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Careers: Snip and Cut!

What used to be looked down upon earlier is now a fashionable career choice. Varun Vazir speaks to some known and new names of the industry to know more about a career in Hairdressing.

There was a time when a barber’s profession was not well accepted in society. If someone thought of telling your parents that “I want to be a hair dresser”, the parents would furiously react saying, “Hey bhagwan humara beta hajaam banna chahta hai,” followed by the drama that would take place.
Well, things have changed a lot today, feels Kinjal doshi (23), who had decided that she wants to be a hairdresser when she was 18 years old and studying in S.Y.B.Com in H R College, Mumbai. She did her professional hair styling course from Nalini and Yasmin and later went to London to do a course from Vidal Sassoon and is currently working with RAIH. Similarly, Dhwani Gosalia (28), who tried her hands in many professions but did not succeed, did a hair styling course in 2003 from Nalini and Yasmin and that’s what got her started. Currently working with Jean Claude Biguine, Dhwani says, “My parents too were a little apprehensive in the beginning especially because I am a Gujarati. But later when my work got compliments, my family was assured about my career choice”.

A well-known name in this industry, Nalini from Nalini and Yasmin feels that parents need to be counselled and educated about this profession. Nalini has a very interesting story of how she got into this profession. “I entered this profession 40 years ago when my husband was a director in Air India, London and out of sheer boredom I applied to Vidal Sassoon and Morris school of hair dressing and did a one year’s course”, she says. Nalini adds, “I did not know it would become such an important part of my life. I wanted to bring the same quality to India.”

Nalini also feels that back then this profession was mainly accepted in the West and the Chinese were the only professional hair dressers. Nalini and Yasmin were the first ones to bring professional hair dressing in India, and they used to practice at Yasmin’s place before opening their own salon. Kinjal too, feels that she wants to build more franchise for her company before she starts her own brand of salons. Similarly, Dhwani who has built up considerable experience, wishes to have her own salon soon.
But if you think that any Tom, Dick and Harry can cut hair, then you are mistaken. As Nalini says,”Hair styling is a very skillful work”. Kinjal and Dhwani also feel that it’s a very interesting and creative profession that involves a lot of interaction and communication along with meeting a lot of new people every day.

Talking about how things have changed today, Nalini says that she has students coming to learn from her academy whose parents are from a science background. Whatever the case, it’s very important that one is really focused on what he/she wants to do. Nalini recollects, “I remember Neha Nagpal was very firm that she wanted to be a hair dresser even when she was 17, and today she is one of the most successful hair dressers at the Four Seasons Hotel”.
So how do you become a good hair dresser? Nalini firmly feels that one needs to keep oneself updated. She shares a secret – “The principal of a hair dressing school said that 50% is work and 50% is drama. It’s how you deal with your client. If you are nice and sincere to your client, you will definitely be paid off.” This profession also has picked up pace and recognition since Loreal and Wella have come to India. Nalini explains “These two product companies have researched that Indian hair dressers lacked training which is a very important part of this profession”. Nalini is very confident that soon the Indian hair dressers will teach in every corner of the world and get global recognition too. It’s a commercial profession that also keeps the social cause in mind. Nalini employs under privileged boys and girls from NGO’s like Save A Child and trains them.

How do you know that this profession is for you? “If you’re a people’s person, friendly and have patience then this is a great job for you” concludes Nalini.

One tip for a bad hair day –Kinjal says, “High pony tails and lots of colourful hair clips for girls and guys should apply wax and spray a lot of water. Whereas Nalini feels, “Knowledge about the products is very important. Most of the guys simply use products bought by their mother or sister.”

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