This woman entrepreneur’s skincare brand is made from superfoods
The idea of beauty, ever since Lakme launched make-up in India in 1952, has undergone a sea change. The changing focus from external beauty and fairness creams to natural and organic lines are ensuring that women are looking more at self-care and the beauty within.
With the evolution in the understanding of beauty, the industry has also shifted to accommodate new perspectives and practices. According to a Redseer report, the beauty and cosmetics industry is currently growing at a CAGR of 25 percent, with a surge in the number of brands and startups entering the market.
However, Dolly Kumar, founder ofdiscovered that existing brands were not catering to one target group - girls between the ages of 15 and 25, digital natives who were looking for complete skincare solutions.
Dolly Kumar, founder of Cosmic Nutracos, the parent company of Skinella.
Seizing the opportunity, she launched Skinella, a brand that provides a complete skincare range to this target group. What’s more, Skinella products are made with superfoods.
Dolly Kumar is a cosmetics engineer with a BTech degree in Cosmetics Engineering. After completing her education, she worked with many cosmetics before starting Cosmic Nutracos in 2017, the parent company of Skinella and GAIA, a health food and nutritional supplements brand.
A decade later, she realised the gulf in the market and launched Skinella in 2017. Three years of extensive research and development, conceptualising products and market surveys led to the creation of a complete range of products that catered to girls and young women.
“We realised there are a number of skincare products in the market. However, very few were talking to teens and making products especially designed for their needs,” she says.
Superfoods and skincare
Before beauty brands were launched, Indians used natural ingredients, medicinal plants and herbs for skincare and beauty. Dolly says that the infusion of fruits and superfoods for skincare is not alien to India.
“We all know superfoods are very beneficial when we consume them, imagine how good they can be when you apply them topically on your skin,” she says.
Since the products are made with the power of superfoods, she wanted the name to sound appealing, fun and exciting for young people. Hence, the name Skinella.
Apart from the goodness of superfoods, the products are free from harsh chemicals, are vegan and PETA certified.
In a span of three years, Skinella has a product portfolio of 26 products that range from lip balms to body butters. The products are available in leading retail outlets across India and on ecommerce platforms like Nykaa, Amazon, FlipKart and PayTm Mall.
Beauty pageant with a difference
As a part of the brand’s efforts to empower and enable girls and women to question age-old beauty norms, challenge societal pressures, and find their very own meaning of beauty, Skinella launched an annual beauty pageant called Skinderella in 2018.
Dolly explains that the pageant, unlike others, does not judge contestants on their body type, fairness or other stereotypical standards.
"There is no swimsuit round. There are no fake questions on wanting world peace or wanting to be like Mother Teresa. Every girl is judged on how candid and natural beautiful that stems from within. Skinderella was launched to encourage young girls to become confident and build self-esteem and be their real and genuine versions,” she adds.
Challenges and future plans
Dolly is a self-made entrepreneur. None of her ventures have private funding and she is proud when she says she has zero debts.
However, her road to success was difficult, though she is reluctant to call them challenges. She says, “In a male-dominated industry you sometimes struggle to be taken seriously and always have to defy social expectations.”
In her initial years of starting up, when her son Arav was young, she found it difficult to maintain a work-life balance.
Despite the odds, she has built a successful company with two successful brands. With Skinella, she has expanded the company's presence internationally to countries including Nepal, Bhutan, Cambodia, Myanmar, and others.
(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)