30 Nov 2017, 09:52 — 9 min read
As the saying goes in cricket, ‘a second innings can be just as fruitful'. After losing both lost their spouses, Sherly Kollannur and Kollannur Benny met while as they looked to get married again. Kollannur found the fact that Sherly was an entrepreneur very intriguing and the rest as they say is history.
Today, with Lili Scientific Electrolysis, they aim to provide cutting edge electrolysis treatment in India. Kollannur Benny is director and handles the operations and Sherly, is a director and chief consultant electrologist. Together, they also run an academy accredited by the Kerala Government where they train budding electrologists, many of who have gone on to establish their own practice.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL) Kollannur Benny (KB) and Sherly Kollanur (SK) share the story of their business. Watch this video for more:
GL: Tell us about your business.
KB: Lili Scientific Electrolysis is in the business of permanent unwanted hair removal. It is a unique service that is not normally available.There are 4 aspects to the business -
There is a story behind how I came into the business of electrolysis. My wife Sherly is the chief consultant electroligist. My coming into this business was very strange - I married her in 2012 after we both lost our spouses. When her proposal came and I learned she had an electrolysis clinic my interest in her grew. In the beginning I was impressed by her passion as an entrepreneur and how serious she was about this business.
I started studying the prospects of this business and decided that I would join her in this business leaving my job as a dean in B-school and we set up our clinic in Kochi in 2013. From then on we have been working together on this business.
Sherly was running it as a one-man show. She was doing everything. I observed that it was very difficult to get trained persons to perform electrolysis. If this is not done by a trained practitioner it can create havoc on the skin of a patient if it is not properly done. By the end of the day she became very exhausted and travelled back two hours from Kochi.
I suggested she shouldn’t exert herself like this and she should train people to do electrolysis. Her initial reaction was hostile. She thought teaching her skill would be a bad idea. But according to me, in marketing, if there are more competitors, the industry will grow and your business will also grow. I gave her the example of pharmaceutical stores and mobile stores that open close to each other. We decided to start an academy where we would teach people to perform electrolysis.
During this time there was an announcement by the Department of Labour and Skill, that they were going to organise a conference where they would encourage companies involved in skill training. We got an opportunity to network with people in similar fields in Kovalam and there was a proposal to get our academy accredited. The Kerala Academy for Skills Excellence, KASE, could accredit our institution. After a year and a half we got an email saying that we had to make a presentation in front of the secretary and other members of KASE.
We got accredited and it was a leap forward for us - a huge confidence boost. The next step was getting people to join the course as there was less awareness. We conducted seminars inviting owners of parlours and some people were interested and five candidates joined for the first batch and gave a diploma in scientific electrolysis to them. They have all started independent clinics in different parts of Kerala. Even now, electrolysis is not known to many.
SK: In the early nineties in Hyderabad where I was working as a nurse. I ended up going for electrolysis training. I got a chance to learn from an American company. I chose electrolysis as my career and worked with that company for twenty years and started my clinic in Kerala for 20 years.2013 we started Lili Scientific Electrolysis in Kochi. In 2013 we got accreditation from Government.
We do permanent hair removal. People have hair growth because of hormonal imbalance. When ladies have masculine hormones, they have more hair growth. Electrolysis is the only permanent to deal with this unwanted hair. It is a treatment you undergo that ensures you will never have hair growth in your life. You’ll have to undergo the treatment for a few fittings for 8 months to a year. Every fortnight you will have to take the treatment.
GL: What is the USP of your business?
KB: Electrolysis is the only technology which will remove hair from the human body permanently. Laser will reduce the hair temporarily. Electrolysis is the only technology approved by the FDA. The technology was invented a 100 years ago by an ophthalmologist in the west and though it has evolved the principles behind the process stay the same.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
SK: When we started our own clinic we were not getting employees to work. Even now we are facing problems to get workers. There is not enough awareness of electrolysis. Even I was against teaching my secrets because I thought I would lose business.
GL: What are some of the milestones of your business?
KB: We started a state of the art clinic in college. We also started our academy. We have also been invited by Dectro International Canada who are the manufacturers of Electrolysis technology. They were looking for a company who could take up distribution in India. They wanted the company doing the distribution to be able to train electrologists. We spoke to them on Skype in an interview that lasted two and a half hours. I and the person at Dectro agreed that joining hands we would be able to do wonders in India.
GL: What role do you feel GlobalLinker plays in connecting & assisting SMEs?
KB: Networking is very important in developing a business. Small companies like ours don’t have the strength to network. There are companies who are promoting franchisee businesses in the country but it is not possible for us to invest in that kind of business model. We have our own constraints being small when it comes to raising sufficient funds. The activity promoted by GlobalLinker to network by their website is a great help put forward to SMEs in India. I feel after understanding what the platform is about that I will be able to promote our company in every nook and corner of India.
GL: What is your big business dream?
KB: Our goal is to become a referral point in electrolysis in Asia. We want to develop this business not only in India, but also in South-East Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. Sherry has been trained by two leading companies including Dectro which I mentioned earlier. My wife and I have undergone certification at the their HQ for providing training and equipment in these countries.
SK: Our plan is to expand our clinic through franchisee mode over Kerala and all India. In India, we only started electrolysis for men. We have men from all over India coming and booking our treatment for a 100 hours. We want to continue growing that,
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
KB: Having your own business is a great challenge but you are your own boss. You make your own decisions. There is a tremendous amount of self satisfaction that comes from growing your company. It is not a cake walk. After 9 failures the 10th attempt might become a success and then the 10th attempt will give you great joy.
Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured members. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the members.
Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
We are a team of experienced industry professionals committed to sharing our knowledge and skills with small & medium enterprises.
Most read this week