Choblam, a small town in north-west India, has a thriving hair salon and a thriving market.
It was once known as an agricultural village but is now one of the most attractive in the state, with young men flocking to the salons in the hope of attracting a wife and child.
For the past year, it has become the hub of the Chobramaniya Hairdressers Guild, a group of women who organise and run the salon and market.
It is not the first of its kind in India.
In 2014, a similar salon opened in a neighbouring town, Chambal.
The salon opened just two months after the Indian Supreme Court ordered a ban on the sale of hairpieces, a move that led to the closure of the local hair salon, and to the collapse of the hair salon chain.
Today, the salon is run by a group from a village called Guduram, a few kilometres from Chobambal, which is known for its traditional music and music festivals.
“There is a strong community here, especially women.
It’s not easy to get into, but it’s worth the effort,” said Shanti Devi, a 29-year-old student who works there.
She said she had a “love and respect” for the salon.
When asked about the impact of the ban on her business, she said, “It’s not that bad.
I just take my clients there.
They get ready before their appointments and make sure they look good, that’s it.”
The women in the salon said they were keen to get the word out about the salon’s growing business and to educate the public about the business.
At Chambalam, there are around 30 employees and an average of 20 customers a day.
One salon employee, who declined to be named, said, “We want to help the women to make their dreams come true and have a successful business.
We want them to go on a life journey of self-improvement and start their own business.”
The group also wants to ensure that their work is seen by the authorities.
“We want people to see that it’s a safe place to do their work,” said the woman.
“If we are not allowed to do it, then we will not be able to do the job properly.”
While the salon does not have a formal licence, the owner is authorised to run the business as he is an Indian citizen and a member of the union of hairdressing salons.
He is also a member and owner of a nearby shop that sells hair accessories.
Despite the ban, he said, there were a few customers who visited the salon to ask for help. He said, “Some people who come in are very shy and shy people are scared of the salon.
They feel that they cannot trust us.”
Chambalam is an agricultural town with a population of around 2,000, which means there is a lot of demand for the hair of young men.
But many women do not have any confidence in the saloon.
Even when there are visitors from outside, the women said, they often feel uncomfortable.
“There are many men who come here and don’t want to speak to us, and sometimes, the customers even don’t speak to them,” said one of them, who did not want to be identified.
In a community where there are many different communities, there is no such thing as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ hairdressed, said one salon employee.
As for the salont, he hopes that it will not get in the way of his vision.
Choblam was recently named the first town in the country to receive a medal for ‘success in creating jobs and livelihoods for the local community’.