Beauty biz cash in on middle-class youth | india | Hindustan Times
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Beauty biz cash in on middle-class youth

More and more beauty companies are now targeting youngsters from the smaller cities and towns.

india Updated: May 02, 2006 18:19 IST

That the beauty business is big business is evident from the huge ad-spend by product makers.

That the target consumers are now young women (and to some extent men) from the smaller cities and towns is also clearly evident.

Promotionals, advertorials, events, contests and other strategies are being employed by just about every player in the field of beauty products and cosmetics.

Parents of adolescents and teenagers complain that they have to shell out unaffordable sums of money to indulge in this newly-created need for products that their children now feel are necessities.

All over India, young people are now hungry for beauty, for a career in modeling, VJing, acting, etc. - all seen as a ticket to big earnings and fame.

While the cosmetics and beauty industry plays ally to these aspirations, there is another less visible but fairly strong force that is a key participant in these developments: they are the people who run informal grooming and finishing schools; voice, accent and diction coaching; nutrition-diet advice centres, and a host of other beauty services providers.

This is besides the name-brand well-established institutes devoted to skin and hair care and weight-loss programmes that have been set up in the last few years.

While clients in these name-brand institutes pay anything between Rs 10,000-50,000 over a few weeks, private, 'nameless' groomers and advisers too are able to charge hefty consultancy fees, quite on par with these figures.

Their clientele is mainly from lower middle and middle class homes, and yet will pay up to Rs 30,000/- for 6-8 week courses in either grooming, or accent-diction, personality development, etc.

These providers do not advertise in a big way - at the most through classified ads - and depend on word-of-mouth publicity. If one of their clients makes it to the final rounds of even a local talent contest or beauty pageant, it ensures that their services will be sought out by many more.

This kind of money is coughed up by parents, who are more often than not single-income families, or at the most the woman of the house has a school-teacher's salary.

How do they afford it and do they think that it is money worth spending? Says Shefali Rego, 38, who has funded her daughter through several such courses over the past year: "She was very keen, and not doing at all well in her studies. My husband and I decided that just like we would have taken an education loan, why not take a personal loan for these courses?"

But do these courses guarantee that her daughter will be able to make a career in the entertainment industry, as she aspires to?

"Does a degree in engineering guarantee that you'll get a job nowadays?" counters Rego.