Ravina Jain, founder and CEO of Skin Story, a company that owns two brands, The Skin Story and The Beard Story, said that a brand must have more SKUs to expand in India.
The typical Indian consumer, be it male or female, demands a wide range of choices for each product type. For instance, a shampoo brand must have a diverse offering like liquid and bar versions. Bigger brands distributed pan-India could even have over 300 SKUs at any time, added Jain.
“The Indian consumer looks for many things as their knowledge has deepened and purchasing power increased. If a brand wants to be in India, it must expand its range of SKUs. Every day, new products and formulations are launched. There has also been a surge in demand in e-commerce, but conventional brick-and-mortar sales are building up too,” she said.
The Indian skin care market is estimated to be worth US$7.5bn, with a CAGR of 5.15% from 2022 to 2026. Hence, her firm plans to churn out 35 SKUs by end-2022 and another 100 SKUs by 2024, in addition to the existing 61 SKUs.
The Skin Story has 45 SKUs, from face, hair and body care to hygiene products and accessories like combs. The Beard Story features 16 SKUs, like beard softeners, oil and wash, and is fronted by Bollywood star Suniel Shetty. The prices range from 199 rupees (US$2.50) for face wash to 849 rupees (US$10.80) for anti-ageing cosmetics.
“We are retail-heavy, and a price limit usually entails retail. The consumers also demand affordability besides being able to choose from a wide range of products,” she said.
From the third quarter of 2019 until March 2020, the parent company witnessed 100% growth despite being in lockdown. In Q1 2022, Jain also described the firm’s offline growth as “tremendous” due to the easing of pandemic restrictions. The firm’s earnings climbed from 50 lakhs (US$63,000) in 2019 to 4 crores (US$506,600) in FY2021/2022.
Based on this outlook, she hopes to enter Dubai and Singapore in Q4 2022 and deepen its reach in 11 Indian states and Union Territories – Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Delhi, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Overall, the firm targets to close at 12 crores (US$1.5m) by the end of FY2022/2023 in March.
“We are going for depth to strengthen our hold in the states. To expand, we need a lot of money. Hence, we must first deepen our reach and then expand outside India,” she said.
To differentiate itself, the Skin Story relies on its parent company, the Gangwal Group, to obtain ingredients backed by studies. Gangwal distributes pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and personal care products. It was acquired by the 65-country-strong ingredients giant Barentz.
Armed with the supply of ingredients, the Skin Story formulated another strategy to conquer the audience mindshare by producing targeted skin care products. These products feature specific functions, such as anti-ageing, targeting acne and pigmentation, and sun protection.
“People have more self-confidence and purchasing power. They are also into self-care, like eating right and using skin care, especially in the last two years. They want to look nice and are more accepting of sun protection products.
“In the end, we hope to be the most desired brand and solve everyone’s skin story. We already have a few products in the derma care range, and I believe expert skin care is the new skincare,” concluded Jain.