Daily Archives: February 15, 2012

Enrich Matunga: Bad Haircuts & Poor Service For High Prices

So here’s my first What Not To Do post:

What NOT to do: Get a haircut at Enrich, Matunga, Mumbai

Enrich is a chain of premium hair-styling & beauty services salons across Mumbai.They collaborate with brands like L’Oreal & Remy Laurie.

I’ve been an Enrich member for over 8 years. I began visiting Enrich at the Vileparle West branch. It was my first experience of a modern, unisex, branded salon. I’ve had haircuts, colouring and rebonding done. Just once, I had a bad experience with a bright-red colour that ran out in 2 days leaving my scalp burning and my hair a dirty hay colour. Enrich Vileparle gave me a half-refund and also offered an apology that felt authentic enough for me to continue giving them my custom.

A few years later, I shifted to the Enrich Lokhandwala branch and found them just as responsive. I went through a slew of different haircuts, multiple hair colourings and other salon services like manicures, pedicures & facials. I always found their hair services the best and even established a few favorite stylists who knew my taste. They never disappointed. My only problem was that they were often so overbooked that even getting an eyebrow threading required a wait sometimes. Still, the hair services have been totally worth it.

My last haircut at Enrich Vileparle was inspired by a comicbook panel that I showed my stylist. She said she couldn’t get a good sense of it but she’d try. What she gave me, ended up being much, much better than I’d hoped. This picture was taken the next day, post hairwash and minus any styling except a quick combing:

Recently, I thought I’d try out the Enrich salon that I spotted in Matunga. I booked an appointment and walked into the salon to find it tightly packed. It certainly doesn’t have the same ambience as the other two salons I’ve visited. My first impression was that it looked, felt and sounded exactly like the hundreds of tiny ‘beauty parlours’ run out of housewives’ homes or corridors between shops. I explained to the girl over the phone (while booking the appointment), the people at the counter and the stylist that I’d been a member for many years but this was my first visit to this particular branch.

All I really wanted was a trim of the excellent haircut that I’d been given in October end, by Enrich Vileparle (see picture above). I had several pictures on hand, as well as specific instructions on length, volume and shape, including the following:

Here’s what the stylist turned out:

When I asked him why it didn’t match what I’d asked for (showing him the picture), he shrugged and said, “It will grow out eventually. It’s only an inch.” The lady at the counter couldn’t have cared less as I explained that I’d been given a very different haircut from the one I requested (showing the pictures again). One of the girls responsible for eyebrow-threading and such lower-level salon activities, pointed out the manager standing on the other side of the counter. I tried speaking to her but all I got was a blank, “Sorry.”

The problem:

  • Enrich Matunga charges a premium on their services, just like the other Enrich outlets. This haircut cost me roughly Rs.600. At such a price, I expect to have quality as well as consistency with other Enrich outlets. I found none of these in their ambience, service delivery or customer management.
  • The haircut was a bad one and did not follow instructions.
  • The hairstylist’s attitude revealed ignorance and worse, complete disinterest in his customer’s concerns and needs. A hairstylist who says “It’s only an inch” is like a musician explaining poor sound quality as “It’s just stuff you’re hearing.” A few millimeters can completely alter or even ruin a haircut. An inch, especially on hair that’s shorter than shoulder level, is BIG.
  • The manager’s response felt forced and completely fake. Never mind caring about a longtime customer relationship; it did not sound like she was even bothered about the standard of service dished out to anybody who walked into the branch.

Bad haircuts happen as do harsh reactions to chemicals. Some of these are people’s faults, some aren’t. Beauty is a tricky business and hair styling is in that extra-sensitive area of services that sustains on trust & loyalty. Over the years, a number of the Enrich staff that I’ve interacted with, have mentioned how delightful it is for them to work with a customer who gives them free rein with her hair. All of that has been flushed down the toilet with this bad experience at Enrich, Matunga.

If you love your hair or even if you simply don’t care to be parted from your money for shoddy, lacklustre service, steer well clear of Enrich Matunga.

