S. SHARMINI was becoming bored with her job as a lawyer and was looking for something more fulfilling to do when she noticed her sister’s small business venture.
Shantini, her sister, was doing a brisk trade selling clothes (mainly saris and kurtas) and shoes from India. Although an irregular business, it was still a thriving trade, and Sharmini saw the potential in developing it further.
The result is Shringar Studio, a one-stop centre for women who want to enjoy a bit of pampering but all within the comfort of one location.
Thus, at Shringar (a Hindi word which means “adornment for women”) Studio, one can indulge in beauty treatments that include facials, waxing, pedicure, manicure, threading (to remove facial hair), and henna dyeing.
It also offers reflexology treatment, Tarot reading, art classes and lessons in making candles, painting glass and tie and dye techniques.
“I wanted them to be all under one roof as I always had to go to different places for my facial and waxing treatment. This can sometimes be quite inconvenient,” Sharmini says.
“At least at Shringar, it would be less time consuming and women would be able to plan their time accordingly.”
The inspiration behind this business is under the Shringar roof as well since Shantini now sells her stuff here.
“Shantini helps to manage the place but she prefers to do the sales and marketing. She goes to India to get the clothing and accessories,” says Sharmini.
There were those who were sceptical of the idea when she first brought it up, says Sharmini. But her determination to do something different was so strong that, despite her lack of business experience, she stuck to her guns.
She set out to find suitable premises for the studio and found it in an old-style, semi-detached one-storey house in Bangsar Baru. “It took time to find the right location because I wanted it to be accessible. I wanted a quiet environment where clients could drop by without facing the hassle of searching for parking space,” says Sharmini. “I live nearby as well and it is convenient for me to come over whenever customers drop by.”
She and a partner invested about RM20,000 to set up Shringar Studio, which opened for business two months ago.
The studio is a pleasant retreat away from the bustle of daily life and its interior has been done up in pastel tones to promote a soothing and peaceful atmosphere. Special rooms have been allocated for specific activities like facials, waxing or massages.
“The idea is for women to feel comfortable and relaxed when they are at Shringar,'' says Sharmini, adding that sourcing the ideal name for the place had also proved to be a challenge.
“After throwing names about, we finally decided on Shringar.”
Apart from the various services it already offers, Shringar is also aiming to start off a book circle.
“It is another way for women to meet and network with each other. They could meet here once a week and exchange ideas and opinions,'' offers Sharmini.
Various artefacts, accessories, costume jewellery, artwork and household furniture can also be purchased here. The furniture and artefacts are mainly bought from India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
As for pricing for the beauty treatments, Sharmini says the studio offers competitive rates.
“This is because experienced professionals provide the service for the customers,” she says.
“My masseuse, for example, has been receiving encouraging feedback because she does a good job.”
In line with its theme of comfort and simplicity, Shringar’s presence is spread mainly through word of mouth.
“Maintaining the low key appeal is important as it is the essence of Shringar and I want to keep it that way,” Sharmini says.
To make it as complete a retreat as possible, Sharmini also welcomes ladies who just want to come in for coffee, tea or cakes. A set lunch can also be ordered but she needs to be told a day in advance so that she can make the necessary preparations.
And for those who are interested in doing a bit of business by selling something, they can place their merchandise in the premises without being charged exorbitant rental prices.
“I just collect a commission once the items are sold,” says Sharmini, who is exploring more ideas to expand Shringar's business.
“We are also planning to let customers rent the premises to hold small functions such as bridal or baby showers,” she says.
“This is because many people find it troublesome to organise functions in their own homes. They prefer to have it elsewhere.”
Though she has plans to expand, Sharmini is still smoothing the rough edges of the business while seeing to her customers’ needs.
“Being new in business, we are taking things one day at a time.”
At the moment, visits to Shringar are by appointment only.
“Clients have to call me and tell me when they plan to drop by,’’ says Sharmini, who can be reached at 03-22846617.
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