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For growth, our focus has been on listening to customers & keep innovating: Vineeta Singh

Singh, Co-founder & CEO, Sugar Cosmetics on the brand’s impressive growth trajectory over its five year journey, and expectations from the festive season

e4m by Christina Moniz
Published: Nov 6, 2020 8:35 AM  | 3 min read
Vineeta Singh

Sugar Cosmetics started off as a digital native brand and has made its mark successfully as an omnichannel company over the past five years of its existence. With its retail presence now across over 100 in the country, Vineeta Singh, Co-founder & CEO, Sugar Cosmetics, takes us through the brand’s impressive growth journey and its plans to scale up its app revenues from 60% to 80%

Edited Excerpts


The company turns five this year, and has seen a remarkable trajectory from digital-first to omnichannel. What is the kind of growth you’ve seen for the brand year-on-year? And what kind of growth drivers have you identified to take it forward?

Year on year, we have seen a phenomenal growth jump on an average of almost 200% and we have already clocked in over Rs 105 crore turnover at the end of our fifth fiscal year. For our growth, our focus has always been on what we do best: listen to the customer, keep innovating on product and be obstinately clear about not taking shortcuts that grow sales at the expense of the brand. For the rest of 2020, our focus will be set on scaling up our app revenues from 60% to 80% of all online revenue from brand platforms.

While the brand’s origins were on Digital, now that you’re an omnichannel brand, what is the kind of media mix you employ for your campaigns?

Last year, we took a call to build the brand beyond Digital via various ATL (billboards/radio/newspapers/magazines) and BTL initiatives (offline properties at various on-ground events, mall activations, etc.). This omnichannel marketing focus gave a strong boost to the brand’s visibility in our target audience and has helped place the brand as the leading player in the new millennial makeup space. In the current year, we have changed the mix to largely digital until we see more footfalls in our retail locations where we are ready to pick up from where we left back in March.  

 

The current pandemic has impacted all sectors, and surely that includes beauty and make-up. Considering cosmetics will not be high on the consumer priority list at this time, what will the main focus areas be for you at this time?

The immediate changes we first implemented back in April were to drastically reduce fixed costs. Discretionary spends like performance marketing ads were pulled, discussions were initiated with business partners for extended credit periods and most importantly - a company-wide request for voluntary pay cuts was shared in lieu of 4X the forgone amount in ESOPs. Our retail store colleagues pitched in by clocking brisk sales via their WhatsApp networks to help the company generate revenues during the lean months. Our focus areas remained customer acquisition at the lowest cost through online channels while retail took a few months to recover completely.  

 

Now with the festive season underway, do you expect to see a revival of sorts for your brand and sector overall?

We’re definitely seeing a positive uptick towards revival for Sugar Cosmetics and the overall industry. Since May, when the unlock procedures kicked off, we have already clocked in our highest ever online monthly sales and 40-50% of our stores are already functioning. We’re seeing a trend of consumers who are celebrating the festive season to get their dose of normalcy by indulging in ‘feel-good’ items like makeup for themselves and gifting them to their dear ones who are away. We are gunning for a 50% jump from our FY20 numbers by the end of the FY21.

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