VLCC, a pioneer in the beauty and wellness industry, has announced the rollout of its multi-city ‘Get Well Soon’ program, designed with the objective of providing a healthy life to its varied customers. This program offers specially designed Therapeutic Lifestyle Management Services to tackle lifestyle triggered disorders like Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, PCOS, Cardio Vascular Disease, and Hypertension, which are all becoming increasingly common across age groups. VLCC announced the roll-out of customized packages for each of these diseases and is conducting multi-channel promotions to create awareness buzz and connect with more customers.
Lifestyle disorders are becoming increasingly widespread despite increased health awareness across cities, genders and age groups. Comfort and convenience-seeking sedentary lifestyles, demanding jobs, stressful commutes, and travel, unhealthy eating and sleeping habits have taken a toll on the lives of most city and big-town dwellers. These diseases lead to a slack in productivity and well-being of the affected individual and teams. VLCC’s ‘Get Well Soon’ program and related awareness campaign is a proactive counter-measure to tackle this scenario, as well as help individuals, address the problem of obesity that could be the root cause of most such diseases.
Sharing details about the launch, Mr. Ashutosh Bhardwaj, Chief Business Officer- Wellness Services, VLCC said, “The ever-increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, hormonal, behavioral problems, and obesity are now visible, affecting a majority of people in their early years. Through this program and awareness campaign, VLCC intends to send out a message that lifestyle disorders are entirely preventable and often, even reversible. VLCC will offer a suite of comprehensive therapeutic programs, each specifically designed for a set of related medical conditions to not only improve but also reverse the adverse lifestyle impact on your health. We are confident that elements such as diet, exercise, rest, and relaxation, when combined as a therapy can work wonders in transforming lives for individuals.”
Over the course of its existence over the past three decades, VLCC through its innovative products, services, and campaigns has ensured a healthy contribution to the general well-being of the people. The ‘Get Well Soon’ program will help all individuals enjoy a full, healthy and active life.
It was in Germany that the seeds were sown for my future business. I was accompanying my father on his official trip to Germany where I met his friends – a husband-wife duo running a health centre in that country. Theirs was a great combination, with one being a nutritionist and the other a cosmetologist. They had a great influence on my decision to enter into the business of beauty and wellness. From the start, I was clear in my mind that whatever venture I get into should benefit society and be accessible to all segments. VLCC is a manifestation of that dream. The reason why I started VLCC was to make health and beauty accessible to all. So, my transformation centre is open to everyone who needs any slimming, skin and hair related solution. That’s the reason why most of our centres are located just off the high street, close to residential communities or in community centres within residential colonies.
VLCC had very humble beginnings- starting from a garage. This itself is a fascinating narrative. Along with this, what other challenges did you face?
I started VLCC with a simple dream. I wanted to create an environment where people felt supported and nurtured, where they would be encouraged to achieve their full potential. I envisioned a place that inspired people to be the best versions of themselves, for themselves.
Being an entrepreneur, that too in the late-eighties, was an uphill journey for me. Not only was the beauty and wellness services industry in its infancy, people were unwilling to take my work seriously as I was a woman. While people were familiar with the ubiquitous ‘beauty parlour’, the idea of a holistic wellness solutions provider which combined scientific weight management programmes with advanced skin and hair treatments was new. Being in what was largely an unorganised mom-and-pop shop kind of sector, I struggled to raise capital – private equity was a relatively alien concept, and banks were wary of something that was hardly deemed as scalable and sustainable.
Initially, how did people respond to VLCC and how is the reaction different now.
I had to be persistent and assertive to convince people about the value proposition of my business. It took a while to convince them that my venture had a scalable, sustainable business model. We worked on developing a unique business model for the company, one which is widely used today (especially in the hospitality industry), called infrastructure facility management. That was the turning point in the business. Finally, patience and hard work paid off.
From what age must we begin instilling the notions and importance of wellness in our children? Specifically, what lifestyle habits must we encourage/discourage?
Wellness is not a luxury, it is a necessity. A woman is the role model for her children; if she does not know the importance of nutrition, improve her children’s eating habits and promote an active lifestyle, her children will grow up to have various health problems. Diet and exercise are equally important. But most importantly, people should be educated from childhood, because it’s all about habits. VLCC is a global knowledge brand for wellness.
