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The SUGAR story – One Indian cosmetic brand that proudly stands with international cosmetics brands like- L’oreal and Lakme is SUGAR!! This eight-year old startup was founded by Vineeta Singh who is now the CEO of this cosmetics brand. During the times when most retail companies are struggling to keep up with the aftermath of pandemic, this company has shown an enormous rise of 60% growth from its pre-COVID sales.
The idea of this company was born in a very interesting manner. Vineeta Singh and Kaushik Mukherjee founded FAB BAG, which was a beauty subscription company in 2012. In this beauty subscription, the company would send a ‘surprise’ beauty box with a mixture of five products ranging from makeup, skincare, bath and body, haircare and fragrances. These products were from unknown and unpopular brands. They observed an interesting point that whenever a makeup product was sent, they would receive positive reviews from their customers, who were majorly between the age group 18-25 years. They would also demand to buy the product separately.
A large number of brands would cater to the skin and hair care demands, but if someone wanted to shift from mass players like Maybelline and Lakme, and not burn their pockets with the likes of Mac and Estee Lauder, there were hardly any options!! That is how the idea of SUGAR was born. This makeup brand aimed at customers aged between 18-25 years old who wanted to buy something different from the mass makeup brands available in the market.
The customers of SUGAR were well-informed and vocal, they were either those customers who wanted to upgrade from the mass cosmetics or they were the luxury brand customers who wanted to try something less expensive. SUGAR’s founders had complete knowledge and data about this and they proved it with the growing sales numbers.
The SUGAR managed to get an initial footing in the market by launching a kajal and an eyeliner from a reputed manufacturer in Germany that was labelled ‘Made in Germany’. The company took a bold step when they launched a matte finish eyeliner when the market was booming with glossy eyeliners. This product proved to be their bestseller!!
The brand capitalized the social media well, as it knew how important social media and its influencers are!! They realized that people are spending more time on their phone and so the content on social media was extremely important. They followed the best influencer strategy on Instagram and today boasts of 1 million followers.
Scaling offline was the real challenge, because it meant personal networks and ground strategies. SUGAR was able to crack their first offline entry into Lifestyle departmental store, in Hyderabad. Their existing social media presence proved to be a major advantage for the company.
In February 2019, SUGAR opened their first owned store in Forum Mall, Kolkata. Even though the pandemic has disrupted offline expansion plans of SUGAR, the company has good influence online and is earning a whopping 60% of its revenues from offline channels. Simply put, it is a huge success story for an Indian cosmetics brand!!
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