This old loss-making beauty parlour in Safdarjung is now a Rs.10 billion chain

There is no doubt that it is difficult for an Indian women to start a career after being a mother. And to have a career where she can achieve everything she had ever planned to do is something not many can do. Vandana Luthra the owner of Vandana Luthra Curls and Curves (VLCC) started her career 26 years ago, after her marriage, when she was a mother to two children.

“I started in 1989, nine years after we got married, and I had planned it that way. We had our first kid a year after we got married and the second baby came three years later,” she says. “All the while, I kept going back to complete my training in Germany; I wanted to start when I was fully ready. All this would not have been possible without the support of my husband and in-laws. I owe my success to my in-laws, who raised my kids when I was not there.”

She began to work in a field which was ridden with social taboos at that time. However, nothing could stop Vandana from growing VLCC into a massive enterprise that runs on 123 company-owned centres and 60 franchises. The company has spread its wings outside of India too, with a presence in 16 countries including Sri Lanka, Nepal, UAE, Oman and Qatar. VLCC centres provide several health solutions, from beauty treatments and care to health-management programmes. It also runs the largest vocational academy network in Asia for beauty and nutrition. “I am a very hard taskmaster; my kids will have to learn from scratch, which will take them at least four to five years. I think this will be tough for them and unfair to other colleagues here,” Luthra says, with admirable honesty.

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