How D2C startup Plume Beauty began with a single product and is now readying to launch a makeup range
The egg-shaped beauty blender is an essential in every woman’s makeup arsenal. And, that’s the reason it’s ubiquitous – available in various finishes, kinds, and price points at offline and online stores.
But Garima Juneja saw an opportunity to better this everyday use product – and create a business.
“A beauty blender is available everywhere. But most times, it’s nothing but a sponge that absorbs most of the foundation rather than blending it into your skin. And that is not what a blender is supposed to do,” says Garima, who earlier ran a digital marketing firm.
She researched for five to six months and figured out a way to improve this product. Plume’s beauty blenders are made of microfibre while the brushes use “high-quality” synthetic hair, which makes them work differently and “better”.
Garima claims that the differentiator in brushes is also their density, which picks up product well and doesn’t leave streak marks on the skin.
“I knew the market opportunity was huge if we could make a better blender. Firstly, because we don’t have a competitor; secondly, this is a very small category to invest in for a big brand,” Garima says.
Plume's beauty blenders and brushes
Once the product was manufactured, Garima, along with Gaurav Mishra, launched Plume Beauty in June 2019 with a team of two members and an investment of Rs 1 lakh. She circulated samples among makeup artists, who constantly gave them feedback, and fashion influencers, who gave them good reviews.
“We started by selling our test pieces to makeup professionals and constantly incorporated their feedback in our product. They are the best to work with because if they like something they will buy the entire set and, if they don’t, they will never buy from you again,” Garima says.
Makeup equipment needs to be top quality to provide the best results, and Plume focused all its energies on creating best-in-class products. Most of Plume ‘s products are produced by third party manufacturers in India and China, and are priced between Rs 150 and Rs 5,950.
The brand sold around 6,000 beauty blenders worth Rs 30 lakh in six months, after launching in June 2019 and went on to launch a set of professional makeup brushes with 25 stock-keeping units (SKUs), in December 2019. The firm also sells accessories, including a beauty blender stand and makeup brush pouch.
Their products are sold across marketplaces such as Amazon and Nykaa, and its own website.
Credit: YourStory Design
Garima claims almost 90 percent of their sales come from their own website and the rest from marketplaces.
She says many makeup influencers, including Delhi-based Shalini Srivastava, Mumbai-based Simmy Goraya, and Kolkata-based Sohini Chanda, helped in making their products viral.
The market and outlook
According to Statista, the cosmetic market in India was at $11.16 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $20 billion by 2025. The pandemic also helped augment growth as more people started shopping online from multiple old and new brands.
After making a mark in the makeup equipment category, Plume now has plans to launch a makeup range. It launched a primer in December 2020 and decided to further leverage influencer marketing to “create a buzz about our product”.
The three-member team is now planning to roll out more cosmetics, including liquid and bullet lipsticks and eyeliners in September and eyeshadow palettes in January 2022. With these launches, the firm will now have 60 SKUs across categories.
Plume claims to have generated Rs 96 lakh in gross revenue in FY21. After the launch of makeup products, the firm estimates that it will reach Rs 5 crore revenue in FY22. The cosmetic firm is also looking at raising its first round of funding by the first half of next year.
Once the makeup products are launched, Plume will be directly competing with India Quotient-backed Sugar Cosmetics, which touched Rs 100 crore revenue last year, cash-rich MyGlamm, and IPO-bound makeup seller Nykaa.