Enrich is online at Facebook, Twitter, Blog. I’d like to see if there’s any kind of response to this post from them.

I Wear: Dancing Queen

The look I’m detailing here is as retro as the title of this post. The occasion was a Christmas special dance workshop by the MadMax Academy of Dance. The invitation actually said to wear white but I couldn’t find anything good to wear in that colour. As it turned out, no one wore white but a lot of people stuck to the Christmas theme. I wasn’t really going for the Santa Claus look but as it turned out, the red fit right in. I was actually going for a biker babe look, which I switched at the last minute to include some red and resulted in a more retro feel.

I’d been dying to take out those boots, since they were my pick of the season. I didn’t want to wear jeans and it was too cold for a skirt. What better than leggings for a dance workout? The top is a long-sleeved fitted body-tee with black sleeves, that I got as a gift awhile ago. I love the colour and the print, referencing my favorite decade, the 70s. But the full sleeves get a bit much in Mumbai’s usual weather. It’s longer than a regular tee-shirt, which is why I thought it would be perfect to wear over this teensy-tiny denim skirt. The acid-washed denim and miniskirt-over-leggings is more 80s but I figured it was close enough to the period I was referencing.

I knew a dance workout would have me sweating in a matter of minutes, and the cotton would let me breathe. I could always roll up the sleeves. But it was an extraordinarily cold evening and I also didn’t want to stand out too much in the train, for my miniskirt (never mind the leggings, you know how Mumbai trains are!). So I pulled on my black Life jacket, already taken out for the biker babe look. For some reason, the jacket tones down the look, making it less fitted as well as less dated.

Since the top leaves the neck completely bare, I draped over a blue silk scarf, that would otherwise be considered more corporate attire. All my other scarfs are prints and would make this look too busy. But the muted colour matched my skirt and complemented the look well. Accessorizing any further would have been overkill and as it is, I pushed the envelope slightly since it was a vibrant, festive occasion. For just an evening out, I’d have stuck to diamond studs or maybe even worn no jewellery. And my make-up would have been more dramatic with maroon lipstick and perhaps lined eyes. But this evening’s activities would cause make-up to run. And few things look as bad as a face with worn-out make-up and bad accessories. Ear jewellery always lifts my face so in burst of daring, I added these oversized hoops made of surgical steel.

Now look carefully. The girl in the print has hair almost as short as mine and a frame that’s just as lanky. She’s also wearing white (silver?) hoops and a heart-shaped pendant. And that’s the only reason this pretty, glass heart got added to my outfit.

The look was much more fun, young and crazy than I’d imagined – just the right mood for the kind of uninhibitedness that makes dance fun! I had a great time dancing and laughing and it was the most fun Christmas event I’ve ever been to.

I wear:

  • Red-and-black full sleeved body top: A gift from a shop in Vashi
  • Stonewash, pre-faded, pre-frayed denim miniskirt: Shoppers’ Stop
  • Black leggings: Benetton
  • Black jacket: Life
  • Blue silk scarf: Cottage Emporium, New Delhi
  • Black leather ankle boots: Shop next to KFC Bandra, opposite Theobroma
  • Red tote bag: Baggit
  • Glass heart pendant: Hill Road street stall, Bandra

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

What Not To Do

I’m starting a new section on The Idea-smithy titled ‘What Not To Do‘. As the title suggests, it will relate to things, people and experiences that you’re advised to steer clear of.

WNTD will not be a rantfest. It will, however, draw from my own experiences with brands, service providers and other such commercial entities. The social mediaverse recognizes my voice as a blogger and hopes to leverage it to promote vested commercial interests. When it makes sense to, I’m happy to recommend a promising or good experience. By the same token, I should also pass on information on bad experiences, as warning to my fellow citizens in this space.

I will include a breakdown of what went wrong and when possible, solutions or alternate actions/attitudes that would have prevented/curbed it. I expect I’m going to be ruffling a few feathers and losing a few ‘friends’ off my Twitter following and Facebook ‘likes’ but I’ll risk it.

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