VLCC has not only been involved in slimming but also transformation. In layman terms, what is the difference between the two?
As an entrepreneur, the challenge during the initial stages was one of perception. People were familiar with beauty parlours but the idea of a Transformation Centre that provides a solution from head-to-toe was perceived as futuristic. At VLCC, we are into complete transformation of people rather than merely targeting slimming or beauty. Just exercising isn’t enough. For me, health equates to happiness, which is equal to being a confident person. And slimming or, rather, looking good boosts confidence.
One of VLCC’s biggest asset is the DNA Fit. How and why was this brought about?
A study on weight management conducted by Stanford University found that people who eat and exercise according to their genetic predisposition tend to lose two-and-a-half times as much weight as compared to those who do not. So, while a low-fat diet might work for some people, others might benefit more by including fat in their diet but going slow on carbohydrates. This explains why two individuals might obtain vastly different results by following a particular diet or weight loss plan even if their body mass index, or BMI, metabolic rate, body composition, lifestyles and dietary habits are more or less similar. This is why individuals on genotype-appropriate diets lose more body weight compared to those on diets not matched to their genotype or on a traditional, one-size-fits-all model. On this premise, VLCC started offering ‘DNA Slim’, a weight loss solution based on the genetic analysis of an individual.
Currently, VLCC is about to launch the Thermage technique. This is brand new for the Bangladeshi market. We want to know how this non-invasive procedure would work.
Thermage is a non-invasive radiofrequency therapy that can address the look and feel of aging skin on many areas of your body. Thermage treatments are customised to your needs, and typically require minimal recovery time. It restores the broken collagen.
How long would it take for the procedure to work?
The results appear only after two or three weeks; they are more permanent than other procedures. It is a great solution if you want your skin to look sleeker, smoother and younger, but can’t afford a lot of time away from work or your social life.
Why is this service going to be important in the long run in terms of a person’s health?
Aging affects us all the way we act, the way we feel, and definitely the way we look. But with advancements in skin care, you can have a say in the way aging affects your skin and maybe even get back to the way you looked not so long ago.
Thermage is a proven, unique radio frequency treatment that can help improve the appearance of sagging or loose skin, giving you a smoother, sleeker and younger look and feel. Thermage works in just one treatment with little down time and delivers a natural looking result. It helps one to look younger and more confident.
With something like Thermage, can there be any negative side-effects?
Cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Thermage uses RF technology to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin in the dermis as well as to contour subcutaneous tissues. Side effects from Thermage are rare and short lived.
If a person is deemed obese, is weight the only factor considered into making this declaration?
We believe that Waist Height Ratio (WHtR) is a better public health screening tool of assessment than BMI. It is a simple metric which even the general population can use to keep track of their health. A Body Composition Analysis which indicates the ratio of fat mass vis-à-vis muscle mass is more important. At VLCC, we have a scientific approach to weight-loss, so our clients not only have fitter bodies, but are also healthier medically. Therefore, timely intervention by experts and sustained lifestyle modifications can bring you a disease-free body for a happy, stress-free life.
Often, a person regains the weight lost through various slimming programmes. How can one prevent that?
Obesity is a lifestyle-related disease which concerns almost everyone, irrespective of age, gender or income group. Sedentary lifestyles, late nights, high intake of calorie-rich fast foods and poor eating habits that include eating late, coupled with a growing gadget addiction, which has led to a lack of physical activity, are the main reasons leading to relapse of obesity. At VLCC, we ensure that our team of nutritionists and fitness experts to work out with laser like precision the most appropriate diet and exercise regime to deliver the best solution for weight loss, fat reduction that help you to retain fitness levels.
What are VLCC’s future plans in Bangladesh?
VLCC has lined up an ambitious expansion agenda for Bangladesh in line with our mission of making preventive healthcare and wellness accessible to all sections of local society.
Nearly one in five married women in Bangladesh is overweight and the occurrence is much higher in urban areas than rural ones. Obesity is also closely linked with diabetes and at present, one in every 11 people, or 8.3 percent of the adult population, is diabetic, putting Bangladesh at the fifth position in global ranking.
