With innumerable food options, oil and spices in India, people have always been spoilt with choices when it comes to eating. Every two in three people in India are unhealthy, or on the verge of getting some or the other disease. Health is taken for granted and is not given much importance unless the doctor says so.
That is what Vandana Luthra observed back in 1989, when she opened her first wellness centre in New Delhi. Her brand VLCC is one of the biggest names in the beauty and wellness industry now. However, her journey from being a mother to being a Padma Shri recipient is inspiring. Vandana was adamant to start her venture on her own terms. Her husband supported her decision and offered financials for her venture but she took a bank loan instead. This shows the amount of conviction she had to be completely self-made.
Back in time when entrepreneurship and startups were just mere Silicon Valley terms, Vandana established her own brand. She is one of the women pioneers in India who stood against societal norms and established her own brand. VLCC was incorporated as a beauty, slimming, and wellness centre in New Delhi. After giving birth to her elder child, Vandana was well into fitness. As a kid, she always liked to do facials and cutting hair for her mom. She assembled two of her favourite works together and that’s how VLCC was born. Standing against criticism and judgements, Vandana went on to build this huge enterprise with her husband’s support. Her in-laws were a little miffed with the fact that hers was a love marriage, but she never put her family in the back pedal for her career. She took care of her home while managing the business.
VLCC started gaining popularity very fast due to its unique concept and excellent customer service. Vandana always knew that she wanted to establish her company as a clinic and not some glamorous spot. She started interacting with more doctors to better her services, which worked well. As a result, the brand started bringing in more than 60% of work from the doctors. It was not an easy task to convince the medical fraternity about this wellness domain, which took her six years to convince them about its need and her firm’s development.
VLCC Health Care Limited is now a well-known beauty and wellness brand, with branches in Asia, Africa and Gulf Cooperation Council.
Among the numerous challenges that Vandana faced, one major constraint was managing finance to grow her venture in the initial stage. As the concept was new, people had a hard time getting behind it. To add to that, a woman doing something single-handedly seemed just like an extension to her hobby and not a full-fledged business opportunity. But none of these deterred Vandana from her path, instead made her more deterministic to achieve her dreams. Her family and husband were a constant motivation through these tough times.
Vandana believes that the idea was implanted in her mind as a kid when she saw her mother inviting children from nearby slums to watch TV and have refreshments. She decided to add the beauty factor to it. Vandana has been awarded with a Padma Shri, Women Entrepreneur Award, Rajeev Gandhi Women Achiever’s Award to name a few. She considers her employees as her biggest strength and ensures their well-being. She tries to remember the names of every employee, however big or small position they are in. She takes constant feedback from her employees and customers to make VLCC a more comfortable avenue for them.
Vandana’s story is the perfect epitome of what a woman can achieve on her own with a little support from her family. Her story goes on to inspire million other women in our male-dominated country.