IT isn’t often that young people leave secondary school brimming with plans to set up a business. But that was what P. Sujatha, who was single-minded in her pursuit of becoming a beautician and one day open a beauty parlour, had set for herself when she left school.
In 1996, at the age of 18, she attended classes at a beauty salon in Kuala Lumpur to learn the basics of skin care.
As she picked up the skills, she began to do facials for her family members and friends.
Two years later, she became confident enough to take on paying customers who went to her house for facial treatments.
“It was easier doing it from home and I wanted to save money so that I could open up a proper beauty parlour later,” says Sujatha.
Her plan was to further improve her skills in facial treatments, and also expand her repertoire to include threading, bridal make-up and pedicure-manicure.
To do this, the enterprising young woman went to India in 2000 to take up a six-month course in cosmetology.
There, she learnt about the finer points of dealing with different skin types using both traditional and modern products.
Sujatha says she considers this period of study as an investment, having put up RM6,000 for the course and spent another RM5,000 for food and lodging.
“The course was beneficial as my instructors made it interesting and the students were given good practical training,” she says.
Once she completed the course, Sujatha went scouting for a suitable location for her beauty parlour. Her loyal customers also gave her feedback by suggesting that she get a place nearby so it would be convenient for them to go for their appointments.
She finally found a place in a housing area that was relatively quiet and had enough space for parking. In January 2001, she set up her parlour, calling it One Stop Beauty Parlour.
Other than facials, threading and hair treatments, Sujatha also provides bridal services such as bridal make-up and mehndi artwork. The costs of the treatments vary according to the products used, but a basic herbal facial starts at RM40.
“I liked the location because the rent is cheaper and there is less competition. Renting a small space in a shop in Klang town would have cost RM500,” says Sujatha.
But she still had to fork out a sizeable amount of money, around RM17,000, to renovate the place as she wanted to create a relaxed ambience for her customers.
The floor space was divided into individual rooms for facials and hair treatments respectively, and each area was well decorated in soothing tones to create the ambience she wanted.
She also has an office and teaching area (she has students learning the basics of facial, threading and other treatments) in the parlour.
One of her students is her sister Shanti, 20, who has also shown interest in a career as a beautician.
“Hopefully, when she completes her training, she will join me and we can run the business together,” says Sujatha, who currently runs the business single-handedly.
Sujatha prefers that customers make appointments so they will be attended to as soon as they arrived.
“My customers are mainly women but there are a few men who do regular facial treatment for dark rings, acne and oily skin problems,” she says.
From her experience, Sujatha says, men – especially the younger generation – are also slowly following the trend and want to take care of their appearance just like women.
While some buy products off the counter, there are men who prefer to do herbal facials, if it’s suitable, for their skin care routine.
As for the fairer sex, she says, more are doing facials for relaxation, threading of eyebrows and hair treatments, which are done on a regular basis especially by those who are constantly in the public eye.
“These are all part of building up confidence as people want to look and feel good about themselves,” she says.
Sujatha herself is also keeping up to date with developments in cosmetology. She went to India once more last year for a month and a half to do a short course on make-up and hairstyling.
And she has already set her sights on going to Australia for a longer period to learn more about cosmetology in 2006.
“Since I am interested in upgrading myself as a beautician, I want to continuously expand my knowledge in this field,” she says.
One Stop Beauty Parlour is in Wisma AMI, 4637-B, 2nd floor, Jalan Gambus 2, Taman Desawan, Klang. (Tel: 03-3324 0984)