With all services a person can avail at a parlour, ShundorGo is another avenue for on-demand beauty service
It all started with a thought -- one of desire for a more comfortable, efficient approach to self-care. Back in July 2018, Saraf Khan was on her way to the beauty parlour, ready to be made up for her sister’s wedding. Her companions on this lengthy and lonely Uber ride were the countless bags of clothes, jewellery, and shoes. Exasperated, Saraf thought to herself: “What if there was an app or something that would send people to your house to get these services in the comforts of your own home?” At the time, having recently returned to the city, she wasn’t aware of any such services available, so she took it upon herself to make it happen; thus began her journey of ShundorGo, joining the ranks of other established on-demand beauty service platforms for men and women, with operations beginning with full force at the end of 2019.
Saraf grew up in Toronto and Dhaka. She studied journalism at University of Toronto, but chose not to work in that field. Currently based in Dhaka, Saraf says it’s been a scary ride to say the least. “I’ve had to do it pretty much by myself,” she says, “and success hasn’t been the easiest thing to find.”
We decided to delve deeper into the work they do, and what goes into it.
How big is the ShundorGo team? How do you manage operations?
I am the CEO of ShundorGo, and we have an amazing COO and Head of HR and Admin. Also, we have around 60 women as service providers, all of whom have over 10 years of experience, serving across Dhaka city.
What kind of services do you provide?
We deliver all spa and salon services that you would normally get at a parlour to the comforts of your own home. From mani-pedis to hair rebonding, we do it all.
Which platform do you primarily operate through? Do you have plans to launch an app?
Currently, we’re operating primarily through Facebook, and the app is in development. There will be an iOS and Android app for users and an Android app for service providers.
You’ve mentioned that you provide opportunities for women in the field of beauty/personal care to set up their own businesses. What was the process behind finding and recruiting these women? How, in your opinion, has it helped these women, and what plans do you have for them in the future?
The whole idea behind ShundorGo was to promote micro-entrepreneurship for the women and men in the beauty sector of Bangladesh. These people are severely underpaid at salons and have no control of their working hours. With ShundorGo, our service providers choose their own hours; they can build their portfolios through ShundorGo clientele, and it lets them take charge of their lives. Here, they get paid per service and ShundorGo takes a minimal cut -- so you can imagine how it makes a difference, from Tk8,000 a month to sometimes Tk15,000 in a week. They have more financial freedom. Most of them don’t come from happy places, and ShundorGo gives them a chance to do something better and more fulfilling, at a better pay range. The recruitment process is long and thorough; they’re all certified from training centres, and we carefully do background checks as well.
I believe the future is bright for these women, because the beauty sector will never die, women and men will always want services and products. My job is to show them the right way.
Talk us through the prices of the services and packages you offer. How do you set these prices, and how do you make them affordable for the masses?
Put very simply, we charge the same prices as salons. We offer packages for special events like weddings, etc. It’s affordable for everyone. The only difference with ShundorGo is that we provide better products than most other places, in the hopes to inform people that luxury does not have to be pricey.
You provide services for both men and women. How big is your male clientele? Would you say Bangladeshi men’s perspective on self-care is changing?
Men don’t take up a huge portion of the ShundorGo clientele, but they are also the ones getting packages more often than women.
Their perspective is definitely changing drastically. Now, more men believe in self care and grooming than they did before. I have male friends with eight-step skincare routines and men who regularly get massages. Men want to get pampered too, and it’s high time we get rid of the double standards.
As a feminist, I believe in equal opportunities for men and women and there being no double standards when it comes men wanting to feel and look good.
Lastly, what plans do you have for the future with ShundorGo?
ShundorGo has a carefully devised five year plan. I’m looking to launch my own products, build training centres in the rural areas, and do more for the beauty sector in our country. I moved from Toronto to Dhaka to work towards this, and I want ShundorGo to reach great heights.