How did SUGAR Cosmetics started? Also shed light on your entrepreneurial journey so far?
SUGAR Cosmetics enteredthe India market in mid-2015 with premium beauty products that were designed to be high on style and higher on performance.With striking shades that perfectly suited every Indian skin tone,the brand led the industry movement towards “mattes” with its cult-favourite range of Matte Liquid Lipsticks and equally popular Matte Eyeliners.
My journey with SUGAR Cosmetics has been trulyphenomenal. We have seen accelerated growth in both retail and online channels over the last 12 months and have expandedour overall product range to nearly 230+ products. Some of the category-first notable innovations that the brand has launched in the country include:
In addition to the above, SUGAR Cosmetics has grown 5 times in the last 12 months and is on track to cross revenues of 100 Crores in the next fiscal year. Over the last 12 months, the company has expanded its retail presence at an aggressive pace from 87 to 400+ retail touchpoints which include self-operated kiosks, general trade stores and shops-in-shop in channel partners like Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Health & Glow, Project Eve and more. SUGAR shipped 5+ million products in the last year and scaled its online website (www.sugarcosmetics.com) sales 2.5 times in the same duration making the website the most-selling brand-owned channel in the country. SUGAR currently reaches 10+ million beauty enthusiasts in the country and has generated 500+ jobs in the industry till date – a number which is expected to double in the coming year.
From a range of crush-worthy shades for lips and foundations that are infinitely blendable with every skin tone, to intensely pigmented kohls and alluring nail lacquers, the brand has now become a cult favourite among Indian millennials.
What is your take on current color cosmetics market in India in overall beauty and wellness market? What are the consumption trends in this segment?
We’re fortunate to get an opportunity to serve one of the fastest-growing colour cosmetics markets in the world and if reports are to be believed, we should expect double-digit grown over the next 6-7 years. I think this trend is largely driven by the increased presence and use of colourcosmetics across social platforms that are popular amongst the millennials and those even younger. Lips will continue to dominate as a category with the market warming up to using multiple lip shades in the same day – subtle shades during day/office wear that transition to bolder colours for evenings/nights. Eye and Face continue to be popular and we’re seeing a distinct shift in preference for matte eyeliners whereas historically the market only had glossy products on offer. Among colour cosmetics for the face, we expect and hope to see more brands launch wider shade ranges that actually cater to all the many shades of the Indian skin tone. One of our hottest selling products is our Ace Of Face Foundation Stick, that we have actually launched in 22 shades – which is a testimony to how inclusive SUGAR is and believe the entire industry should be.
Kindly shed light on your product categories and distribution points. Also, going forward what would the strategy to scale up the distribution? Also shed light on your pricing strategy?
SUGAR Cosmetics product category ranges from Lips, Eyes, Face& Nails to provide makeup that best suits the Indian skin tone.The range extends from liquid lipsticks to crayons, lip primers to eyebrow definers, setting mist to cleansing water, nail lacquers, blushes, highlighters and more.
The brand operates a strong distribution network that reaches 10+ million beauty enthusiasts across the country via digital and physical platforms. Our single largest platform continues to be our own brand website which is proof of the love and trust that our customers repose in us. We also have a strong presence across other beauty platforms such as Nykaa, Amazon, Flipkart, etc. On the retail front, SUGAR currently sells through 400+ self-operated kiosks, general trade stores and shops-in-shop in channel partners like Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Health & Glow, Project Eve and more. In line with our vision of scaling up distribution - the start of this year has already seen the launch of our first exclusive store in Kolkata and we are slated to launch our next in Bangalore in a few weeks. With increasing repeat purchases and incredible feedback from the market, the team is very focusedonrapidly scaling our physical presence with a mission of reaching the doorstep of every makeup user in the country.
Our products are priced extremely attractively for the supernormal value every SKUs provides when compared to others in the market. As a policy, we spend 10X the time of obsessing about the value every product of ours develops than what we spend on benchmarking and finalizing prices – and over the last three years, our audience has proved time and again that SUGAR, as a brand, will always continue to deliver far more value than what any of its products is priced at, irrespective of what the price range is.
What are the major operational challenges in your retail category?
Our challenges are similar to what other brands face in this industry – whether it’s our e-commerce business or Retail – managing the credit cycle is key to keeping the working capital cycle to a bare minimum to ensure efficient capital use and rotation. We have set up a separate unit that not only monitors this on a daily basis but proactively intervenes to help our general trade partners manage their finances more efficiently.
At last, kindly highlight your growth plans?
SUGAR Cosmetics is growing exponentially.We recently opened our first exclusive store in India in the beautiful city of Kolkata and the second one is about to come up in the IT hub - Bangalore. We will continue to scale our presence aggressively across the length and breadth of India and bring our much-loved range to the doorstep of all our fans.