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Fitness and beauty her forte


What started of as an experimental venture a decade and a half ago is today a full-fledged corporate entity that deals with slimming and beauty care, spreading its wings over 39 cities with 67 branches. Can you guess the brain, soul and face behind this empire? Hold your breath: it is an Indian housewife.

Meet Vandana Luthra, the chairperson of VLCC [Vandana Luthra Curls and Curves (India) Limited].

She was in Vizag recently to inaugurate her first centre in the city that is located in a spacious complex near Dwarakanagar. In a tete-a-tete this scribe had with her, she had a trip down memory lane. Excerpts from the interview:

Q: What made you foray into this field?

A: "Having being trained in cosmetology, nutrition, beauty care and fitness from various institutes in New Delhi, London and Paris and Germany, I wanted to put my education and training into practice and started off with a small centre in Delhi after my marriage in 1989."

How and when did that small venture become a corporate entity?

"That is one thing that I still do not know or understand. Even before I could realise it happened. But this much I can say that from the day I set the ball rolling I never looked back."

Why do you claim to be different from other beauty centres?

"Ours is not just a beauty centre. It is a centre that caters for slimming, fitness, hair and nail care apart from general beauty. Rather one could say 'anything to do with slimming, fitness and beauty under one roof'. We also undertake counselling for people with obesity problem and patients with chronic coronary problems."

Do you have a gym in every centre?

"We do not believe in active exercises and hence do not maintain a gym. We advocate passive exercises and use various slimming gadgets to supplement it. Moreover, our form of slimming depends a lot on the way we counsel the people and prescribe the diet. When we talk of diet prescription, one should not get the wrong signal of diet restriction. We do not intend to cut down one's regular diet, we only modify the pattern of diet."

How much weight could one lose in a month?

"It is very difficult to predict across the table. It depends on one's body condition and frame of mind. If someone is very keen and follows our instructions scrupulously then he or she could lose over 4 to 5 kg. a month on an average."

How big is your company today?

"It is a Rs.100 crore company with over 67 branches and we employ over 3,000 persons."

What are the future plans?

"I intend going for an initial public offer (IPO) by 2006. But before that I plan to set up another 35 centres with a few in Dubai, Sri Lanka and London."

What are the other companies that you own?

"Apart from the VLCC centres, we have started a VLCC personal care product division. We have two factories, one at Dehra Dun and the other at Gurgaon, that manufacture a wide range of skin-care, hair-care, body-care and other cosmetic products. Most of the products are extracted from the vast resources of Mother Nature. I also maintain over 50 institutes that impart training in beauty and health care."

Formula for success?

"Hard work and dedication. But I must confess that without the die-hard support of my family members and my team of workers I would not have reached this position."

SUMIT BHATTACHARJEE

Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

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