Bangladesh is a top priority country for us. In recent years, Bangladesh has been on a robust growth path. With a large middle-income group, the country represents a huge opportunity for beauty and wellness brands like VLCC to further expand its presence to reach a much larger customer base. VLCC will partake in some exciting ventures in Dhaka in the coming days to expand its operations in Bangladesh.
Given that the beauty and wellness sector has traditionally employed more women than men, focusing on skill development in this arena will also contribute in a big way to the cause of women empowerment.
After so many years in operation, how would you describe VLCC’s foray into the Bangladeshi market? Is it faring well?
VLCC is proud to say that we have received overwhelming response from Bangladesh. Over the years, there has been an increasing number of people in Dhaka who want to look good, feel better or maintain a healthy lifestyle. This is great news because obesity is a rising problem everywhere, like an epidemic. So, it is a positive sign that people are starting to address their weight issues.
Beauty and wellness brand VLCC is in the advanced stage of acquiring at least two companies, including a nutraceuticals company, in the near future. The company is looking at relaunching its IPO this year, which it delayed last year owing to market sentiments.
“We are in talks with three companies for acquisition and at least two of them are in (the) advanced stage,” said Vandana Luthra, founder of VLCC. One of the acquisitions would result in the company’s foray into the nutraceuticals business. Talks are on to acquire companies which have a presence in Wellness Services. It also has the acquisition of an international wellness company in its radar.
The acquisitions are meant to expand its portfolio and geographical foot print. It is expecting all the acquisitions to be completed by March, 2018. Luthra refused to share any estimation on the acquisition size, claiming confidentiality.
The company would be looking at going for an IPO before the end of 2017. It may be noted that last year the company had filed a draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) to raise a total of around Rs 600 crore through an IPO. However, the IPO was not executed since the company felt that the market sentiments were not good. It will refile the DRHP soon and will go for an IPO in the later part of the year.
It had acquired Singapore-based Giving in 2013, which brought in a research and development and manufacturing facility for the company overseas. In 2012, it acquired a majority stake in a Malaysian slimming and beauty chain Wynn International, as part of its international expansion. In India, it has a manufacturing facility in Dehradun.
The company is in the process of setting up another facility in Assam. The new facility will manufacture hair-care and other major products it offers to around 2 lakh retail stores across the country, apart from direct distribution to Beauty Parlors and salons across the country.
The new facility will come up in Matia, Goal Para district in Assam, with an investment of around Rs 28 crore in the unit. The unit is set over an area of 100,000 square ft. with the capacity to produce 86.41 million units. The facility will be ready in three months.
It is also increasing the number of wellness centres across the country, adding 100 more centres to the existing roster of 330 centres in 150 cities. It has a presence in 13 countries in South Asia, South East Asia, the GCC region and East Africa and it is in the process of expanding to the UK and Saudi Arabia, added Luthra.
The company is expecting a consolidated revenue of Rs 1,000 crore during the current financial year, growing from over Rs 800 crore revenue last year. The contribution of domestic business is around 60 per cent, while international business accounts for 40 per cent of the revenue.
Freight rates for very large crude carriers (VLCCs), which are hovering close to the multi-month highs hit last week, are set to soften ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays, ship brokers said on Friday. “It is just a question of time when the market drops down, although there is still scope for the market to top,” a European supertanker broker said on Friday.
Strong levels of chartering activity – with around 70 open market fixtures in the last week – had reduced the number of supertankers available for charter. Continued firm fixing early next week could push charter rates higher, brokers said. “West Africa has been taking quite a lot of ships,” the European broker said.
Chinese charterer NPI paid 74 on the World scale to hire the 314,249 dead-weight tonne (SWT) VLCC, DHT Sundarbans for a voyage from the Middle East to the NPI refinery at Yingkou, chartering data on the Reuters Eikon terminal showed. That was four World scale points higher than the prevailing index level. Brokers said NPI paid the premium because it had a prompt loading date.
“Rates have plateaued. I feel about 80 percent of the programmer for December lifting has been fixed. There could be last-minute frenzy but I don’t think it will happen because traders close their books on December 15,” said Ashok Sharma, managing director of broking house BRS-Baxi (Far East) in Singapore. “I have a feeling the market is going to drift down,” Sharma added.
