Beauty Spot

India’s beauty market is one of the largest in the world. Massive influx of investor capital in platforms led by finance and product experts coupled with a rising disposable income in customers has made this space a largely lucrative one. Shark Tank to IPOs, penetration of beauty retail in India is at a high. It’s not just a game of building platforms and bringing in beauty brands one encounters during travels, the beauty market in India is bursting with homegrown brands that have serious potential.

The Estée Lauder Companies Inc, a globally recognised manufacturer and marketeer of makeup, skincare, haircare and fragrance has taken a special interest in India and launched an incubation program–Beauty & You. This focused, The Estée Lauder Companies’ New Incubation Ventures-backed program created in partnership with the omni-channel retailer Nykaa is dedicated to scouting exceptional brands in the country as well as mentoring and supporting them financially as well as from a business perspective. We spoke to Anaita Shroff Adajania, stylist, creative director and founder of Style Cell who is a part of the esteemed panel of judged empanelled, on why beauty is a serious business in India.

Anaita Shroff Adajania

Why is India such a big focus for beauty from the perspective of growth?

So, beauty has always been a part of our lives here. We're talking ancient traditions like Ayurveda and using all-natural ingredients that have been part of our culture for ages. It's like a beauty time capsule! These traditions have not only influenced our personal beauty routines but also the products we create and consume. Back in the day, it was all about DIY beauty treatments at home. But with our modern, fast-paced lives, we've started turning to brands to get our beauty fix. Convenience, right?

Now, here's the fun part! India is like a beauty playground. We've got a massive and diverse population, and guess what? Our middle class is booming, and wallets are getting fatter and everyone wants to glow, literally too! That means more people are splurging on beauty products, and they're not afraid to go for the premium and luxury stuff. There's a whole new level of awareness about beauty, and it's driving demand through the roof. International beauty brands have been benefiting from this… now Indian brands also want a piece of this big pie.

Beauty is us

India has a youthful vibe going on. Our young guns are all about experimenting with beauty products and riding the latest beauty trends. It's like a beauty revolution led by the cool kids.

E-commerce is the superhero of the beauty world here. We've waved goodbye to the days of smelling, touching, and trying before buying. Now, a quick click online, and that beauty treasure is on its way to your doorstep. Social media's got a big role too. We're seeing beauty content from sources we trust, and it's making us want to try all the products and brands. Even someone like myself who stayed away from trying too much is now tempted to buy and try products I never knew I needed… well do I? Haha!

What according to you is a key differentiator for Indian brands in the cluttered space that is beauty?

Let's not forget our beautiful diversity. India's got a rainbow of skin tones, hair types, and beauty preferences. Brands that celebrate this diversity are winning big in our market. Not many know that India is a manufacturing powerhouse for beauty products. Many international brands are getting their stuff made here, thanks to our cost-effective production magic.

Indian market

And speaking of magic, natural and organic beauty products are making a major comeback. We're getting back to our roots, following in the footsteps of our grandparents and their grandparents. Wellness and self-care are having their moment too, even influencing our travel choices. Who doesn't want a bit of pampering while exploring the world?

So, India's beauty scene is like a vibrant, ever-evolving canvas. It's a mix of tradition, modernity, and endless possibilities, and we're here for it!

As a jury member, what are you looking for in brands?

I was fortunate to be a judge in the inaugural year of this competition, and from the get-go, I was brimming with excitement. It was a chance to delve into the world of emerging beauty brands and discover the latest developments in the industry. Beauty isn't something I scrutinize every day, but each year, this competition seems to grow exponentially, unveiling the incredible innovations that were previously under my radar.

Reflecting on last year, one standout memory was encountering a remarkable perfumer from Kanoj. They had ingeniously fused the French art of perfumery with an Indian twist, and I was left in awe. Additionally, there was a winner who addressed common teenage concerns such as acne, dark circles, and cellulite. The way she packaged and named her products had me wanting to try them all.

Lastly, there was a talented individual breaking new ground in the world of men's makeup. In this day and age, everyone aspires to look their best, and it's refreshing to see that self-care and grooming are not limited by gender stereotypes. Beauty knows no boundaries, and everyone deserves to feel confident and radiant.