Our marketing budget has increased almost four times: Samir Modi, Colorbar

Modi, Founder & CEO of Colorbar, says the company’s turnover was Rs 425 crore last year and they are expecting 40% growth this year

e4m by Dolly Mahayan
Updated: Jun 10, 2019 8:28 AM

It’s been a decade and half since Colorbar launched its cosmetic business in India. After having a successful stint in the Indian market, the brand is now tapping international markets such as Middle East and Asian region, and has roped in actress Jacqueline Fernandez as its global face. Last year, the company’s turnover was Rs 425 crore and it is expecting a 40% growth this year.

We spoke to Samir Modi, Founder & CEO, Colorbar, to find out how the brand is competing with home-grown products, the shift in beauty industry and why there is a need to enter international markets.


The brand has completed 15 years in the Indian market, what kind of shifts have you noticed here? In what ways has the online market changed the dynamics of the industry?

In these 15 years, the brand has evolved in many ways. We started as a bridge between Elle18/ Streetwear and Lakme/ Revlon. Over the years, we have changed our packaging to be more premium, shifting from being ‘Made in India’ to ‘Made in Italy’, Germany, France, Korea and USA.

We changed our positioning from a teenage gap brand, to a masstige brand for luxury. In the past few years, the selling space has become more congested, as most of the international brands in the masstige and premium segments have launched their products here through offline and online presence. Online retailers are offering a large number of global & domestic brands that were earlier inaccessible to many shoppers. Owing to a rise in digital and social media, there has been an increase in awareness of beauty products. Also, the purchasing power among women has improved.

Lakme, Revlon, MAC have been leaders in the industry, how do you compete with them?

Our philosophy is to launch unique products that perform extensively at par with other brands, as well as make products only in the facilities that make for luxury brands. This has given us an advantage over the local giants. In the coming years, Colorbar will become a strong global brand that will compete extensively with luxury brands all over the world. We are growing at 40 per cent, given our focus on bringing the quality of luxury brands at competitive prices. We are very aggressive on being price competitive with luxury segment brands but our product competes strongly on quality. For many products, we are hence at one third of the prices of luxury players with similar (and in many cases same product) and hence Colorbar becomes the entry to luxury. The growth that we are witnessing today has made us the third largest brand in the country. For women who can’t afford luxury brands, Colorbar has become a great option.  

How many stores do you've right now, and why is the brand revamping the current stores? Which markets are strongholds for Colorbar?

Our philosophy is based on the fact that change is the only constant. We are revamping our stores because we want to give the consumers a better experience. Today, we have approximately 101 company-owned stores and more than 1100 stores in shops. We are also present in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and our plan is to be present in every mall of India, as well as every mom-and-pop store that makes sense, including the departmental stores. We are launching approximately 300+ SKUs every year. We make sure that our product formulation conforms to the best products out there and we are constantly updating these formulations.

While North and West are stronger markets of Colorbar, we are also seeing a major increase in the Northeast since the usage of make-up there is very high.

Jacqueline Fernandez is the global face of Colorbar. What is your marketing spends now as compared to past years? On what mediums do you spend the most?

It is the first time in 15 years that Colorbar felt the need to bring a brand ambassador on board. Jacqueline Fernandez is the ideal brand ambassador for Colorbar. She conforms to the values and vision of the brand. It is too early for me to disclose what we have spent on marketing so far, but our marketing budget has increased almost four folds (4x) as compared to earlier. And we are spending large amounts of money on in-store advertising as well.

Is it right to say that the brand is growing its presence in the international markets? How will Colorbar market itself in other countries?

We have currently stopped our international expansion and the brand is going through a major change in terms of packaging, logo and store design. Towards the end of the year, Colorbar will move more extensively in the Middle East market as well as the Asian region. Our goal is to be in all countries in and around India-- Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Middle East.

Our next aim is to get into EU and we feel if you are successful in India, you can be successful anywhere. Our pricing is ideal to give us a strong growth in the international markets because in these markets, our brand value proposition will be even stronger than what it is in India. In addition to that, our experience can be better since there is availability of physical retail space. Also, consumers in international markets consume a lot more through e-commerce than they do in India. Therefore, this combination strategy is ideal for Colorbar. We have the ambition to be among the top three brands of the world, and we feel we’ll get there in the next 5-10 years.

What was the revenue of last year? What are the expectations this fiscal year?
Last year, Colorbar’s turnover was in excess of Rs 425 crore, and this year we are looking to maintain growth of over 40 per cent. If our plan, in terms of brand rejuvenation, works out, we could see a growth of 50 per cent.


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