STARTUP NAME: KT Professional (Ccigmaa Lifestyle Pvt Ltd)
DOMAIN: Haircare Products
FOUNDER: Dhruv Sayani
KT Professional has a wide range of products for professional salon use in India. From a never seen before Hair Repair Product line with over 5 variants of Hair Treatment for all kinds of Indian Hair to a crafted line to Hair Spas to solve all needs of damage, repair and Hair growth. KT Professional has been rapidly increasing its footprint in India as salons understand that the product is designed to suit Indian Hair with results that last longer.
KT Professional has been pioneering the cause of Eco-Friendly products for a long time now and introduced Hair Care products that are 100% Vegan, Not tested on Animals, Free from Harsh Sulfates and Chemicals as well as Gluten Free. This is a unique combination with products that have unique blends of coconut water, coconut milk, avocado, peppermint, citrus as well as hard water solution-based products for hair management. They do excessive R& D and testing, both in India & the USA by partners before they launch any variant.
KT Professional is founded by Dhruv Sayani, a third-generation businessman in the field of personal care products, born & raised in Mumbai and educated in Finance & Accounting from King’s College London. Sayani was keen to add value to the professional division in hair care through products that are unique, safe, natural, high quality and best value for both in-salon professional service use as well as retail. Sayani’s family business is 50 years old in manufacturing and exporting of hair care products, accessories and tools to over 75 countries in the world in the past 26 years.
Dhruv says, “Our motto is to go for the straight hair look with Protein infusion & to go vegan with a vegan aftercare hair management product range.”
The Cofounder and crew had a discussion with Dhruv Sayani; here is the summary of the discussion.
The Product Idea?
At KT Professional we have always believed in adding value to our product profile with our 50 years of experience in understanding Hair and challenges faced in manageability in the current scenario where excessive chemicals are being applied on Hair at home and even at salons. It is now the era of customization as clients no longer want to buy or use generic products for specific needs with experience in personal care. We understood that hair type in India changes every 100 km, and we need to solve this need across the length & breadth of India with specific products for hair challenge.
How did this idea strike you?
The modern consumer does a lot of research before buying any products, especially when it comes to Hair Care and other beauty products. They are aware of the ingredients that are used and are always looking out for brands that are safe and fulfil their needs at an affordable rate. We at KT Professional identified these concerns and various challenges faced by consumers daily and introduced an extensive range of Hair Care products that give the consumers an immediate result, are totally natural and safe for all types of hair at an affordable price point from Rs 570 – Rs 690 for 250 ml of Shampoo and conditioner.
What is the problem you are solving for your users?
India is a diverse country with varying climates, and numerous hair types and hard water is common in a lot of regions. Also, a major concern is growing pollution and products with harmful chemicals that gradually hamper the health of the hair. We focused on these issues and introduced various Shampoos and Conditioners under our KT Professional and KT Advanced Haircare brands that solve the decade-old problem of Hard Water, are totally Natural, Free from Harmful Chemicals and highly effective in repairing damaged hair due to pollution and chemicals while adding moisture into the scalp.
The journey so far (When you launched, how is the traction so far?)
It’s been a great journey so far in this ever-changing market as talking specifically of our Salon Industry, in the last few years with the help of Social Media, apps and other technology-driven media, we are trying to bring in great convenience to customers. Through E-Commerce apps, consumers are being tapped to use different products which are sold online only, but for professional driven products, there is still a restriction in reaching out to a consumer and bringing them to a salon and we still believe in constantly evolving with current market trends to serve our clients better.
What is the biggest challenge you faced as an entrepreneur while establishing your startup?
The biggest challenge for every entrepreneur, in the beginning, is competition as almost every market is overcrowded and more and more startups keep joining the fray each day with Ccigmaa Lifestyle Pvt Ltd being only 3 years old we are happy to share that we are present in India by reaching out to salons and demonstrating our products to them.
How did you overcome it?
Innovation was key, and at KT Professional, we focused on successfully implementing new ideas and introducing new and improved products to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and keeping our eyes on the constantly changing landscape in the beauty industry. We are now present in 27 states, 86 cities and in over 8500 salons.
What is the biggest learning so far in your entrepreneurial journey?
The biggest learning so far is that the consumer pattern and behaviour changes faster than before and the requirements are increasing with global awareness as well as with more exposure to western concepts. We as a company identified the gap of introducing western concepts to suit the Indian mindset as well as offer a unique and innovative product to suit not only millennials as well as the experienced customer aged between 40-60 who knows what they are going through in terms of their hair challenge and make an informed decision while purchasing a product.
Who is your mentor/role model? What’s the best lesson you learnt from them?
My role model is in every 1.35 billion Indians who teaches me something new when we research on them, on their habits, cultures, needs and ideologies. The best lesson that I have learned is from the Unilever model of working, which makes every member of the company and every consumer of Unilever products as a part of the Unilever family.
What’s your revenue model?
Our revenue model is two-fold. One through distribution across 100 distributor points Pan India, who supplies our product to over 8500 salons across 27 states. This is our B2B revenue model for our professional products meant for salon use only and our second revenue model is B2C for our vegan retail product and home care range sold online directly to consumers as well as to beauty stores for direct consumer purchase.
What are your future plans with your venture?
My future plans are to make KT Professional a household name for every consumer both in salons and at home who can get associated with Ccigmaa Lifestyle Pvt Ltd in some form through our hair spas, hair oils, homecare and in-salon professional services. We wish to reach over 20000 salons in 2020 and increase the number of cities to over 100 and strengthen our distributor to over 150 .This year with our new range of eye management and skin management which will be added alongside our existing range.
Have you raised funding before? If yes, how much and from whom?
No, we have not raised funding before as the camp has been in the green from day one, but yes expansions are taking time due to slower cash flows sometimes and the fluctuating GDP in the Indian Economy at the moment.
Are you looking for raising more funds? If yes, how much?
We are happy to explore private equity for further expansion of the brand at a faster pace and implement the vision which is in the pipeline with added input through involved PE options. We would also be happy to explore collaborations with MNCs in similar sectors for mutual growth and benefits.
What will the funds be utilized for?
Any collaboration with MNCs will help our company expand its consumer base and reach faster and more effectively and with any interesting PE opportunity the company can scale up its SKU’s as well as innovative price-friendly solutions in a shorter span of time.
Who are your competitors?
We are not replicating any one’s business model nor are we serving products that are available in other brands at the kind of price points that we sell at as well as the mediums through which we sell and the strategy and perspective with which we sell.
How are you planning to outpace your competitors?
In terms of outpacing, I again emphasize that we have created this journey in less than 3 years – with the vision to give Indian consumers a product that is made with passion, consumer sensibility as well as innovation. To outpace any other, we only focus on improving our system processes as well as customer care to get direct feedback and regularly upgrade for a stronger market presence.
What’s your tip for newbie entrepreneur?
All I would advise new entrepreneurs is to be passionate and to believe in their vision with patience and dedication if they wish to achieve what they have set out to do.
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