Work comes first for Balaji, a hairstylist. As I waited for him to finish his appointments, I sank into a plush sofa and looked around the shelves stocked with hair care products that I could hardly pronounce right. And I couldn’t fail to notice how the hair styling industry has grown. It is no more a monthly affair of chopping off your overgrown manes. It is an industry lead by passionates like Balaji who promise to take the monthly affair a notch up. His scissors work incessantly to create a great look for you. For a start up salon, his place looks well maintained. An ISO 9000-2001 certificate hangs on the wall and a proud Balaji informs us that he is a certified hair stylist and my eyebrows shot up in surprise.
It all started when Balaji used to intently observe his own hair stylist in his early years. “I always used to sit in his little shop and observe him how he did it. And I found it fascinating how he could turn the way a person looked by giving a nice hair cut!” says a passionate Balaji. Years down the line, he opened his own salon in the Parsen Complex in Nungambakkam. “It has been five years old and I have also added a women’s section to the salon. I have around six people working under me,” says a proud Balaji.
When at Balaji’s you can trust that your manes are in safe hands as he holds diplomas from L’Oreal and Matrix and has worked with the pundit of the industry Tony & Guy before starting the salon. “The added advantage of my salon is that I have an experience that I can bank on. Also, the observing of my masters made it easy for me to learn the styles that were taught to me at the schools,” he says.
When you prefer to take a road less traveled, one cannot expect instant recognition. Family wasn’t particularly very supportive he informs. “Some of my relatives did look down upon me when I said I was into hair styling. But with my salon doing well, I have proven that it is just like any other business and things are finally beginning to change,” he says.
It is not just his salon that keeps him busy. In between saloon timings, you can also spot him at movie sets where he helps some of the big wigs of Kollywood look great on screen. It was not surprising that he started out his styling career by being the hair stylist for many heroes.