With three decades in the hairstyling business and over 250 eponymous salons and spas in more than ten countries, Jean-Claude Biguine has truly conquered the mane universe. The enterprising entrepreneur talks about Bollywood-inspired coiffures, hideous hair trends and his most memorable hairstyle on a priest.
When did you first realise you wanted to get into the hairstyling business?
My mom would take me for haircuts when I was young. On one particular occasion, I was fascinated by the entire ‘ritual’ of haircutting and, at the age of 14, I decided I wanted to apprentice as a hairdresser.
You have more than 250 salons and spas in different countries. Have you had to adapt to different markets?
The hair industry is largely similar the world over; the only adjustment is due to fluctuations in the economy. An international brand is successful in any country when one executes services, marketing, aesthetics, etc, adapted to the local markets and supplemented with the best customer experience.
Bollywood has a huge influence on setting trends in the Indian market. Have you tapped into it yet?
Yes, I have observed that a lot of fashion and hair trends are Bollywood inspired. It is a country of colours, festivals and films. In our five-year journey in India and in Mumbai, our hairstylists have worked with leading celebrities, fashion designers and fashion houses. But for us the clients are the celebrities.
You’ve managed to open several salons in India quite quickly—what’s your business strategy?
I happened to meet Dharmendra Manwani (CEO, Jean-Claude Biguine, India) at the right time and that is how our story started. Our vision paired with implementation at the local level is the recipe of our success.
Your most memorable hairstyling moment?
At the beginning of my career, I once styled a priest and when he had to pay me he told me that God will pay me and left. Since then, indeed, God is repaying us every day.
The most exciting moment of your career?
I was just 24 with hardly any money, but with the help of my friends I managed to open my first salon. I was starting out as an entrepreneur and I had so many different things that I had yet to learn from the management and business perspective. It was an exciting and exhilarating experience.
Your favourite hairstyle?
For me, there’s no one particular style that is a favourite. That’s what’s fascinating about a hairstyle; how each different one complements one’s features and personality differently.
One hair trend you absolutely detest?
Well, I never fancied the partially shaved haircuts such as the one sported by Rihanna.
Upcoming trends to watch out for...
Personally, I feel it is really not advisable talking about trends in hairstyling. One should look at the facial features, hair quality and overall personality before deciding on a hairstyle and that is something best done by a professional.
A tip on getting your hair right if you have just ten minutes...
It is a question I have been asked by a lot of people in India, especially for frizzy hair considering the humidity. I believe you should not go too much against the nature of your hair, but care for it. So if you have frizzy hair, apply products such as leave-in conditioner to weigh it down and manage your curls. Also, use serums and hair oils addressing the particular needs of your hair.
What according to you are the best hairstyling products for the Indian market?
The L’Oréal Professional range has a wide variety of products addressing different hair types and needs, well-adapted for the Indian climate and hair textures.
This article first appeared in December 2013 issue of Hi! BLITZ magazine