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A 9-step guide to starting your beauty brand by female entrepreneurs

Starting a beauty brand is similar to developing the ideal skincare routine. They both need time, dedication, and a lot of trial and error. A promising league of beauty brands by women has emerged in the industry in recent years, and this surge of female-founded businesses inspired us to think, “I want to do that.” Here, we asked some of the industry’s championed female entrepreneurs to share their insights on starting a beauty brand.

A step-by-step guide to starting a beauty brand by industry professionals

The marketplace, which was formerly dominated by a few prestige brands and multi-national firms, is now seeing a continual infusion of fresh ideas, formulations, and ideologies. The emergence of ingredient-conscious beauty, strong influencer support, and more have led to an exponential increase in the options available to the end consumer. It is an exciting moment to be in the industry, but more variety may also contribute to product burnout.

Here, we tell you how these female entrepreneurs are breaking the glass ceiling (and the bias), as well as the best tips they shared with us.

Step 1: Create an original idea for a beauty brand

When you have a passion for something and can figure out a way to monetise that, is when your ideas are great. For your idea to be sellable, it has to be authentic and solution-based.

 

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A post shared by asa (@asabeautyindia)

“Beauty is rooted in identity—amplifying who the consumer is and helping them become who they want to be. Choose products that are good for not just your skin and body but also for the community, the earth and humanity. Brands that spread a message of inclusivity, individuality, and self-expression win,” said Asha and Sukriti, co-founders of asa Beauty.

Shubhrata Anil, founder of Trikuta Oils, told us that her line’s point of difference is that the ingredients are naturally derived. “The beauty industry all across has something great to offer. Our USP lies in the fact that we extract and sell pure nut oils from the hills and valleys of J&K. People know our state for many things, and dry fruits are one of the most selling products of our state. However, not many people know that nut oils coming from these exotic nuts are great for hair and skin, and hence we brought something new to the beauty industry by bringing these oils and not any cosmetics.”

Work out what an authentic beauty brand looks like for you. Before investing time and money in a futile venture, it is critical to demonstrate the need for what you intend to make. Conduct market research, note the information about competitors and what the marketplace can offer in demand. 

Step 2: Learn about the challenges one is expected to face while starting their brand

Growing businesses confront a variety of challenges. As a business expands, changing issues and possibilities necessitate various solutions; what worked a year ago may no longer be the ideal strategy. Recognising the hazards of growth is critical if your brand is to thrive.

 

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A post shared by Enn Beauty India (@ennbeautyindia)

Nandeeta Manchandaa of Enn Beauty explained, “An extremely competitive market is one thing insistent on becoming an obstacle for your brand’s success. There already exist loads of well-established, well-marketed brands that serve as a competition to a brand that is just starting.” She also feels that branding your product in a way that appeals to your target audience and stands out on the shelves is another challenge. Adding to this problem is getting adequate and hassle-free finance for the growth of your brand.

Asha, co-founder of asa Beauty, said, startups tend to face challenges when they set ‘unrealistic expectations’. “In order to succeed in a competitive business world, startups need to have high but controlled expectations, keeping view of the resources available, the extent of growth potential, and other market factors.”

“I believe that challenges make you stronger. They help you focus deeper and find innovative solutions,” added Sukriti, co-founder of asa Beauty.

Step 3: Put in the legwork and research to ensure your products will do well

”The beauty market is rapidly increasing, which means that consumers have an infinite number of options. Before making a purchasing decision, they usually conduct research that includes social media and peer opinions. You sometimes may not know what would do well; all you need to know is your products, the season, the need of the hour, what’s missing and how the gap can be filled,” said Anusha Dandekar, co-founder of BrownSkin Beauty. Standing out from the competitors entails not just providing a unique and effective product but also making some form of social impact in the process.

Sukriti, co-founder of asa Beauty commented, “With a combination of naturally and ethically sourced ingredients and sustainable packaging, we intend to provide global Indian with an aesthetically pleasing luxury experience that has never been offered before.”

“Great quality and of course inclusiveness, not just for all brown skin but also affordability, sustainability all of it. Put in the work because if you know YOU will use your products, so will your customers”, Anusha added.

Step 4: Find the right type of investors/business partners

You’ve got your big idea, but now you need funding to make it a reality. Pitching is an extremely nerve-racking activity. You’re often in a room full of individuals you need to persuade.

 

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A post shared by Nish Hair Extensions (@nishhair)

“Find business partners and investors that have a vision that matches yours and wants to make a difference to the community. Once you start the business, put in your hard work and have investors reach out to you,” suggested Parul Gulati, founder of Nish Hair. Prove to them that you have a unique perspective or advantage in the category in which you’re creating.

