In the Business of Beauty Elizabath Chacko
Elizabath Chacko. Even if the name does not ring a bell, Kochilites young and old alike will be familiar with Kalpana beauty parlour, which is the first beauty parlour in the commercial capital of kerala. The women behind the venture, Elizabeth Chacko 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.
At a time when the term ‘beauty parlour’ itself was unheard of in this part of the country, and when there were barely one of two brands of beauty creams in the market, she introduced people to a new world of beauty culture.
“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 Elizabeth, who has 36-year 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 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-makeup 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 hairdressers, who are considered the best in hairstyling. Elizabeth also started training aspiring beauticians in batches and gave them hands-on experience. And many of them are reputed beauticians in several parts of Kerala. “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 the received excellent training and experience at Kalpana,” she says.
Kalpana was more than a regular beauty parlour where you go for a manicure, pedicure, waxing and facials. They were the pioneers in introducing services like electrolysis, advanced pimple treatment, black head and wart removal and many more.
Her first parlour opened Connaught Place, the second parlour in Chennai at Hotel Ambassador Pallava (known as Sudarshan in those days). She has branches in Ooty and Mysore in Hotel Southern Star. In Kochi, Kalpana has a strong presence in Edapally, Panampilly Nagar and Manorama Junction.
She also uses her own beauty products, which are free from chemicals or preservatives. “I am very particular about hygiene and I make sure that all the instruments used in Kalpana are sterilized. The surroundings have to be clean and tidy.”
Today Elizabeth is on the verge of opening her first Unisex Family Salon catering to families on the first floor, Alliance Residency, Marine Drive, Ernakulam.
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 in manned by highly trained and qualified staff from the North of India, with Elizabeth being actively involved in its day to day operations.
An extensive traveler, she updates herself constantly about all the latest in the beauty business. She shuttles between Kochi and the UK where she resides with her husband.
Elizabeth is not one to rest on her laurels; she is now planning to open her next branch in Dubai.
“I like to train girls and woman to make them look forward to a better life. Girls are meant to bloom like flowers. I try to bring out the best in every woman. I spent time with my clients to understand what they really want. At the end of the day, my client should walk out feeling good about herself,” she signs off.