Beauty market

[Startup Bharat] How This Jaipur-Based Skincare Brand Aims To Dominate The Market By Focusing On “Beauty Transparency”

Direct to consumer (D2C) Beauty and skin care brands in India are not only gaining popularity with a growing customer base, but also with investors. Organic or not, brands have tapped into digitization, influencer marketing strategies and even the pandemic to boost sales

But as this particular category begins to get crowded, a Jaipur-based skin care startup Minimalist tries to carve out its own niche by innovating in the serum category and manufacturing its ingredients transparent to consumers.

“In recent years, you’ve seen a lot of brands appear in trendy categories. A while ago it was charcoal, which was a very popular ingredient. Then it was the onion and other herbal ingredients. But instead of bringing in trendy products, shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t we understand what the consumer wants and then develop products? Minimalist co-founder Mohit Yadav asks in a conversation with YourStory.

Mohit, who is a chartered accountant, is also a serial entrepreneur

How it started

With that in mind, Mohit, along with co-founder Rahul Yadav, decided to dig deeper and find out what customers were actually looking for.

“We had a lot of data from our old company, where we were trying to create custom hair care products,” says Mohit.

Since stepping down as Vice President at Car Dekho in 2017, Mohit has been a serial entrepreneur. He launched Free Will, a startup that creates personalized hair care products, in 2018. The startup, which still exists, couldn’t see much expansion due to legal issues. But the data collected helped Mohit and Rahul launch Minimalist, billed as a “transparent beauty” brand, run by Uprising Science Pvt. Ltd. Minimalist claims to be transparent about the ingredients used in their products.

Founded in October 2020, the startup first launched a line of serums targeting specific skin problems. There are currently 17 face serums and one product in the hair loss category.

“We are going category by category. The goal is to close the skin care category by the end of this year, ”says Mohit.

The first online brand differentiates itself by listing each ingredient used and its percentage in each bottle. It has also become a challenge for the company as there is a lack of awareness about the good and bad chemicals.

“When you hear the word chemicals, you think of a few doctors in a lab experimenting with beakers and test tubes. And natural means plants and outdoors. But not all chemicals are bad for us. And creating that awareness has been the biggest challenge for us, ”says Mohit.

According to the company, 100% “natural” products don’t necessarily mean safe and effective skin care products.

Some Minimalist skincare serums

Creation of brand awareness

“Everything is a chemical – water is a chemical – therefore products without chemicals do not exist,” explains an introduction on the company’s website.

What has helped spread awareness of their products is social media – the company has an active community on various platforms, where it has been easy to spread its brand identity.

To control the quality, Minimalist has an internal research and development team comprising 10-12 employees, and a manufacturing unit in Jaipur. The company currently has nearly 100 employees.

The company is also expected to increase its manufacturing capacity in the city to support the 10,000 orders per day mark.

Although she is only about a year old, the brand started to see its demand increase in January 2021. “Initially the adoption was slow because people were still testing our product. But once the word started to spread after 30 to 60 days of launch, we saw a significant increase in our sales, ”says Mohit.

Right now, the company claims to experience 100% month-over-month growth. Minimalist is also backed by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge Fund and Unilever Ventures, which have invested Rs 110 crore in a Series A round.

With minimalist sales in several markets including Amazon, Nykaa and Flipkart, the brand sees demand from all regions of the country.

“It’s encouraging to see more orders coming from beyond Tier II and III cities,” Mohit says.

And with this demand in mind, the founders expect the startup’s turnover rate to reach Rs 150 crore by the end of this fiscal year.

Direct-to-consumer brands have seen significant growth during the pandemic as home consumers become more accustomed to ordering online from the comfort of their homes.

However, even though Minimalist is having a good year, it operates in an extremely crowded market with competitors including the Mumbai-based company. MCcaffeine, Crys Capital WOW Skin Science, The Derma Co. of Mamaearth, backed by Sequoia Capital India, and Plum.

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