Celebrity hairstylist Adhuna Bhabani on her journey with BBlunt and hair tips for the monsoon
Not everybody has a clear vision about what they want to do but Adhuna Bhabani, who was born and brought up in the UK, knew that she wanted to be a hairdresser even as a young girl. In fact, she was barely 17 when she won the under-21 national junior hairstyling championship. Over the years, her passion turned into a business that has spread its roots in the form of salons in various cities, an educational institution each in Bombay and Bangalore, and their own product range. As Bhabani launches 28th BBlunt salon in Chandivali, Indulge sat with her to know her journey from pursuing a passion to running a business for over two decades and what’s next for BBlunt. Excerpts:
Q: It has been over two decades. How has the journey been so far?
Adhuna Bhabani: We started with a very small family kind of business. Over the years, we have grown into 28 salons, we have two academies focusing very heavily on education and we launched our own range of products, which was a big milestone for us. To be able to bring our brand into every household is an ambition of ours and hence opening up as wide as we can in Mumbai and in other cities around the country.
Q: You are somebody who was always passionate about being a hairdresser and business happened accidentally. How do you find the transition from pursuing a passion to running a business?
AB: The passion is still very much alive. Without that passion and drive, it would have become impossible to run something for so long. Business in India is extremely challenging and my training and background have been very westernised. So, I had to adapt quite a lot. But, the transition from pursuing a passion to running a business feels like a natural progression. Those people whose work I have admired in life have done amazingly well in their art and craft as well as in their business be it Vidal Sassoon, Anthony Mascolo or Angelo Seminara. I have also acquired good business acumen on the way. Looking back, I sometimes wish that I had studied business but I didn’t and on the way, we met people like our CEO Spoorthy Shetty. I have also learnt that it is really good to hire people who have different strengths and qualities than you because nobody ever works as an individual, it is about a team. The work that I do is definitely about a team pulled in together.
Q: How challenging was it to launch BBlunt hair products?
AB: It has been a dream of our to have our own product range but we couldn't have done it on our own. We partnered with Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL), who have over 50 years of experience in FMCG products. They have fantastic research and development team with whom we worked very closely for about three years while developing the products.
Q: How did BBlunt venture into education?
AB: We have always been in education. I worked as an educator in the UK and teaching is a big passion of mine, I really enjoy the process of sharing and you yourself learn so much in the process. So, teaching has been in the DNA of BBLunt and our academic courses feature a rigorous foundation course that comprises of over 40 discipline in hairdressing and after the academy, our students come to our salon and go through perfecting what they learnt at the academy before we set them free. Strangely, a lot of salons hire people who have studied in our academy.
Q: Curls are very much in vogue? Does BBlunt work a lot with them?
AB: Curls are a passion of ours. We love working with curly hair actually. I have got a twin sister who has got curly hair, my partner Avan Contractor has very curly hair and she is always very intrigued to work on curly hair. One of the product HD Curl is specially designed for curly hair.
Q: Here is a seasonal question for you - please share your monsoon hair tips for our readers.
AB: (laughs) I am asked this question every year. There are a few things that you must do:
1. Whether it is monsoon or not, a great haircut is a must. Because if you don’t have a good shape in your hair then it is never going to look good, irrespective of what products you use.
2. A product that helps to control the climate. My strong recommendation from our BBlunt range is Anti-Frizz Leave-in-cream and it is amazing for all hair types, it is a wash and go kind of product.
3. For those who have coloured or chemically treated hair in any way, they need to take extra care as there is wear-tear in the hair. From remedy range, there is a shampoo, conditioner and leave-in conditioner.
4. For people who have fine hair but have to run around a lot in monsoon, our back to life dry shampoo is a must-have in every girl's handbag.
Q: And, which hair type gets affected the most?
AB: Essentially, there is a lot of moisture in the air coupled with the heat. Because of the heat, there is also the perspiration and so, it leads to more frizziness whether your hair is curly, straight or in-between.
Q: And, how instrumental has been Dil Chahta Hai in your association with Bollywood?
AB: Being part of Dil Chahta Hai was a big stepping stone for us. Avan, who is an intrinsic member of our group of partners is very passionate about films and understands the process of filmmaking very well, which shows in her work. She has been heading our shoot team since the days of Dil Chahta Hai and a lot of the celebrities frankly won’t move without consulting Avan about their hair. We now have a whole division that focuses on feature films and we have recently completed Gully Boy, Made in Heaven and all the big Netflix, Hotstar or successful projects of the past year and some really interesting ones are coming this year. So, it has been a very brilliant string to our already great bow - to have salons, academy, franchises, line of products and the shoot crew. It allows us to spread our wings in a great variety of work and still keep us related and relevant to what we do best, which is cutting hair.
Q: Lastly, any plans to go global? And, which Indian city is BBlunt’s next stop?
AB: There is no immediate conversation going on but yes, going global is something that has been there in the periphery. We are waiting for the right opportunity to come along and until then, we will keep on expanding in India. Next city? Hyderabad, Ludhiana and Mauritius.
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