D’you is a beauty start-up based in India that offers one product, a premium skin care serum called Hustle (U$40).
Despite being only a year old, the company has a repeat purchase rate of up to 40% and is recording profits after breaking even in its seventh month in business
Founder and CEO Shamika Haldipurkar, a former lawyer, attributed the firm’s success to the efficacy of its serum, which was formulated in South Korea.
Hustle was developed as the antithesis to the single-ingredient skin care trend that has been popular especially among clean beauty consumers in the past few years.
As its name suggests, single-ingredient skin care products contain one active ingredient that is geared to tackle one main issue.
“Single-ingredient skin care did play a key role in democratising skin care. However, it caused an acute problem for consumers – they just had too many products to use. They would have to use five different products a day to tackle their problems. Even from a business standpoint, it was a bit unsustainable because of the sheer number of SKUs,” said Haldipurkar.
“We've seen in the last two to three years that there's been a sudden increase in skin care consumption in India. Even in tier two, tier three cities there’s the appetite for skin care has boosted. People are hungry for skin care products, but that hunger is coupled with confusion because they don’t know where to start.”
This set Haldipurkar on a mission to develop an ‘all-in-one serum’ that would contain all the daily essentials for all skin types.
The result was the aptly named Hustle serum, which combined over 11 active ingredients in a single formulation while maintaining a pH balance of 5.1.
The company claims that Hustle targets multiple skin concerns from fine lines to free radical damage.
“We made a product that could intuitively work with your skin. This product will work for you, for instance, it will optimise oil production and balance hydration to control your acne. If you have dry skin, it will hydrate, nourish, and plump the skin. Whatever your skin is missing, it will help with that,” said Haldipurkar.
When it launched, the brand captured attention in the saturated skin care market with a campaign declaring ‘We love chemicals!’.
Like the cosmetic company DECIEM before it, D’you was seeking to clean up the misconceptions surrounding the use of chemicals in cosmetics.
“This fear-based messaging has been promoted by marketing, media and brands for so many years now it’s going to take a lot of polarising statement to undo,” said Haldipurkar.
What’s next for D’you
Since its launch, the company has been staying close to its consumers and collecting feedback about the serum. The anecdotal evidence of its efficacy surprised even Haldipurkar.
This is pushing the company to send the product for independent testing to verify its efficacy scientifically.
At the same time, D’you is working on its second product and is planning to launch a larger-sized version of Hustle next year.
Haldipurkar told us that she also has her sights set on an international expansion and was eyeing markets in Europe, the Middle East, and South East Asia for expansion next year.