Santosh Kumar, the young Managing Director of Starlet Projects is a versatile businessman with a sense of style. The brain behind Paris de Salon talks to Sharmistha Maji
about his journey and reveals his future plans.
A package of good looks, style, terrific business sense and a humble demeanour makes Santosh Kumar a complete entrepreneur. The man owns Starlet Projects Pvt Ltd — a company that is into textiles, construction, furnishing and salons. He has business in his genes, with the 36-year-old family business of Srinivasa textiles. But it is he who has taken their textile business to the next level. Santosh carved a niche for himself by establishing Star Ville and the only award winning salon in Hyderabad — Paris de Salon. He says he plans to expand his business in a major way in the next two-and-a-half years by opening branches of the salon all over India.
Much to my surprise, Santosh was a Gladrags semi-finalist where he grabbed the title for Best Physique in 2003 and pursued modelling in Mumbai where he worked with top notch designers and walked the ramp alongside John Abraham, Aryan Vaid and Jesse Randhawa. But the following year, he decided to come back to his hometown and join his family business to upgrade it. He says, “Even after I quit modelling, I wanted to be associated with fashion in some way or the other. I know textiles are also a part of fashion but I’d been seeing that right from childhood. So I didn’t want to do the same thing. And I travel a lot. When I was in Paris, the idea of having a salon in Hyderabad like the ones there
In 2006, he got into construction and by 2010 he started the salon. He recently got the Paul Mitchell brand of cosmetics to retail from his salon. This Symbiosis post-graduate says, “I’d never expected the salon to be so successful. I’m really glad about the response my salons have received.”
This year Santosh stepped into furnishing and his is the first conceptual furnishing studio in India. It has three kinds of themes — Indian, Indo-Western and European — which makes it easy for a customer to choose what kind of styling he or she wants for their house. It also gives the studio designers a clear idea of the taste of the customer, according to which they guide their clients. He has hired an in-house architect and a fashion designer too to give customers in-depth knowledge of the material. “I want to try out diverse options and keep exploring. I don’t want to get stuck with just one business. So now it’s furnishing but in a few years I want to plunge into other businesses too,” he quips.
Santosh loves travelling and has visited almost 28 countries. New Zealand is his favourite holiday destination. He says, “When I’m here I work every day of the year, but when I need a break, I set off on really long vacations.” He is a huge car freak and his favourite car, he says, is one of the cars he owns, the Porsche Cayenne.