Step 5: Surround yourself with a team you trust

Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. All of your judgments may come from following your instincts, but it’s not always as simple as that, so surround yourself with people who will be honest with you.

Anusha Dandekar said, “I have learnt so much on the way. It’s a lot of trying and testing, and I don’t just mean with ingredients, but also finding people who are as passionate and willing to be invested in building our brand with all that comes with it from great products to our pioneering change in the beauty narrative. The only way we will keep growing is when we know the people in our team show their hard work, and their network becomes BSB’s net worth!”

Consumers nowadays are wiser, and their preferences have evolved. As a beauty brand, you must adapt to this shifting market. To stand out, you must identify your niche, fine-tune your marketing, and create a high-quality product that combines science and technology while integrating into their general lifestyle. To meet consumer expectations, you must build a strong team capable of delivering in all of these areas.

Step 6: Identify industry trends

While some choose to be the industry’s trendsetters, others prefer to stay updated with the trends. The founder of India’s first and only professional luxury haircare brand, Sargam Dhawan of Tressmart, told us, “Certain trends have always pushed the beauty industry forward, and like all successful beauty retailers across the world, we are also always looking at enhancing our customer experience, be it through innovative beauty products, clean beauty or personalised skin and hair care.”

 

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Anusha Dandekar’s brand wants to be the trendsetter in the best and most responsible way. “I wanted BrownSkin Beauty to create its natural trend. I just wanted to switch the narrative with not only embracing our beautiful natural brown tone but also accepting our flaws, educating our people on brown skin problems and normalising them.”

Nidha Adeni, founder of Cinnamon Soul, a body care brand believes, “Today’s millennials are looking for a product that understands their concerns. Hence beauty brands should find insightful solutions. Our challenge was finding a daily body care product that uses plant-derived ingredients but marries the scent profile so that you don’t feel like you are missing something or giving up on an experience when compared to other mainstream brands.”

Step 7: Create a digital strategy for your beauty brand

The pandemic has caused many changes in consumer behaviour, particularly in the beauty industry. In-store retail sales are no longer performing as well as e-commerce beauty portals, owing to highly successful global digital marketing strategies.

Sargam Dhawan stated, “Social media is not only an affordable advertising method as compared to traditional methods, but it can also build brand value and generate sales. It provides a fun and convenient way for beauty brands to not only increase recognition but also have real people give testimonials and review products whilst getting more information on what their consumers want.”

One of the plus sides of social media is that it’s an amazing way of connecting with people and showing them your work. It’s an extension of yourself, as well as your portfolio. Also, constantly talking to people in the field about what you’re doing is a great way to connect with a like-minded community.

Parul Gulati shared she is a believer in showing the good, bad and ugly to her Nish hair customers. “Rewarding your customers goes a long way always, so doing giveaways and being grateful to your loyalists is something that we must do,” she added.

Step 8: Keep problem-solving goals in mind

Growing up in the beauty industry can be both rewarding and terrifying. The beauty industry has a slew of issues, ranging from products to their impact on mental health. Beauty brands must learn how to navigate around problems in the beauty industry and encounter them head-on.

For any brand, it is important to always solve a bigger problem and give a long-term solution. “Nish Hair makes human hair products that are chemical-free, so being conscious of the environment is our top priority. We believe in a healthy and sustainable future and will always try and do our bit to make it so,” said Parul Gulati.

Whereas, as far as beauty products are concerned, asa Beauty aimed to also lessen the scarring impact that the beauty and skincare industry leaves on the environment in terms of carbon footprints. Thus, their philosophy was to move away from mindless consumption to a more purposeful lifestyle. “With a commitment towards sustainability, our products are created using performance-driven and clean formulations using natural ingredients.”

It’s important to have a small carbon footprint baseline so that you can continually work on reducing the impact from thereon.

Step 9: Price your products right

Pricing not only determines profit after costs and customer preferences but can also suggest the quality or exclusivity of the beauty brand. Customers are responding emotionally to brands, which is why they are willing to pay a higher price for particular branding or characteristics regardless of the markup price. Beauty brands are becoming more transparent about costs as customers demand transparency in terms of product costs and ingredients, creating a greater need to find the best price for your beauty products.

For instance, for a brand like Trikuta Oils, the pricing of the products depends on the crop and the current rate of the nuts. “Since we can really keep dynamic rates though the crop is seasonal and the rates of all these nuts change as per the produce, we fixed them as per the sourcing, extraction and packaging processes which go into it,” said founder Shubhrata Anil.

All Images: Courtesy Pexels

Anushka Narula
Anushka likes to write about fashion, beauty, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she likes to make her Pinterest boards come to life.
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