If there’s one sport that mirrors Abhit Sud’s ethos in business and life, it is tennis. From the glint in his eye to the quickening in his speech, you can sense the excitement that it still stirs up in the 36- year-old, who has been playing the sport since he was nine.
Says Sud: “I love the fact that I can serve an ace or hit a shot that my opponent can’t reach. The power in the game, the mental and physical fitness that one needs, the control that one needs to exercise – tennis pushes me to the limit.
“Every time I’m on the court, I feel like a kid in school again, en route to winning a tournament.” Sud used to play for his home state of Delhi, India. “It’s not just about winning; it’s about winning big time.”
He’s applying this same competitiveness on the business front, where he has been serving up aces as managing director of Global Wellness Group (GWG).
Never mind that it is his first foray into the beauty business. In three years, Sud says GWG has grown by over 300 per cent with an annual turnover of $100 million. Brands include FIL, Uber-Aesthetic Clinic and Body Contours.
The last 10 months has seen GWG open six clinics in Singapore and expand existing ones in a sluggish economy.
Although his family’s US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) Mayar Group in India deals mainly in commodities, shipping, and paper manufacturing, Sud has been eyeing opportunities in Singapore’s $2 billion beauty business.
After studying the market and acquiring established beauty and wellness brands between 2011 and 2017 – GWG was formed in 2014 to consolidate these acquisitions – he felt it was high time for a luxury medical aesthetics concept to debut in Singapore.
He says: “More general practitioners are turning to the aesthetics practice but people forget that they are not specialists. The market is also being flooded by Chinese, South Korean and Taiwanese skincare technologies, which is driving the quality of treatments down. The real world leaders in medical aesthetics technology are the US, Europe and Israel.”
Two months ago, GWG opened luxury wellness concept Covette Clinic in Ion Orchard. It is touted to be the first and only group in the world with a global medical panel, including Italy’s Dr Roberto Pizzamiglio who created Silhouette Soft sutures, a popular non-surgical treatment that lifts sagging skin, and Prague’s Dr Ondrej Mestak, highly sought after for breast surgery (aesthetic and reconstruction), as well as facial plastic surgery including rhinoplasty and body contouring.
“Every quarter, the panel will meet to discuss new technology/equipment, new protocol for laser treatments, different patient skin types, and improve safety measures,” says Sud.
Covette Clinic has also rolled out by-invitation-only memberships. Besides privileges from fashion and lifestyle brand partners, clients benefit from priority bookings with worldwide medical partners. Members also get to enjoy the use of the clinic’s two penthouses that come with shower and vanity facilities.
Global expansion plans are already well under way. GWG has acquired clinics in London, which will be rebranded as Covette over the next 24 months. It is also looking at opening luxury penthouse clinics, and has shortlisted a space opposite Harrods that overlooks Hyde Park. The latter is slated to operate in June.
Covette will also be partnering Essel Group’s news arm Zee Media Corporation to open four medical centres in New York. Called Yo1 Medical Center – Yo1 is Sanskirt for peak of youth – this group of wellness centres will feature Covette clinics and offer plush accommodation options to clients who require longer downtime after health/beauty treatments.
Locally, GWG will be launching a mobile app that enables clients to purchase credits that can be used across its nine brands. It is also franchising FIL to India and Indonesia.
“I’m still a young entrepreneur with only 12 years of experience. I’m grateful for having tasted success in most of my ventures that I’ve dared to invest in outside of Mayar’s core business. I’m enjoying the ride and the learning process.”