One of the first references to a beauty salon dates back to the mid-9th century AD, when the Muslim ruler of Cordoba, in Spain, invited the famous singer and musician, Ziryab, from Baghdad, to perform. As it turned out, he also knew the basics of beauty aids and fashion, and opened several beauty salons for aristocratic women. He also demonstrated the art of makeup and a new trend in haircuts – with bangs up to the eyebrows.
At the end of the 19th century, beauty salons, led by a woman, appeared in North America. Martha Matilda Harper, a native of Canada, worked as a servant for 22 years, and learned about the use of herbs for face and skin care. She opened her first beauty salon in Rochester, New York, in 1888. By 1928, there were about 500 salons around the world belonging to Harper. Her success had no equal.
And, while salons had slowly been mushrooming around the globe and India, too, the same cannot be said about Goa, where they were few and far between, as were the customers who frequented them.
THE FIRST PARLOUR
Neomi did a beautician’s course at a salon in Bombay (now Mumbai), and was working at Chiron Salon, at the Centaur Hotel in Bombay, in 1991, where she met Mario, who was a trainee. (They later tied the knot in January 1998).
In the late 1990s, Goa had a salon at Cidade de Goa, Dona Paula, and at a couple of five star hotels. And so, Neomi and Mario Barneto decided to come to Goa and open a unisex salon.
“It was always our passion and dream to be hair stylists and beauticians,” says Neomi and her husband, Mario.
‘Neomis’ Hair and Beauty Salon opened on June 8, 1997 in Miramar, and was quite different from the others in that it was trendy and offered a variety of services to the discerning clientele in a swank ambience. In the beginning, it was a small place with just three chairs and basic equipment, and cost approx Rs 10,00,000.
In less than two years, they extended the salon, and added Neomis Fitness Center, which became as popular as the salon.
“We had no competition at the time, but the challenge was for people to accept us as a unisex and family salon,” says Mario. It did not take too long for the parlour to acquire clients, and soon, Neomis opened a branch in Colva and Calangute and now have seven outlets across Goa – Ponda, two in Calangute (including Le Meridian Hotel), Margao, Panjim (Patto Plaza & Miramar) – and, coinciding with the date of incepting their first salon, inaugurated Neomis in Mapusa on June 8, 2022.
As the trend of good grooming grows, in the next five years, they aspire to open more outlets around Goa.
STAFF, SERVICES & AWARDS
Neomis Salon offers services related to skin health, facial aesthetics, foot care, manicure, aromatherapy, skin health, facial aesthetics, spa therapies, hair-styling and hair related treatments.
The workforce of around 50 male and 70 female employees have to be certified beauty therapists with a Diploma in hairstyling. Neomis also offers a 3-month course for trainees, and retains most of them. The only setback is that many are from out of town, and go on long leave to visit their families back home.
Over the years, several high-end salons have set up shop in Goa. “In order to stay ahead of the competition, our UPS is a qualified staff, impeccable hygiene and use of the best products. As owners, we work on a flow, and it’s important to keep abreast of the emerging beauty and hairstyling trends. We service approximately 200 clients a day. Every six months, we attend refresher courses by Laurel in Japan, Vidal Sassoon in the UK, Tony & Guy in Singapore and Bali,” adds Neomi.
Over the years, Neomi has bagged several awards including Best Woman Entrepreneur Award from Business Goa magazine, Orchids Award for women entrepreneurs and has been featured in several local publications such as Business Goa magazine, Navhind Times, Herald, Gomantak Times Weekender, Salon International (Salon magazine), and Style Speak magazine to name a few.
So, the next time you are looking for a great haircut or beauty treatment in Goa, hop over to any of several branches of Neomis across the state
NAME: Neomis Salon & Spa
LOCATIONS: Panjim (Miramar & Patto), Calangute, Ponda, Margao, Mapusa