“The biggest success for any entrepreneur is innovation and in the world of beauty, innovation is powerful.” So said Mangaluru's very own premier 'Esthetician & Cosmetologist' Kent Meera when I caught up with her recently to talk about this discreet new world. Nobody knows this world better than her, for it was Kent Meera who introduced the people of Mangaluru to a whole new world of possibilities in self-presentation 38 years ago. At that time, the term "beauty parlour" itself was unheard of, and began what today can be called a beautiful revolution! Today the business of beauty has transformed itself from being a skill to an art from a 'parlour' to a salon.
Kent Meera is the founder of Kent Chrimers Beauty Salon, Clinic, Institute & Spa, a beauty treatment center based in Mangaluru, Karnataka. Known for treatments she calls “Healing from within,” Kent Meera’s proprietary medicinal creams are self-prepared keeping in mind the weather, skin conditions and skin type. Her treatment emphasizes the use of natural, organic ingredients for bodily health.
In an exclusive tete-a-tete with Newskarnataka, Kent Meera revealed the origins of her entrepreneurial endeavor which made her one of the pioneers of the natural beauty way in Mangaluru, and still the premier one. Kent Meera explained how she use to love dolling herself and everyone around her from a very young age. After attending beauty school, she heard stories of the damaging effects of beauty products using chemical ingredients and this firmed up her belief in the merits of natural and medicinal beauty products.
She began by making each product by hand in her kitchen on a small scale to test the product and introduced new therapies in Mangaluru. Her business boomed within a short span of time, as news of the treatment's results spread - The effects of her treatments were instant and long-lasting. She has even introduced skin treatments like Skin Lift, Anti-Wrinkle, Anti-Pigmentation, all of which are without any injection or botox. Her treatment also includes natural skin whitening, anti-acne, 100 % Pure 24 Karat Gold Therapy, oxygen treatment and wart treatment.
“There is a myth created that my treatments are expensive; they're not. My treatments are meant for the masses and are affordable”, Kent Meera states. Instead of paying for advertising, Meera notes how her clients provide referrals to her. "My work speaks for itself and the results are what brings me more clients through word of mouth", says Kent Meera. Attending international conferences and beauty classes has also given her work a lot of attention outside India and she has an international clientele in her portfolio testifying to her excellent treatment.
Kent Chrimers has been one of the first few salons in India providing advanced beauty techniques like airbrush makeup, keratin treatment for hair and oxygen treatments. Meera has been passionate, a go-getter and has always stayed ahead of the game. She says, "People are now more aware of their looks and what application is being used. This is progress compared to how it was 38-years-ago when I started. However, I cannot stress enough on the importance of avoiding those hard chemicals applied on the skin. Bleach and facial kits in the market are all filled with chemicals as they need to have a longer shelf life. The skin receives a slow poison which over the years, results in earlier pigmentation, wrinkles, dark spots etc. As a Beauty Esthetician and Cosmetologist, my duty to the society is to heal and elevate beauty from within. I believe I am helping Mangaloreans have a clear and healthy skin and hair forever," she says.
Today the beauty business is booming. Speaking about today's increasingly crowded beauty business, Kent Meera said, "It feels great that now there is an awareness and people understand how important it is to have a healthy clear skin and glossy shiny hair. It takes courage to take on the big guns of the beauty industry. But for several women, a bit of bravado and great ideas are paying off. Earlier we had to explain the benefits of our treatments. But now things have changed. People understand the treatments which make our job a lot easier."
Today every street seems to have one Salon. Even big names have entered the local market. When asked whether it has affected her business or constitutes a healthy competition, she said, "Now we find a lot of Salons. Regarding liability, I would not answer but would only say when a treatment is done, it should be done to treat and not to cover. For example, why would I go to a Salon to get a facial done when I can go to the market and buy the same products? The result will be similar and saves me a lot of money. At Kent's Chrimers, we have custom-made products ensuring each skin is treated based on the skin condition. Every skin is different and should be treated differently. We want to make sure our clients' skin is treated rather than just layer it with additional chemical products which damage the skin even more by giving just a temporary glow. The clients who have understood and noticed skin results in our treatments never leave us. In every profession there is competition and I view it the healthy way."
It is said success needs both skill and business sense. Her passion towards her work is her mantra for success. "I have never considered my beauty clinic as a business. I am very passionate about my work and that reflects in my treatments. I constantly update myself with the latest beauty products and techniques. There is no mantra for success. You have to work hard and be passionate."
A good hair stylist, facialist, pedicurist is worth her weight in gold. She has been an inspiration to many women in the city and her Salon has been rated one of the best for which she credits her clients. "It feels great when your hard work is appreciated," she added.
Kent Chrimers is often visited by ambassadors, ministers and actors for treatments. "They try to take a few hours off from the hustle bustle of their busy lives, to relax and be rejuvenated with the treatments I offer them."
Beauty training too is in demand but hugely expensive too. Young women are interested in becoming makeup artists, nail art technicians, massage therapists, hair stylists and beauticians. Kent Meera has an institute offering certified courses for every treatment. "We also offer a one-day self-grooming and makeup/hairstyle classes. Kent's Chrimers Training Centre offers a wide range of beauty courses including advanced aesthetic treatment, hardware cosmetology, waxing procedures, essential manicure and pedicure, training as well as specialized facial massage treatments. At our beauty institute, we offer the above training with a time period of one week to six months. Other than that, we have a separate nail studio and hair club."
Women get trained under government schemes and set up Salons of their own, but they are ill-equipped which is bad for business, she opines. The training they receive is basic and is not practical, she feels. "The training programmes like these are always outdated. It surely gives you a footstep into the beauty world but you will never be updated with the current trends and techniques. It surely worked in the early years but with the current intensity of competition, you need to stand out. The first step of all is understanding 'hygiene' which sadly, not many institutes and programmes imbibe their students with. A lack of qualified training and technology will hold them back. It is not a good sign for growth," she says.
Today a customer or a client is well-informed about treatment options and wants skilled Salon staff. Talking about her clients, she said, "I have clients of all age categories. From the teens to the 80s. Many of my older clients have grown with me. Clients these days are very demanding and they look for the best results and best service which I never compromise on. Most of my clients understand the new trends and treatments in the market. My clients inspire me to continue my passion. They energize me, motivate me to have additions to beauty and treatment services. All my staffs are well trained with my own techniques and methods to suit my clients' requirements."
Beauty Salon training has transformed women into self-confident, earning and empowered individuals. "Beauty builds confidence and confidence amplifies beauty. Every woman should understand that beauty starts by being happy and confident from within. We just play a simple role in transforming every girl into a classy and elegant lady.
When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you look even better. And then you can do anything, says Kent Meera who can make you both look and feel good - She has always been a cut above the rest.