A beauty subscription startup led to the launch of cosmetics brand SUGAR

A beauty subscription startup led to the launch of cosmetics brand SUGAR

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Based by Kaushik Mukherjee and Vineeta Singh in 2015, Mumbai-headquartered SUGAR Cosmetics started life as a direct-to-consumer (D2C) beauty model, and diversified into an omnichannel technique in 2017. 

Since then, it has received each – shopper and investor approval.

In early September, Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh invested an undisclosed quantity in SUGAR, as a part of the corporate’s Sequence D funding spherical. In Could 2022, SUGAR Cosmetics raised $50 million as a part of its Sequence D spherical, led by Asia fund of L Catterton. The spherical additionally noticed participation from returning buyers A91 Companions, Elevation Capital, and India Quotient. 

Seven years on, the women-centric model claims to clock annual gross sales of over Rs 550 crore, and has greater than 100 brand-owned shops and over 45,000 retail contact factors in over 500 cities. 

Vineeta Singh and Kaushik Mukherjee, co-founders of SUGAR Cosmetics

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The a-ha second

The concept for SUGAR Cosmetics, which was launched in 2015, got here from Fab Bag, a magnificence subscription service run by Vineeta and Kaushik.

“I’ve all the time been captivated with constructing a enterprise by girls, and for girls because the core viewers. I keep in mind making many women-centric enterprise plans on paper whereas learning, figuring out that it was one thing I needed to pursue,” says Vineeta Singh, Co-founder and CEO, SUGAR Cosmetics. 

“Once I began my magnificence subscription service in 2012, I lastly had an opportunity to work with girls as my core viewers – one thing I’d all the time needed to pursue,” she recollects.

The staff ran the enterprise for 9 years, amassing 200,000 prospects. The close-knit neighborhood of ladies shared their preferences, pores and skin issues, and likes/dislikes with the staff. 

Because the Fab Bag staff pored over the info, it realised that almost all obtainable make-up manufacturers—overseas or native—didn’t cater to Indian pores and skin tones or the Indian lifestyle. This restricted girls’s decisions as they might both should import make-up merchandise from abroad or put on shades that didn’t work properly for them.

“We noticed a pattern of Indian millennial girls who had began carrying make-up often as a feel-good accent – one which made them really feel extra assured, highly effective, and happier,” Vinita says.

She speaks about their greatest ache level: reapplying make-up all through the day.

“I assumed make-up needed to be lengthy lasting. Even when a girl travels by public transport or on polluted roads, her make-up ought to keep.”

That is what led the founders to include SUGAR Cosmetics in 2015.

The model, which was launched with a variety of matte, long-lasting make-up, grew virally by means of girls speaking about it on Instagram. The product-market match is obvious from the greater than two lakh on-line critiques with 4 to 5-star rankings. 

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What now?

SUGAR says it’s the first model in India to launch a basis in 22 shades, suited to all Indian pores and skin tones and often called the Ace of Face Basis Stick, in 2018. It additionally launched India’s first powder lipstick, which stocked out in two weeks. 

“So whereas there have been many hits, the journey to those successes has been by means of many failures, fumbles, and learnings,” Vineeta says. 

The founder says it made buyer schooling the center of its enterprise, and the staff continues to make use of YouTube, Instagram, and SUGAR’s personal app to succeed in out to prospects.

“We sit up for increasing within the hybrid vary primarily based on shopper suggestions,” Vineeta says. “Retaining our viewers in thoughts, we’re additionally wanting ahead to tapping into completely different classes of the wonder trade.”

SUGAR Cosmetics has a 2,500-strong workforce, together with 75% girls.

It now goals to construct and broaden its core pillars–Distribution, Product, Content material, and Group. 

The model will give attention to creating strong content material to maintain educating and fascinating its neighborhood throughout all platforms–digital and others. 

Vineeta provides that SUGAR may also strengthen its retail footprint by enhancing the retail advertising and visible merchandising expertise, its product line, and distribution.

“We intend to go stronger on our omnichannel method by concurrently rising our distribution channels in India and past, together with creating an excellent stronger base on our D2C platforms,” she says.

The model is planning strategic collaborations with like-minded personalities, IPs, and occasions.

“Whereas this journey of creating SUGAR one of many prime three make-up manufacturers in India has been phenomenal, I do envision using greater than 10,000 girls and a public itemizing. Attending to that time will probably be a problem, however we by no means shied away from aiming larger and dreaming massive,” Vineeta says. 

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