Rates are being supported by lower levels of new vessel deliveries as owners defer taking new ships from December to January so vessels appear they were built in 2017 rather than 2016. The flurry of new buildings expected to be delivered in January would put pressure on rates then, Sharma said. “Rates in the Middle East were very dependent on the type (age) of ships and destinations with spreads as high as 15 World scale points between older and the newer vessels,” Norwegian ship broker Fernley said in a note on Wednesday.
With sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy food habits, obesity is becoming an increasingly large problem in urban areas. In India, several studies have shown that obesity is an immense problem; the prevalence of obesity amongst adolescents has grown from 16% to 29% over the last five years and India has been named third most obese country in the world.
It’s for this reason that several organizations have begum initiatives to raise awareness about Obesity. Today, for instance is anti-obesity day which traces its roots back to 2001 when VLCC, a wellness brand began an anti-obesity initiative. Today, anti-obesity day receives coverage across Indian media.
Since one of the main causes of obesity is an improper diet – along with a lack of physical activity and genetic factors – we thought we’d share some information about how to prevent the onset of obesity through a diet as well as how to prevent putting on more weight if you are obese.
SKIP THE SUGAR
One of the most commonly agreed upon weight-loss diet strategies is to cut out sugary drinks, sweets and other foods with processed sugars. According to the World Health Organization, “The calories provided by sugar-sweetened beverages have little nutritional value and may not provide the same feeling of fullness that solid food provides. As a result, total energy intake may increase which can lead to unhealthy weight gain.”
Sugary drinks include soft drinks and artificial fruit juices as well as fruit juice concentrates. Additionally, steer clear of sweets and sugar laden desserts like cakes and sweet pies.
A LOW CARB DIET
While low fat diets may typically be considered a better way to say goodbye to extra fat, much research suggests the benefits of a low card diet instead. This is based on the logic that when digested, carbohydrates produce glucose which are used as energy. If one cuts down on the amount of carbohydrates they eat, the body will start getting the glucose its needs from stored fat.
A low carb diet plan includes cutting out wheat products, highly processed foods, low fat products, some tubers and starch based foods like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, French fries, potato chips and muesli. Instead, fill up on meats, eggs, vegetables, full fat dairy, nuts and berries.
INCREASE YOUR PROTEIN INTAKE
To replace the carbohydrates, you’re cutting out, fill up on meats and dairy instead. However, try to avoid red meat and processed meats in favour of poultry, as high levels of red meat has been found to be detrimental to heart health. Additionally, poultry and lean meats have been found to be better when it comes to weight control as compared to red meats.
HAVE SMALLER, MORE FREQUENT MEALS
You’ve probably heard this before; eat five meals a day instead of three. However, have smaller portions for each meal. The logic is that the smaller the meal, the fast your metabolism will be. With a faster metabolism, your food will be converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.
By making these simple changes to your diet and exercise (even if it’s just walking for twenty minutes each day), you can cut down on the risk of Obesity or begin to battle it if you’re already obese.
John Wanjohi weighed 80.3 Kg and had been diabetes medication for over 7 years. It has taken a toll over his thoughts, health and financial life. Wanjohi had been a gym fanatic for over 20 years but had no idea that the management of his weight and diet was the solution to his diabetic condition.
Eventually, he decided to improve the quality of his life by enrolling for a weight loss and spot reduction program at VLCC Wellness Centre. That was in April 2015. This was to manage his weight loss, diabetes and ultimately transform his UN-managed diet.
He began his journey by doing a complete body composition analysis that gave detailed results that included among others; his body weight, body fats and his metabolism.
His weight started dropping day after day. In 10 weeks, he had lost 10 kilograms! He dropped the flabby fat on his neck, chest and waist. He began to feel more confident and energized from the daily meal plans. He was able to stop the medication and his blood sugar went back to normal after the lifestyle modification at VLCC.
The Scientific weight loss program included appliance sessions for improved blood circulation and nerve stimulation, diet modification customized to his metabolic rate and personalized work out sessions. His nutritionist, Diana Baru explained at length and in detail, the consequences of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and the importance of healthy eating choices and regular exercise.
Through the Program Wanjohi feels a completely new and transformed person and he recommends anyone who has weight/lifestyle condition to join VLCC which has an awesome team dedicated in guiding clients on how to transform their lives.