- March 30, 2021
- Posted by: Sheryl
- Category: Spas
About the Author:Goa is a special place for Content Writer, Sheryl Gonsalves, with its picturesque beaches, gorgeous sunsets, rich heritage, and delicious food.
It’s a warm, balmy morning and I’m at Archana and Sumeet’s tranquil home armed with my questionnaire. Archana is in a chatty mood considering she starts her day quite late. ‘I don’t do mornings’ she laughs. The 5 am club is overrated-I’m my most productive late at night says this self-confessed insomniac.
Jumping right in, I shot off the obvious question: “What was the inspiration behind SNIP?” “Well, it all happened while boarding a Goa-Mumbai flight,” says Archana. “We got talking with a friend who was on the same flight. She told us casually that she’s flying to Mumbai for a haircut and colour.” “We hardly processed this piece of information when she added that she took the ‘haircut flight’ every month! We were gobsmacked! The idea of SNIP took shape during that hour-long flight to Mumbai. In fact, we extended our stay in the city to do preliminary research by visiting the leading salons in Mumbai. What followed was numerous more trips to several big cities, both in India and abroad. We were totally smitten with the energy and pace of the salon industry and were excited to create our own amazing salon in Goa”.
Twenty-one eventful years have gone by, and looking back, one can clearly see that this tenacious power couple placed a bet on a business that was well ahead of its time. Both come from professional backgrounds- Archana has a degree in Fashion design and Sumeet is a qualified Graphic Designer. Both were very successful in their respective arenas but they saw the potential of SNIP and decided to plunge headlong into the project.
Few months into the project and they realized it’s no cakewalk. Being first-generation entrepreneurs, it was a big challenge to find funding as no banks were willing to finance them. Undaunted, they doggedly pursued their goal of creating a world-class salon for Goa’s cosmopolitan clientele. During those days in Goa, there were only small beauty parlours everywhere with no concept of international grooming standards. From the beginning, their motto has always been ‘affordable luxury’. Seeing the vast number of people flock to their doors now, (There are four branches spread across strategic locations in North Goa) it’s hard to believe that they had to wait four long years to get out of the red and make a modest profit. The business was running losses in those initial years as they refused to compromise on the quality of the products, the expertise of staff and the comfortable ambience.
“We’re simply obsessed with guest experience says It’s never about increasing our profit margins. It’s about elevating our service standards. The Amazon model is our inspiration,” says Sumeet.
Perhaps this is the reason that locals, business visitors and tourists alike swear by SNIP and the sheer quality of service and value for money. Sumeet revealed that even though it’s not possible every time, they try to cater to every guest’s individual preferences, especially regular guests. In fact, his e-mail address is printed on every collateral, including the takeaway menu! Now that’s a serious commitment to feedback! Fortunately, the brickbats are very few compared to bouquets and SNIP usually gets rave reviews-a testament to the brand’s loyal following. As Indians, we hardly take care of our bodies or care about our skin and hair as we’re so rushed and hurried with commitments and responsibilities. A visit to SNIP is like a booster shot of ‘feel good’ Services such as massages and body scrubs can relieve stress, elevate the mood, improve the skin and help re-align the chakras.
Speaking about the importance of spas especially during the pandemic Sumeet revealed: “All humans crave touch, which has become taboo post covid. SNIP promotes treatments that don’t require close contact between guest and therapist, such as foot reflexology to ensure safety without compromising on making guests feel better and more relaxed. What’s more, he reveals that SNIP staff always wore masks during services and used sanitisers since way back in 2010! The SOP’s were already being followed for around 10 years, so it was practically effortless to keep the staff and guests safe.
Years ago, Sumeet coined the term ‘SPA-LON’ (a portmanteau of spa and salon) to describe this brand new concept… Once the concept took off, it was plagiarized and everybody started doing it. “Like many other concepts and innovations, we kept creating better experiences for our guests,” Sumeet said. Eventually, imitation is the best form of flattery he quotes. Sumeet is also the founder of GSSA (Goa Salon & Spa Association) which brings together all grooming, beauty and wellness operators under one roof.
Avid travellers, Archana and Sumeet have visited many spa destinations around the world and experienced a myriad of exotic treatments. These eventually found their way into the menu of services at SNIP. “We took the essence of what we experienced and adapted it to Indians sensibilities”,” says Archana. The primary focus for the products used in SNIP treatments (especially skin products) was to use organic ones. In terms of Hair products, SNIP is an exclusive Kérastase salon, which is known globally as the ‘gold standard in hair care. It’s extremely difficult to qualify for this badge, and being the only such salon in Goa is testimony to SNIP’s pedigree and level of standards
Finally, it was time for the closing question-The journey:
“We would describe our journey with SNIP as an exhilarating adventure because every day is a new day. Some are daunting and some are drama-filled but never dull! It’s so interesting to meet different people daily, interact with them, understand what makes them tick and in the process, understanding the intricacies of personalisation. I like the fact that the salon & spa industry is very personal. It’s always on a first-person basis. It’s not a faceless product that’s sold with an MRP. We’re not cookie-cutter,” Archana proudly revealed.
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