What inspired you to start a salon?
Vikram: Working for KLM, I had the
opportunity to travel across the world especially very
hip salons in cities like London and Paris. When I saw
stylish hairstyles, I thought why not a business that’s
high energy and high fashion. My mother, Latha Mohan
has been running the Kanya chain of beauty salons for
the past 17 years. I had grown up watching the whole
salon business, though after I was 8, I was not allowed
in as Kanya catered to women. I thought why not bring
this international unisex concept into India.
I have always been creative; I draw, I am an artist,
a musician and I like working with my hands. The last
thing that I would have ever done was sit behind a computer.
I did that for four years with the airline and did not
like it. So the real true inspiration was that. I love
the whole human connection that you can make a little
bit of change in someone’s life that means so
you get any formal training?
I did not want to just start a salon. I wanted
to complete a course and understand all aspects,
so I did a short course in Singapore. The first
haircut took 5 hours! My customer had lunch and
dinner with me but she liked what I did though
it must have been the worst haircut I have ever
given anyone. When I came back, with my mother's
support I trained my staff for 6 months, there
were five of us in all. I hired two college co-coordinators
who brought 25 to 30 students in everyday for
" The first haircut
took 5 hours! "
I was mad "
were the initial challenges you faced when you
When I opened Bounce at Ispahani Centre, everyone
thought I was mad. I spent 85 lakhs on the salon
and each chair cost Rs.50,000 and came from
Italy. I charged 350 for a basic haircut. However,
I really saw a market for that and have proved
Chennai had this niche market.
How open are
Chennaites to new haircuts and styles?
I think Chennai has improved amazingly since I started.
There may be issues on the really funky haircuts as
people feel that others will stare at them. I did
have that initially but we set that tone to very fashion
forward, very high fashion salon and succeeded.
is the latest trend now?
A haircut is very personal, a cut and color
is based on skin tone, what you do as a profession
and your style. This differs from person to
person. If you ask me internationally, for women,
it’s keeping your hair long, say shoulder
length with waves and asymmetric fringes. Long
hair is gone for men. Short hair textured or
cropped is in. A few years ago, there was not
much importance given to hair, but now even
a 4 year old in a commercial has spiked hair.
Hairdressing is becoming a huge phenomenon.
" Long hair
is gone for
many walked in
asking for that style "
much are hair trends influenced by our film
Hugely! Look at the Tamil movie industry.
In the last few years, hair styling has become
very important. Suriya always gives it importance.
After Ghajini, many walked in asking for that
style. Many stars come to me when they start
a movie. I also meet the costume designer, director
and producer to plan the look.
were the recent films you completed?
I gave Ajith the spiked up stylish look in
Asal. I have done a lot of work for Vishnu in
Bale Pandiya. I have also done Indihey Indihu,
a remake of a Telugu film about 15 college kids.
" I gave Ajith
the spiked up
stylish look in Asal "
Tell us a little
about your experiences with the stars you have worked
I have done a lot of creative work with Suriya.
Besides Ghajini, in Sillunnu oru kaadal, I have tried
many looks. Simbhu is also open to experimentation
depending on what the role calls for. We did some
crazy red hair for him once. Vijay is a regular too
and he likes the place. Vikram does not experiment
too much. As for the heroines, they need to keep the
length of the hair and so do not work with it too
is our strength
and it is all about working
with your heart and passion"
do you think is the secret of your success?
Everybody is looking to be treated the way
they want others to treat them. So service is
No.1. I have been told it’s the best in
the country. Creativity is our strength and
it is all about working with your heart and
Did your parents
give you a free hand when you decided to start on
My mom is my guru. I owe everything I have to her.
is the difference between your approach and
her approach to business?
She’s got a motherly approach and treats
her staff like her own kids. She’s emotional
and a micro-manager. I macro manage; I give
people responsibility, train and put them in
a position. If they are unable to cope, I steer
them in the right direction. Otherwise I let
them use their talent. I have built a very strong
"I have built a very
What is your
Our country still looks down upon hairdressing as
a third rate profession though it’s considered
a mainstream profession abroad. In India too, educated
youngsters who want to do something creative, exciting
and artistic must take this up.