Home > Beauty & Grooming > A step-by-step guide on how to launch a beauty brand in India in 2022 by Simrita Dhillon
A step-by-step guide on how to launch a beauty brand in India in 2022 by Simrita Dhillon

Business expert, Simrita Dhillon shares her experience and tips on how to launch and establish a beauty brand in India.

The beauty industry is booming. From Falguni Nayar of Nykka becoming India’s wealthiest self-made female billionaire to MyGlamm’s status as a unicorn company, 2021 has seen rapid growth of homegrown beauty companies. And while, business is good, entering and establishing yourself in the beauty industry is no mean feat. We get Simrita Dhillon, founder of SANDA and a business expert who has been instrumental in helping various beauty brands launch in India to talk about the business of beauty.

“In light of the swift digitisation of businesses, a considerable impact was observed on the beauty and skincare industry that transformed India’s retail landscape. It not only made brands leverage the power of digital media to shape brand perception but also helped them understand how the Indian consumer is willing to consider new names in the market. Owing to this, a myriad of D2C beauty brands rose to the surface taking desirable advantage of the digital sphere, e-Commerce platforms and large follower base of influencers on Instagram, YouTube and other social media platforms,” shares Dhillon.

Global D2C Indie-brands have undeniably paved their way into the limelight in the recent decade. Taking the example of giant brands – Shani Darden, Nabla Cosmetics and Mellow cosmetics, Simrita Dhillon helps us understand how one can identify and fill the gaps in the market.

Simrita Dhillon uses 3 indie-brands to illustrate how to launch a beauty brand in India:

Darden and the power of a unique formula

Darden implied the knowledge she gathered working on people with all kinds of skin conditions in her product. This helped her come up with a kind of formula for her gentle Retinol Serums that had never been in the market before. To have come up with a product that was different from all of its counterparts definitely gave it an edge over the competition. In a way, she gave her customers what they asked for, and with any brand that stands to keep its customer interests in mind, it is surely keeping the Indian consumer behaviour in check. Shani Darden provides custom-made formulas according to the preference and exact necessities of the skin types of its customers. Indian customers tend to practically swoon over solutions that aim right at their areas of complaint.


Nabla Cosmetics and the magic of the beauty influencers

Nabla Cosmetics on the other hand strives to provide a wide range of skin-friendly beauty products to its customers with the help of its global marketing approach. Their merits lie in providing high-quality cosmetics at an affordable price. They choose to boost their sales effectively, via beauty influencers and their large follower base – something an average Indian beauty consumer seeks to foster their buying decision.


Mellow Cosmetics and the importance of packaging

Mellow Cosmetics started in a tiny garage with only four products. It proceeded to see the light of success with its exceptional marketing attitude and way of focusing on cliental demands. Besides the quality of the product, the founder Ima Asali, pays close attention to the packaging as she realises people want something that looks good on their shelves and vanity. A strong point for cruelty-free cosmetics and a strong point for purchase from the viewpoint of an eCommerce site where the buyer cannot actually test out the product physically.

“Just like these brands, a brand with an interest in the Indian market can capitalise on the fact that Indian consumers are always looking for brands that offer a customised solution and cater to their aspirational quotient,” adds Dhillon.

Tips on launching a beauty brand in India, according to Simrita Dhillon:

1. Creating the ecommerce ecosystem

DTC beauty brands have chosen to develop a dedicated website in order to connect with its customers and introduce their products to their target group of audience in India. Owning a digital real estate dedicated for Indian consumers helps keep track of the SKUs that perform positively in the market and at the same time share insights in the consumer journey while on the website. An added benefit that comes with this investment is that the business owners get access to customer information and generating that can further be the directing means of future business decisions.

The brand’s website address also links to ecommerce sites wherein the customer gets the liberty to effortlessly shop from any site that they are registered on. The sites make marketing efforts that are bound to show effective results and bring the market goals to fruition.

According to a recent study by Essence, 49% of Indians make their buying decision on a social platform – encouraging the onset of the next form of retail i.e. Social Commerce. And it goes without saying, the same report tells us that– the beauty industry was the most purchased category with 39% of all purchases in India being related to beauty products. To put this in perspective with the leader in social commerce, China’s highest purchased category is Apparel and Grocery (64%).

Image Courtesy NABLA Cosmetics Instagram.
Image Courtesy NABLA Cosmetics Instagram.

2. Find the right partner

Choosing the right India partner for a D2C business or any brand looking for opportunities to grow in the thriving Indian market, is one of the key aspects behind its success. Finding the right person to represent the brand goes a long way when operating large scale on a digital level. It becomes imperative for the brand to chalk out the correct consumer persona and market segment. Every brand is unique and there is no one size that fits all. The partner must really be vested in the vision of the brand and have diligent efforts to make walk the unexplored terrain with them. This enables the brand to get introduced among the finest resources of the market.

3. Boots on the ground

The first step towards making it big in the Indian Market is to have your boots on the ground. A reliable team that is well acquainted with the conditions of the market they are operating in and the requirements of its customers will save a fortune of expenses in travelling and infrastructure. This can be made possible only when there exist sound decision makers for the brand who can help a business owner realise the sales and marketing metrics, the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) for the Indian marketing efforts as well as pitch in working strategies as per the consumer trends.


All inputs by Simrita Dhillon. 

Header Image: Courtesy Darden Instagram. Featured Image: Courtesy Nabla Cosmetics Instagram.

Akshita Nahar Jain
Sr Associate Editor
Akshita Nahar Jain has worked with various publications, including Elle, Harper’s Bazaar Bride, and Time Out Delhi, and written extensively on fashion and lifestyle. A sucker for alliteration and stylish sitcoms, she enjoys scrolling the web for less travelled destinations.
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