From formulating medicines to treatment shampoos: How this pharmacist built a prominent personal care brand
The world and its consumers are changing. The millennial generation and Gen Z are more than aware and conscious of personal care products that go on their skin, hair, and body, and do not, in the least bit, hesitate to shell out a little more for a product that gives them greater value.
Ahmedabad-based Jigar Patel was heading his father’s pharmaceutical business since 2008. His formulations had already won him 21 patents before he started scouting for other opportunities because he realised he wanted to do something different.
Jigar, a pharmacist himself, was struck by three things about the personal care industry - the speed at which it was innovating, its scope of growth, and his love for formulation.
These factors compelled Jigar to start a personal care brand - Brillare Science Private Limited- in 2010 in Ahmedabad. He employed five people for its R&D unit and began by manufacturing and selling 18 products including moisturisers, shampoos, creams, and more to salons across India.
Today,has scaled up considerably. Apart from tying up with 10,000 beauty salons, it is also selling through , , , and its own website. Since 2019, legacy FMCG brand Emami infused Rs 14 crore and further plans to invest around Rs 10 crore more in FY22-23 in a bid to help the company ramp up its offline presence.
In an interaction with SMBStory, Jigar decodes the journey of the brand and how it plans to move ahead in this highly competitive market.
Capsules to shampoos
Getting started is the most crucial time for an entrepreneur. From figuring out operations to logistics, a lot must be done. For Jigar, it was no different. He invested Rs 3 crore (borrowed from his father) to kickstart the business and set up a research and development unit in Ahmedabad. However, Jigar decided to outsource the manufacturing of the products to various units across the country on a contractual basis as he believed different products require different manufacturing capabilities.
An area that necessitated considerable brainstorming was how to make a place for oneself in an already crowded market. “We are in an industry that sells dreams. For instance, if you use a particular product, your complexion will become fairer and so on,” he quips, “We wanted to sell results rather than a dream which is very superficial.”
Jigar says that his strategy, in the beginning, was to tie-up with salons and only sell through the B2B format.
“We found out that when people go to salons, they not only look for products that give results but also get educated because there is an expert that advises on the pros and cons of using it.”
So, between 2010-2015, Jigar claims he scaled up the business based on word of mouth and educating the customer rather than marketing or advertising.
By 2018, they had built a distribution network of 130 distributors and were selling the products across 10,000 salons. Jigar says Brillare was able to reach Rs 14 crore in revenue in FY18. The brand also started exporting to markets like Nepal, Mauritius, and Maldives. Recently, it has also started selling in the US.
Brillare offers 42 SKUs. Jigar’s love for formulation has over the years led him to innovate and launch products such as oil shots, which he claims help in reducing hair fall. It has also expanded to other categories such as serums, body care, relief oils, face wash and more.
The shampoos have had the highest demand since the beginning and till today, they contribute the most to the revenue, he says. Shampoos are present in three categories- anti-dandruff, hairfall, and dry hair. Presently, Jigar is working on building a separate brand for the hair loss category under the name Root Deep.
The average selling price for both Brillare and Root Deep is between Rs 300-Rs 1,400.
According to data released by the IMARC Group, the Indian beauty and personal care market reached $26.1 billion in 2026, and is slated to grow at CAGR of 9.6 percent between 2021-2016. India houses numerous personal care brands including established companies (Hindustan Unilever, Himalaya, etc) and new-age ones (Mamaearth, Wow Skin Science, etc).
Jigar is also aware that this is a highly competitive market, but he envisions carving his own niche. “If I have to fight with the multinationals, then I will have to keep my price at a bare minimum. And when you do that, it limits the amount of nutrition you can put in your products.”
Jigar claims that 28 of Brillare’s 42 products are 100 percent natural, and the rest are 80 percent organic. Jigar says that going forward, he wants to make all products 100 percent natural by removing the water content. “In zero-dilution products, water will be replaced by more nutrient-rich liquids, such as aloe vera oil.”
This will improve the shampoos’ efficacy by three times, Jigar claims.
Transitioning from B2B to B2C
Brillare had been operating as a B2B brand for nearly 10 years when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. During the period, Jigar realised scaling up online was the way to move forward.
“You can say it was a mistake (selling only B2B). But we were always in the dilemma that if we start selling on ecommerce platforms, it will remove the aura of exclusivity and hamper our B2B business. I would wonder if they would still be eager to sell our product.”
But the pandemic changed everything. With salons shut, Brillare saw its sales plummeting. So, it was listed on Amazon at the end of March 2020 and launched its own website in November 2021. Today, things have changed for the better for the business.
“We learned it the hard way but the power of D2C and ecommerce is very big.”
Jigar further explains that since most of the distributors were not able to credit the entire cycle, the team at Brillare decided to come up with a strategy that would do away with all the middlemen. In August 2021, Brillare launched a B2B app, Brillare Direct, for its salon customers. The app allows the salon to directly order the products from it and get them delivered to their doorstep in 48 hours.
Today, Jigar claims they have recovered 60 percent of the salon business. By the end of FY22, they are projected to reach a revenue of Rs 30 crore. Apart from launching the zero-dilution products in the coming year, he also plans to establish his presence across 50 retail brand outlets by the end of FY23. “We are tying up with Franchise India and have already zeroed upon 10 outlets,” he concludes.