Dr. Elizabeth Chacko : THREE cheers to innovative Spirits of Strength!
When Dr. Elizabeth Chacko embarked on her journey as a beautician 40 years ago, there were almost no other counterparts available in the state for her. It was indeed a fancy thing to go to a beauty salon, and not a necessity like today. The orthodox community, then, resisted the new generation who opted to groom themselves going to the parlour. Dr. Elizabeth’s contribution in transforming an entire generation’s mindset is commendable. She took initiative to talk with and had sessions with the older generation which resisted the move. She convinced them to come over to the parlours and get themselves undergo beauty treatments for good. Dr. Elizabeth was successful in conveying the right message in a very right way. She was indeed ahead of her time – a true pioneer in the field of beauty. She was a visionary and an equally smart businesswoman, who strived hard to make her dreams come true. She considers it a blessing that her parlour was full up from the day one. The role of Dr. Elizabeth, who bring a paradigm shift into the thinking of an entire society, is commendable – which then led to a plethora of women joining her work force. Kalpana Beauty Parlous is the only beauty parlour which has persisted and sustained the twists and turns the sector has suffered over these years. The tremendous effort put behind it is indented to the upliftment of women community across the state. Kalpana Beauty School has trained more than 2000 students, and Kalpana beauty Salons have employed more than 3000 staff in the tenure of 40 odd years. We can find in every other beauty parlour at least one representation from Kalpana Beauty Salon. The salary and the quality are above par than any other competitors around. Kalpana has equipped hundreds of women to independently stand on their own – some have started their own beauty parlours branching out successfully and some others fruitfully work in other parlours with excellent skills Kalpana has instilled in them. We can find a lot of women who have migrated abroad, after working with Kalpana or studied in Kalpana Beauty school. Kalpana Beauty Salon is thus a guaranteed name which has empowered and uplifted the women community in Kerala, with their foresight and dedicated vision. Dr. Elizabeth had a prudent vision, from the time she brought in the Chinese batch from Calcutta. The concept was principal enough to simulate like globalization.
She has now equipped her very talented daughter, Sara Kurien, to carry forward her legacy with the ethics that she has upholded all these gallant years with the prestigious Kalpana. Sara, after her graduation, upon her mother’s advice, took ample experience from hospitality and beauty industries and now runs some of the branches of Kalpana Beauty Hub. Sara says, “I’ve seen the hard work my mother put in her business, from the time I opened my eyes from the inception stage. I literally grew up in our parlours. It was not easy back then when we had to make do everything from flower bouquets to sarees by ourselves. Women are beautiful, no matter what their size, shape or skin tone is. Malayalee women have an amazing skin tone. I see women of different character and strength during my day to day work life here. I see three generations of clients – clients who carried me around as a baby, and now I cater to their daughters and granddaughters.”
While Dr. Elizabeth specialized on Cosmetology, Ms. Sara specialised on HR and People management. Ms. Sara is so proficient to quickly identify who does a good service or not. She makes sure that the clients feel much comfortable so the loyalty stays mutual.
Tia, Sara’s daughter is now doing her finance, and likes to travel the world, work in some reputed companies, and gain experience, to come back and helm the show later. She looks forward to go for adventure trips, do apprenticeship, work pro-actively, learn people and understand things from basics. Ms. Tia is now into dance, sports and cooking specialities.
“Today, there is no sense of guilt when spoiling oneself. There is more spending power and independence. However, when I started the beauty business, it was not so,” reminisces Dr. Elizabeth, who has 40 plus years expertise in the beauty business. Educated in British Oakgrove School, Mussorie, and Jesus Mary College, Delhi, she went on to do a two-year course in electrolysis and cosmetology to the USA. She indeed pioneered the wedding concept in Kerala – that beauticians make a big difference to a bride on her special day. “Kalpana is the first to have total wedding packages – make up and dressing – for the bride and her entourage, bouquets, car decoration etc,” she adds.
And, that is not all. She has many other firsts to her credit. Apart from opening the first beauty parlour, she brought in Chinese hair dressers, who are considered the best in hairstyling. “What gives me immense joy is to be invited to the beauty parlours opened by my students. If they are all independent and doing well today, it is because they have received excellent training and experience at Kalpana,” she says. The family beauty salon has been very tastefully and elegantly done up in contemporary style to offer its clients the best and the latest beauty care services in privacy and comfort. The salon is manned by highly trained and qualified staffs from the North of India, with Dr. Elizabeth being actively involved in its day to day operations. An extensive traveller, she updates herself constantly about all the latest in the beauty business. A phenomenal travel enthusiast, she shuttles between Kochi and the UK where she used to reside with her husband. She is very keen to learn new technologies and trends and adds those onto her state-of-the-art salons across the state. Dr. Elizabeth, Sara and Tia are very exposed to global culture. Worship is a support they fall back onto. These three women proves to the world that you can excel in anything that you put your heart into. Passion on what you do is what takes you ahead. Winning against the odds is their real forte.
• The first Beauty Parlour to be Opened at The Southern Naval Command, Cochin is Kalpana’s
• Kalpana School trained all know-hows and was instrumental in developing lives of 2000 plus women students
• More than 3000 employees employed by Kalpana Beauty Salons during these years
• First Health Club of Kerala
• Started Budget Parlour for ladies at Cochin who could affordless
• First of florists in Kerala
• First of Wedding/event planners in the state
• First of Flower-arrangement specialists for the 5 star categories’ hotels in the state
• Free wedding and make-up services to poor who cannot afford these services
• Conducting Social Responsible Events/Programmes for upcoming talented girls
• Charitable activities to help the poor on a daily basis
• Collaborates with Programmes/Shows run for girls
• Successfully branched out into the Middle East