Founded by dermatologists in Delhi, AVEIL was close to putting up the shutters before multi-portfolio conglomerate Shree Sharda Group took over it right before the pandemic.
Since then, the brand has ramped up product development, increased sales channels, and even traversed the supplements space.
“We recognise a huge demand for clean formulations with high efficacy, as consumers today are more discerning and expect greater transparency. Our products are primarily sold via two channels — a network of dermatologists and direct-to-consumer online.
“There are doctors who have been prescribing our products to their patients for years. Having medical professionals stay true to us speaks volumes about our products. Now that we fully understand how the industry works, we’re ready to bring the brand to more consumers and expand at a faster rate,” Saumya Agarwal, Chief Strategy Officer of AVEIL, told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.
According to Agarwal, the focus of AVEIL’s current expansion phase is to strengthen its retail presence. Specifically, it aims to gain a foothold in top pharmacy chains in India, such as Apollo Pharmacy.
“Based on our data, we are getting orders from the less developed areas in India with relatively smaller populations. For example, for every five orders, one order is from a Tier-3 city. And these customers are incredibly loyal — some have repurchased from us for as many as 30 times. The growth, even in the smaller cities, is significant to us.”
Beyond the local market, the brand is looking to set foot into South East Asia (SEA) and Middle East.
“We have customers who bring home our products when they travel to India, as well as enquiries from China, Singapore, Jakarta and Dubai on shipping to these countries. We are in talks with distributors and digital platforms in SEA and Middle East, which is a large market that’s seeing a surge in beauty products. We plan to start by building an online presence before venturing offline.
“Our products are created for the Indian climate. For instance, our bestseller SPF 50 Gel with Heat Shield sunscreen not only protects against UVA and UVB rays, but also prevents skin damage from heatwaves. This is something that also caters to the needs of SEA and Middle East consumers.”
In the second phase, AVEIL targets to enter the cosmetics retail market, and potentially expand into the US and Europe, when it has “a bigger suite of products”.
Resolving pain points
Although new product development is an ongoing process, Agarwal claimed that the brand is “not in a hurry” to roll out new items.
“Our products are not run-of-the-mill. For instance, the Heat Shield sunscreen is one of the few sunscreens in the market that defends the skin against heat. We don’t have a body wash — though we know it’s a product that will do well — because we haven’t found the right formulation that is different from existing ones in the market, and that would truly benefit consumers.”
Nevertheless, the brand is currently working on a sunscreen stick that can be applied over makeup without smudging it.
“There will always be unmet needs, as long as you are listening to the consumers. We are constantly looking at existing products that require better efficacy. We won’t be able to address every need, but we do perform basic feasibility tests to see if we can fill these gaps. People really appreciate products that fix their pain points.
“An advantage we have over larger firms is the direct feedback that we get from dermatologists, which is then communicated directly to the R&D labs that we work with. Paying attention to the smallest details is another factor that I believe sets us apart.”
Agarwal cited the example of the Heat Shield sunscreen’s airless pump, which is made by one of the largest pump manufacturers in India that some big brands are also buying from.
“Even though we don’t have the same kind of sales volume yet, we want our customers to experience optimal product effectiveness.”
Rising demand for beauty-from-within supplements
Similarly, Agarwal said that the expansion into the supplements category was driven by consumer needs more than a business diversification strategy.
“We saw a demand in the market. Like our skin care, we place strong emphasis on efficacy. The supplements are also being recommended by our partner dermatologists who are aware of all the ingredients, and that lends credibility to our products.”
AVEIL’s Hair Health Kit consists of a set of tablets and capsules to be taken over six days weekly, with each day’s supplement comprising different nutrient combinations.
The supplements are said to be formulated such that the ingredients are synergistic and do not interfere with the activity of each other, to boost cell regeneration and stimulate hair growth.
“The Monday tablet contains algae calcium, magnesium oxide, vitamins etc., the Tuesday capsule has green tea leaf, inositol L-cysteine, coenzyme q10 etc., the Wednesday capsule has pumpkin seed, resveratrol etc., so on and so forth. These are all ingredients that are tried-and-tested, and 100% vegetarian.”
The brand has also developed a range of supplements for facial skin named YouGlow and YouGlow Plus, which are made with ingredients such as glutathione, evening primrose oil, and curcumin rhizome oil.
“We have customers, including male customers, who have written great reviews about our supplements. Since listing them on Amazon last December, we have observed a steady rise in demand. Both YouGlow and Hair Health Kit are performing well.
“In fact, we are experiencing nearly 150% month-on-month growth on the B2C side. This shows that consumers are aware what they are taking is helping them.”