Innovist is a cosmetic company that owns hair care brand Bare Anatomy and skin care brand Chemist at Play. In April, the company launched its third brand, Sunscoop, a sun care brand.
Rohit Chawla founder and CEO of Innovist told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the firm has observed a growing demand for sun care products in its home market.
“We believe that sunscreen is the most essential skin care products that one should have, especially given the harmful effects of the sun. But we didn’t have good quality sunscreen brands in India. There was also very little awareness around it. However, ever since social media, people are getting more aware. It’s one of the top searched cosmetic and beauty products these days.”
Despite this, consumers, in general, do not understand the importance of including sunscreen as part of their daily routines.
“I think culturally, we don’t see the sun as much of an issue. So, we don’t realise the slow and harmful effects that the sun has on our skin. As I mentioned before, there was very little awareness, so there’s still the belief that there’s harm only when there’s direct sunlight,” Chawla said.
Another hurdle to the adoption of sunscreen, he pointed out, is social media noise on the safety of sunscreen.
“The good thing is there’s more awareness on sunscreen but at the same time, there’s more concern about certain sunscreen ingredients and news about certain bans, like the [sunscreen chemical ban] in Hawaii.
“So, we had our products certified, that means every product we have is verified by a third-party. That’s something our consumers appreciate and it’s why the brand is getting very popular.”
Today, Sunscoop accounts for around 10% of the company’s total revenue, despite being only three months old.
The company launched with five different sunscreens that are differentiated primarily by their textures and finishes.
“We have a very strong assortment of products where people can choose whatever sunscreen they want and what’s best for their skin type. One of the things we know about people is that they don’t like applying sunscreen, so we wanted to give them an assortment to pick what they like, just like any skin care product.”
At the moment, the firm’s sunscreens are all hybrids, meaning that the formulation contains both mineral and chemical ingredients. In the coming weeks, it will be launching mineral versions.
“We keep taking in customer feedback and a mineral sunscreen is what they want based on the feedback. We want to be the frontrunner of sunscreen innovation in India,” said Chawla.
The company operates primarily online but is currently exploring physical retail channels, with partners such as beauty retailer Health & Glow. Chawla told us its offline expansion experiment was only a couple of months old, but response has been positive so far.
Moving forward, it will explore moving offline more and while the firm’s focus is on the domestic market at the moment, it has its sights set on the international market.
“India is the focus but we will probably go international as well when the time is right,” said Chawla.