This man built a Rs 7 Cr revenue business in 2 years by selling women’s beauty products to Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa
Brought up in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, Suraj Vazirani fell in love with ecommerce at the right time. Just as ecommerce was gaining momentum in India, Suraj, who was working with online marketplaces and ecommerce portals for branded consumer electronics, was learning the ins and outs of the business.
Then 2014 came and brought with it a radical transformation in the way business was done in India, thanks to ecommerce. Current market estimates peg the industry's market cap in 2026 at $200 billion, from $38.5 billion in 2017 – a nearly five-fold growth, according to IBEF data.
The giant strides the industry took, and the transformations that happened during that period cemented Suraj’s belief that the future of ecommerce (and money) lay in private labels.
“I wanted to create a business and brand of my own and be a part of its journey and success. After my spell helping Beardo build its brand and run operations, I launched my own small business and private label – The Beauty Co, in 2018, in Ahmedabad,” Suraj says.
The Beauty Co started by launching Charcoal Teeth Whitening Powder and Coffee Scrubs on Amazon, which became instant hits.
Soon after, the company launched a complete range of skin and hair care products, and started selling to Nykaa, Flipkart, Amazon, BigBasket, and Paytm, among others, who, in turn, sold directly to customers.
In its first year, the business earned Rs 2.46 crore in revenue, and last year, it made over Rs 7 crore, claims Suraj.
In an exclusive interview with SMBStory, Suraj explains his successful business model and his vision for the brand.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
SMBStory [SMBS]: What were the initial days like?
Suraj Vazirani [SV]: I had seen that despite the presence of countless beauty brands in the market, there were still a few crucial and untapped segments in the women’s grooming industry.
Capital was a challenge, and I raised Rs 65 lakh raised from friends and family and invested it into the business. I then launched the company’s first products – the Charcoal Teeth Whitening Powder and Coffee Scrubs.
After they became hits on Amazon, the team and I decided to scale up. But we saw many women still preferred the traditional way of buying established and trusted beauty products instead of experimenting with new varieties.
So we began aggressive use of social media and targeted the audience with the right content, tried to figure out the needs and wants of today’s women, and attempted to fulfill them, gradually.
SMBS: What is the concept behind your products?
SV: The Beauty Co is a brand that aims to make its products with 100 percent natural ingredients. The majority of our products are 99 percent to 100 percent natural, and they are carefully-crafted to suit our customers’ needs.
Made from natural ingredients, these products are pure, gentle, no-fuss and easy-to-use, even on the go. Further, the compact packaging makes them convenient to carry everywhere.
We got the first mover advantage, pan-India, with our Coconut Shell Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Powder, dry Coffee Scrubs, Activated Charcoal Glitter Glow Mask or our bestseller – Rose Gold Oil.
The products are priced between Rs 150 and Rs 1,450. We would like to say our brand is for the mass market in terms of the price points.
SMBS: What is your business model? What are some unique business strategies you’ve deployed?
SV: In a way, the Beauty Co’s business is both B2B and B2C. B2B sales happen when we get clients who want our products for corporate gifting, or entities like Flipkart, Amazon, and Nykaa, who directly buy from us.
The dealings with these online partners seem like B2B, but they ultimately sell our products to customers under our brand name, and this eventually becomes B2C.
After finding success in selling our initial products online, we diversified into various skin and hair care products.
We had realised that our users appreciate products that pamper them with a touch of nature, and we diversified accordingly.
We launched Rose Gold Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Argan, Baobab Hair Care Range, etc.
SMBS: Where does manufacturing happen? Do you own the manufacturing units?
SV: Manufacturing of all our products takes place in India, mostly in parts of Gujarat. We do not own any manufacturing units; it is done by a third party manufacturer which has the necessary qualifications and documentation for materials and finished goods.
SMBS: Who is your target audience? What strategy do you use to reach them?
SV: Our target audience is women between the ages of 18 and 45. We use digital media, such as social media ads and influencer marketing, to target them. We curate multiple videos that they can relate to, such as the right way to use the product and its outcome.
We reach them through our domestic clients in the online space, such as Nykaa, Flipkart, Amazon, Bigbasket, Paytm, etc. and our offline client, Nail Spa.
SMBS: What was your UnType campaign about?
SV: We ran a campaign named UnType last year in November and December, where our aim was to reach out to people of all genders and sexual preferences. It was a highly thought-provoking campaign.
We are constantly reminded that our gender, colour, size, and sexuality defines us. Beauty brands play an important role in creating these stereotypes. As a beauty brand, we wanted to take a stand against these stereotypes.
We wanted to show that beauty lies in how we feel about ourselves. This campaign wanted people to feel beautiful regardless of the stereotypes that surround them. The objective of this campaign was to encourage everyone to embrace themselves.
This proved to be a success and we got a total reach of 10.3 million in a short span of 12 days.
SMBS: What are the toughest moments the company faced?
SV: Being a bootstrapped brand, availability of capital remains the toughest issue. Building a private label, both online and offline, requires multiple resources to grow. For us, this process is being delayed. If we had surplus funds, the growth curve of our brand could have been three times what it is today.
SMBS: Who are your competitors? How are you staying ahead of them?
SV: Brands in the space of skincare dealing with the mass market, and having a similar line of products and ingredients, are our main competitors. The level of domain knowledge our team has is commendable. With our in-house technical and marketing team, we have been able to gain an upper hand in understanding and rectifying our customers’ needs, wants and issues at a fast pace.
SMBS: How has coronavirus impacted your company? What are your future plans in light of this pandemic?
SV: Since our products do not meet the criteria of essential goods, we haven’t been able to fulfill orders for more than 50 days. We are working on digital campaigns that help people to take care of their skin at home and how to keep it healthy. As far as the internal technical and marketing issues are concerned, we have had sufficient time during the lockdown to investigate and rectify them.
We will be resuming operations soon, with newer campaigns and products, and aim to reach an even higher number of consumers than before.
Over the next three years, we aim to establish ourselves as a market leader in the space, and get 4 to 5 percent market share.
Our vision is to spearhead the online beauty sector with products made from 100 percent natural ingredients.
Edited by Aparajita Saxena
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