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Makeup products | Vegan is the buzzword in the

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The global beauty industry took a beating during the pandemic and many beauty brands pivoted their business operations and found new ways to stay afloat. That’s exactly what clean make-up brand House of Makeup did. They pulled out from their offline spaces and went fully online. Of course, building a presence in an ever-evolving competitive space was not a piece of cake but that’s what founder Harlin Sachdeva has achieved. Harlin embarked on her entrepreneurial journey at the age of 17 following the untimely demise of her father. An MBA in marketing and entrepreneurship, the 35-year-old bizwoman has worked with popular brands, including Nykaa, Sugar Cosmetics and Unilever. In an exclusive conversation with The Telegraph, she spills her secret to success.

How easy or difficult was it to tap into the online space, considering you are still a start-up?

We launched in March, 2019. We pitched ourselves to Lifestyle, and we were lucky they gave us a pilot project where we found ourselves in 10 of their stores located in Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Bangalore. Just as we were almost about to be profitable, we were hit by Covid. Our online presence at that point in time was not contributing to our business much. Given the Covid situation and the fact that we were in an early stage of our start-up, we knew that we would not be able to sustain offline because it would take a lot of time for offline to bounce back. So we decided to entirely focus on our online presence. We started focusing on our website with a very small budget of Rs 5,000. Gradually we were spending Rs 4.5-5 lakh and we started generating a revenue of Rs 25-30 lakh from our website. That strategy helped us remain cash positive while being able to reach out to consumers directly and understand their requirements. At that point in time, we had three categories of products — lipstick, kajal and nail polish, and we got a huge response. We saw a repeat purchase of almost 27-30 per cent of our products and that was phenomenal.

Why have you re-launched your products recently?

We have not only worked on the packaging but also improved the formulations, and now we are launching five new categories. Now we have around 100-plus SKUs. We have bullet lipsticks in 12 shades; we have skin tint (tinted moisturiser with all the properties of a great moisturiser, with an added value of SPF). We have launched skin tint in eight shades and concealer in 10 shades, with undertones declared right on the packaging of the concealers. We have launched under eye colour correctors in two shades, lip and cheek tints in five shades, liquid eyeliner in one shade, kajal in one shade and lip balm in five shades, jam-packed with essential oils and nut butter to heal your lips within 24 hours.

You propagate vegan and animal cruelty-free makeup products.

We follow the European Union derivatives, the top-notch benchmark to measure the quality of a product. Animal cruelty is a very sensitive matter in India and veganism is getting popular of late. We resonate with the view that no animal should be harmed in the process of making cosmetics. The EU derivatives have more than 1,300 ingredients banned from their ingredients list, and we follow that. Today’s consumers are very smart and they want products that match their ethos. That is where I got the motivation to start my clean, vegan and animal-cruelty-free cosmetics brand.

What is the range of your products?

India is a very price-sensitive market. There is no point making a great product when only a certain segment of the population can buy it. Our range starts at Rs 249 and goes up to Rs 799, which is value for money.

Many Indians these days aspire to have Korean glass skin.

Our skin tint delivers that glass glow in one minute of application.

What are the challenges you have overcome so far as a newbie?

When you are starting a new brand, you are working on a small budget and competing with bigger brands. However, we have come up with a relaunch pretty soon, which is very positive. Pressure helped us discover our strength. The repeat purchase of 27-30 per cent by our consumers helped us turn around our game. That has helped us take the conversation ahead with investors after two years, which is now.

We have raised around half a million, largely investing in team building and launching new products. Plans are afoot to launch four-five products in October-November.

Pictures courtesy: Harlin Sachdeva



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