Speaking exclusively to Beaute Espace, DP Sharma (Director of L’Oréal Professional Products Division) — a leader who continues to take the reins on countless business innovations by the global brand in India — details L’Oréal Professionnel’s efforts and goals for various aspects of the business including the ARTH Academies and post-COVID preparations to boost retail & training.
Training & Education
Given the skill opportunity we have in India, there’s a lot we can do in education at different levels. At the top, we have the L’Oréal ARTH Academy with 15 partners. There are plans for its expansion in the future as we get the most qualitative outcome from ARTH. Apart from this, we also have 47 education centres and train about 3.5 lakh hairdressers and beauticians in a year. The next level, the digitisation of education, is a big opportunity for us — we have more than 170 hairdressers registered on the L’Oréal Learn N Connect app, where we have a six-month course to a half-day express course.
We can scale up digital education, thanks to the government initiatives in the beauty and wellness sector, wherein we will be partnering with certain centres of excellence that have influence over their regional academies. So, we have different academies and methods to integrate students at different strata. In the next few years, we hope to engage millions of hairdressers.
Vocal About Local
Yes, L’Oréal is a multinational company; no doubt about that. But in the Indian context, we have a full ecosystem with the country. We have two manufacturing units, two research centres, and innovation centres operating in India. 90% of all the products we sell in the country are manufactured here and we also export it to nine countries. We also have a massive network of people — more than 5000 people are directly and indirectly employed by L’Oréal India. Most of the brand’s developments are done considering the Indian skin and hair types. So, we are relevant locally and continue to invest in the country. We also continue to train; the core essence of our skilling programs is very Indian.
Future Forward For The Industry
Right now, there is probably no one on this planet who hasn’t been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic — at least economically. The industry has seen a strong double-digit growth in all the decades we have been a part of it. The last two decades, especially, have been rocketing in terms of growth; customer awareness and demand for beauty were always increasing and well-connected. We do expect this trajectory to continue. There will always be a pause, which is right now but just a phase we are going through. In short to mid-term, the industry is going to bounce back because beauty is a necessity today.
Coping With COVID
Retail is one of the key aspects — it is a sizable contribution for some salon chains but I think the scope is much more. An initiative we have taken now is the home delivery of products. It is the new normal in this time of crisis and I don’t think it is going to be temporary as we have already tasted success. More than 10000 people have been trained to deliver products at home; we have integrated with different partners and everything is in place. So, this initiative is going to go a long way in normal circumstances as well.
Yes, we need to reinvent the business; we have to change with time. At the same time, I also want the industry to understand that we have to come together to reinvent the confidence. Once that’s done, we’ll start seeing the double-digit growth as well. Industry partners need to take the initiative, reach out to the consumers, and convince them personally.
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