Shilpa Shetty's IOSIS spa and wellness chain is branching out to tier-II and tier-III cities. The actress-turned-entrepreneur says the maximum potential for growth lies there as women have the means but feel "guilty" about stepping out of home only to "pamper" themselves. It's a feeling even she relates to as a mother.
Shilpa and her businessman husband have a son named Viaan, who will turn two later this month.
In a freewheeling chat on her recent visit to the capital, Shilpa told IANS: "Despite owning a chain of spas, I call the lady home to get whatever beauty treatment I need!"
"Mumbai's traffic is awful, and rather than spending two hours in reaching a salon, I'd rather spend one hour getting a treatment, and the remaining hour with my son at home. I feel as guilty as any mother about leaving the house or my child to pamper myself," she said, but added that she may not feel as guilty when Viaan is around eight years old.
But largely, she believes change needs to ensue.
"Women need to let themselves go sometimes. Most women get so engrossed in everyday work and home life that they don't realise that they aren't giving themselves any time. Invest it on yourself," said the 38-year-old, who believes women "deserve" it for all that they do.
Shilpa has been part of showbiz for almost two decades, during which she has entertained Bollywood buffs with films like "Main Khiladi Tu Anari", "Dhadkan" and "Life... in a Metro". She gained international recognition after featuring and winning Britain's "Big Brother" reality show in 2007, and she has also been active on the Indian small screen as a judge on reality shows.
IOSIS, the unisex spa and wellness chain she co-owns with Kiran Bawa, came into being in 2009.
Since its modest beginnings in suburban Mumbai in 2009, it has a presence in eight places, including Ghaziabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Chandigarh, Raipur, Guwahati and Hyderabad, and major plans for more are under way.
"As part of the wellness industry, we are conscious of our brand and we are well aware of who we want to cater to. Of course, people in the metro cities need spas, but it's the tier-II and tier-III cities where there's a dearth of good spas.
"Places like Ludhiana and Chandigarh have people with a lot of money, but they don't have access to good wellness places. So, this is a thought carried forward beautifully by my business partner Kiran.
"Women need wellness, but sometimes they just don't know what to do - how to pamper themselves, how to go about it...but I hope we can make them more aware with our efforts," she added.
Meanwhile, Shilpa is also busy handling her other roles - a celebrity, a fitness expert, a co-owner of Rajasthan Royals Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, her latest foray into the jewellery business with Satyug Gold, being a daughter and being a wife and mother!
She lives life almost queen size, with a house manager, helpers and chauffers. Yet she says she's "middle-class" enough to know the "tamaatar ka bhaav (price of tomato)".