company dedicated to salon professionals is offering hairstylists
in India's cosmopolitan cities a chance to upgrade their skills.
Blackberry Worldwide, which has a presence in London, Paris,
Dubai and Kenya, opened shop in India with 'Hairscapes 2002'.
At this workshop in Mumbai, participants were informed of
hair-cutting techniques and styles best suited to the subcontinent.
Other cities like Pune and Bangalore are on the schedule,
as are other subjects like skin care, makeovers and rejuvenation
Around 500 professionals paid Rs 1,500 each to participate
in Hairscapes 2002. Blackberry selected Perri Patel, a leading
hairdresser formerly from London to conduct the session. Mr
Patel has been in the business of styling for the last 16
years. "I was affiliated to HQ Hairdressing in London, where
I was learning and teaching simultaneously. But I have now
moved to Mumbai for good." He trained under a famous stylist,
Salma Palmer of the Kenya School Of Hairdressing, in Africa.
"Hairdressers really need to upgrade their skills at designing
for different textures, lengths and structures. Over 500 people
came for the workshop, and I told them how to style for youthful
executives, older professionals, smart, hip children as well
as outgoing youngsters who want to experiment. Considering
that each hairdresser attends to a couple of clients a day,
it would be wonderful if they pass on these classy techniques
and styles to these customers. These would, in turn, spread
That hope was for the professionals. Where clients go, Mr
Patel wishes they were more adventurous! "A lot of people
are confused about their hair. They'd like a change in look,
only they aren't sure whether they should go about it or not!"
Mr Patel says with a smile. "That's like wanting to drive
a car without the steering wheel!" At the other end of the
spectrum, he has seen villagers in his native Gujarat go up
to the local barber and ask for complete makeovers along the
lines of what they see on satellite television!
Mr Patel has worked his way up the ladder. Indeed, since he
moved to Mumbai he has found a foothold in the Hindi film
industry, which is the ultimate aim always. His famous clients
range right from Amitabh Bachchan to newcomer Zaid Khan, Sanjay
Khan's son. In between come Akshay Kumar, Aftab Shivdasani,
Amisha Patel and Rajlakshmi Roy. "Actually, any new look that
you see on most film stars these days, Esha Deol being the
latest, would in all likelihood be mine!" he claims.
He still makes time to train other professionals, though.
"We are proud to have him because we are introducing pure
salon education for the first time in India," says Ms Rimpy,
who is part owner of Blackberry. Surely that is a tall claim,
given that various people and institutions have been doing
that for many years now. In fact, Blossom Kochhar opened the
Mumbai wing of her training institute, Pivot Point, just a
couple of weeks ago. "Well, a lot of people hold workshops
and seminars on beauty training, but they are all brand-related
endorsements. L'Oreal, Godrej and Wella conduct training programmes
where they indirectly sell you their products. Even Blossom
Kochhar owns a brand of beauty products," Ms Rimpy says. "I
believe you restrict the scope of such training when you confine
it within the parameters of a brand." It is early days yet,
but Ms Rimpy vouches that Blackberry will not promote itself
through "gimmickry like fashion shows or catwalks".