The glamorous world of Bollywood fashion is one that has traversed boundaries, both geographical and cultural. The distinctive style has now become the latest fad for Saudi women.
Royal Salon in Jeddah has begun capitalizing on the recent flurry of interest in emulating the glamor associated with the thriving movie industry and now caters to customers coming in looking for the ultimate Bollywood actress makeover.
“Saudi women are very glamorous by nature,” remarked Shabnam Naz, the general manager and owner of Royal. “They tend to spend a lot of money on fashion and beauty. We have many Saudi clients coming in, expecting us to make look like popular Bollywood actresses. This may be because our salon is in Al-Aziziyah, which is well known for the number of Pakistanis and Indians residing here.
“It is all because of media. Bollywood actresses have become the main fashion role models of glamor-seeking Saudi and expatriate women. We facilitate them with Bollywood-style cosmetic applications, according to their wishes.”
Naz added that the stylists at her salon are also “proficient” in Saudi or Arab hair and make-up styles. “Clients can get any look they want in Royal.”
Almost two decadeS ago, Naz decided to open this salon to both introduce the South Asian culture to Saudi society and promote Saudi beauty and style trends among expatriate women. She was already a qualified beautician, so her husband supported her to start a beauty salon as a wedding anniversary present.
“It proved to be an absolutely great idea in every manner. It was required here to revolutionize the style trends at the time,” she said. “People like change. So a salon like Royal was needed here to provide Bollywood-inspired fashion and style with high-class facilities and a glamorous environment.”
A large number of Saudi clients in Royal are those who are linked to India and Pakistan in some way, perhaps by their ancestral roots. “Many of our Saudi customers speak Urdu and they already know about Subcontinental fashion. Hence, it becomes easy to deal with them as they understand the specific trend they are looking to adopt. There are also others who need to be taught about the South Asian style. They usually call it the ‘Hindi’ or Indian way,” Naz explained.
This entrepreneur also runs a boutique within the salon. “Most Saudi and Arab clients ask for the ‘sari’, but many of them have no idea how to wear it! Since we have a tailoring facility, we prepare a ready-to-wear version of the dress for them. It is like wearing a skirt,” she added.
The boutique boasts of a good collection of all types of formal as well as casual wear. “Women like buying clothes from Royal because we can tailor the dress for them in a women-only environment,” Naz said. “They feel comfortable dealing with women staff and we have expert tailors who are proficient at making South Asian and other styles of dresses.”
Perhaps not many people are aware of this, but Royal also caters to those expatriate South Asian women who are looking to adopt a uniquely Saudi style. “As I said, people like change, so many expatriate women enjoy wearing Saudi dresses. I believe that sharing cultures is the best way to boost relations between different societies,” she added.
Naz believes that the best quality of a good beautician is to satisfy the customer. “I believe in honesty and care, whether in my home or at work in the salon,” she said. “A good businesswomAn is one who gives sufficient time to both her business and her home.”
Hygiene is a major factor for any salon. “Cleanliness does not just mean that a place is neat and clean,” Naz remarked. “It is also about the equipment and tools we use in our salon to cater to our clients. It is the matter of our own sincerity and will to provide good services to women.”
She added that the biggest challenge is during the rush hour. “Clients are not usually very patient. They want to be attended to as soon as they enter the salon. In such cases, I personally deal with the situation. Handling women, who have their own choices and expectations, is not so easy.
“Experience and proficiency have made me capable of dealing with every possible situation. Women want our services because they trust us and excellent service is the only way to cope with competition.”
According to her, the month of Ramadan and the start of the summer holidays are both peak seasons for business. “Ramadan is special because women start preparing early for Eid, while the summer holidays are the wedding season.”
Services provided include skin procedures like facials, bridal make-up and haircuts. “I try my best to keep introducing all those new and improved beauty trends that a good salon must provide to its customers,” Naz said. “Mostly, we deal with brides and we have many customers for our special ‘gold facial’.”
“Every woman who enters Royal is special for us. We try to help her with the best advice for her to improve how she looks. We also help women to stay fit, healthy and smart. In response, their love and interest in Royal, encourage me to further groom and extend my business.”
Naz also offers a three-month beautician training course to women. “It’s actually a one month training course with diploma. But the student is offered to work in the salon for two months for practice,” she explained. She added that daily interaction with women also gives her an opportunity to get God’s blessings by doing some social work. “Women usually ask me to find a match for their sons and daughters for marriage. I don’t mind helping them by suggesting matrimonial matches for free. Whatever I do, I believe that it is all for the benefit of human beings. So, at the end of the day, it gives me lots of pleasure and internal satisfication. I feel like I am living with a goal.”
Royal beauty salon is located on Amir Abdul Majeed road in Al-Azizyah, right next to the Salt and Pepper restaurant. It is open from 10 A.M. to 11.30 P.M. Saturday to Thursday and from 4 P.M. to 10 P.M. on Fridays.