always been passionate about the beauty industry?
I have always been passionate about making a difference in other people’s lives. That is when the idea of VLCC came to my mind. The woman, whom I observed and got inspiration from, was my mother. She was a very health-conscious person and regular yoga practitioner. Her attention to diet and nutrition actually sowed the seeds of my interest in the beauty and wellness field. It was then that I got the idea of adding beauty to it and focus on a more holistic approach.
2. As an entrepreneur, what are some of your personal secrets to success which you live by?
As a woman entrepreneur, I faced a lot of challenges while trying to establish a foothold in the largely unorganised and fragmented beauty and wellness industry, three decades ago. From arranging for finance to trying to convince people about my business model, I experienced it all. It was then I understood that this was not going to be an easy journey, but that only strengthened my resolve and made me more determined to see my dreams materialise. So, I would say conviction in my idea, determination and unwavering focus were my keys to unlocking the doorway to success.
3. How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
When I started out my entrepreneurial journey, I was determined to succeed. However, that success has come in the form of the kind of scale that we have today, was not what I expected! It is a matter of great satisfaction and pride for me that what started off as a stand-alone beauty and wellness centre in a basement of an upscale residential colony in New Delhi is today a global operation spanning 16 countries, with a customer base of over 5 million and an employee base of over 4,500 people from over 30 nationalities. What is equally gratifying is that over 70% of the staff in the VLCC Group is female.
4. What is the current trend in the beauty industry and where do you see it going?
The beauty and wellness industry is growing at a robust rate and experiencing a lot of new trends. Today, people are looking to adopt a holistic approach towards beauty and wellness, and this is driving innovations in the industry. Another important trend currently is the expansion of beauty and wellness services and products across gender, with men becoming conscious of their looks and wellbeing. Franchising and on-line have further created a new world of possibilities and convenience for the customers.
The concept of beauty and wellness in constantly evolving, and I believe that these trends are going to pave the way the industry will unfold in the coming years.
5. How has your work in beauty impacted the aesthetics business/industry in India and the other countries you have expanded to?
Aesthetic treatments are an integral part of VLCC and a high-growth segment in the larger beauty and wellness domain. VLCC’s expertise lies in the area of non-invasive and minimally invasive aesthetic dermatology solutions, which we offer through over 250 VLCC Beauty & Wellness centres across South East Asia, South Asia, the GCC countries and East Africa. In each of these centres, the services are either by a dermatologist or cosmetologist or under the direct supervision of one. It would possibly not be out of place to say that VLCC has been a pioneer in making quality aesthetic dermatology solutions in South Asia far more accessible and affordable for customers.
6. What are your future plans for growth of BelleWave™?
BelleWave™ is a professional beauty salon brand that combines the latest Swiss technology and botanical ingredients to produce highly efficacious treatment lines for in-salon services as well as skin-care, body-care and food supplements for home use. These products are made in Switzerland and in our cGMP certified manufacturing facility in Singapore. Over 600 salons across South East Asia, South Asia and the Middle East currently offer BelleWave™ treatments. We expect to expand this reach three-fold in the next two years, not just through a greater penetration in markets where we are already present but all through expanding our reach to new markets across Asia, Africa and Europe. Additionally, given the growing demand, we also plan to soon start making these lines in our two plants in India.
7. You have done amazing work for the beauty industry and for reaching and encouraging women. What do you say to those who are struggling with self-esteem?
I would urge them to never lose hope. There might be hurdles and struggle along the journey but one has to stay focused and determined. Always look for motivation from within and never give up.
8. What is your philosophy when it comes to beauty? What do you think is a common misconception about beauty and beautification?
While beauty comes from within, beautification is just a way to enhance the same beauty. I believe that when people imbibe wellness and beauty, it spreads happiness in their lives and those around them. At VLCC, the intent has always been to make people look good and feel good, and make beauty and wellness a holistic concept.
9. What is your favourite item/treatment from BelleWave™ and why?
Stem-Cellogist TX & WhiteWave Neurogist are my favourite treatments. In addition to giving much-needed nourishment, these treatments leave my skin completely hydrated and glowing for days.
I also really enjoy the results of the newly launched GlycaRV Collagene range that reverses skin ageing caused by glycation – a collagen and elastin-depleting process triggered by eating sugary food. This solution offers in-cabin and home care with super active pure plant stem-cells and caviar as its key ingredients. The home care comes in a duo pack of Timeless Elixir & Timeless Essence, while in-cabin treatment offers a 5-step 90-minute pampering session that has been showing tremendous results, and we see an increasingly positive response from our salon partners.
Our skin gets tired and dull from our eating habits and hectic lifestyle, so this treatment sends us walking out with a more radiant and youthful complexion. I simply love it.
10. What are your five beauty essentials? And what makes them so amazing?
It is important to take care of the skin on a regular basis. I use a good cleanser and moisturizer to help my skin retain its natural moisture. Besides this, I also make sure to use sunscreen every day for sun protection and remove makeup before going to bed.
11. Please complete the sentence, “I feel most beautiful when/in….”
I feel most beautiful when I am happy, and I am happy when I am confident, and I am confident when I feel beautiful inside out!
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