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.