Campaign India Team
Mar 11, 2024

Vineeta Singh on why 'Sugar Cosmetics is not just a beauty brand, it's a catalyst for change within the industry'

As a part of our extended International Women's Day coverage, Sugar Cosmetics' Vineeta Singh shares snippets of her entrepreneurial journey to date, as well as insights on why championing women's entrepreneurship and inclusivity in the beauty industry matters

Vineeta Singh on why 'Sugar Cosmetics is not just a beauty brand, it's a catalyst for change within the industry'
Sugar Cosmetics announced the launch of its #NotSoSmallBusiness campaign, an initiative to spotlight independent journeys of women entrepreneurs who own small businesses, to mark this year's International Women's Day. 

Emerging from the collaboration between co-founder and CEO Vineeta Singh and her husband Kaushik Mukherjee, Sugar Cosmetics aimed to fill a void in the Indian beauty market for products tailored to local skin tones and conditions. Their journey began with insights from a vast number of women through a beauty subscription service, leading to the birth of a brand that emphasises empowerment and the celebration of diverse beauty standards. The company's strategic approach, focusing on direct-to-consumer sales and an omnichannel presence, has allowed it to extend its reach both within India and internationally, building a significant following by offering a wide range of inclusive and diverse products.

Despite facing challenges, including the initial difficulty of entering a market dominated by well-established brands and navigating the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Sugar Cosmetics has adapted by enhancing its digital presence and focusing on online sales. Singh also refused a lucrative job offer to pursue entrepreneurship, with Sugar Cosmetics now standing as a testament to her tenacity. Today, the brand boasts a presence in over 45,000 retail outlets across 500+ cities, making it widely accessible to customers through partnerships with large format retailers and general trade stores. 

Campaign India reached out to Singh to understand more about her vision to empower women-led startups, navigating the competitive landscape of cosmetics, championing inclusivity and diversity, and more.
 
Her are some highlight's from Singh’s journey, in her own words: 
 
The genesis of Sugar Cosmetics
 
In 2012, my team and I had been running a direct-to-consumer beauty subscription venture catering to the vibrant 18–30-year-old demographic. Our close proximity to this target group, a closed-loop feedback-gathering system and 200,000 women who shared their beauty preferences with us, provided invaluable insights. The Indian beauty industry in 2014 faced challenges, primarily dominated by multinational brands that offered limited options for the Indian complexion. This led the audience to either import beauty products or settle for shades not suitable for their Indian skin tones.
 
In response to this gap, Sugar Cosmetics made its entry into the Indian market in mid-2015. Our mission was to empower women to discover exclusively tailored products that blended style with performance, specifically curated to complement every Indian skin tone. Achieving the elusive "product-market fit" was a journey of trial and error, but it shaped Sugar Cosmetics into the thriving entity it is today.
 
Challenging the status quo
 
There was a time when an investor denied a meeting, expecting to meet a male entrepreneur. While this was disheartening at the start of my career, I didn't let this obstacle deter me. At that point, it was hard to fathom, but the incident strengthened my belief in my vision. Fortunately, since then, I have had the privilege to meet and collaborate with some of the best partners and mentors who believe in my vision and have helped build the brand to its current stature.
 
Rooting for women-led startups 
 
In honour of International Women's Day, Sugar Cosmetics is championing women empowerment through its new initiative, the #NotSoSmallBusiness campaign. This campaign aims to spotlight the inspiring stories of female entrepreneurs who own small businesses. 


We are committed to supporting and uplifting women by showcasing the independent journeys of these seven entrepreneurs who are dreaming big for themselves and their families. These entrepreneurs have not only been featured on Sugar's Instagram, but have also received support from the startup community.
 
Breaking beauty barriers and stereotypes
 
Makeup is more about 'flaunting the flaws' and being unstoppable. We counter historical misrepresentation by educating our audience about embracing their true shade. To meet diverse needs, we strike a balance between products created in the country and those sourced abroad.
 
Sugar Cosmetics provides a vast range of products to complement various Indian skin tones. By providing accessible and informative content the brand contributes to breaking stereotypes around beauty norms, encouraging individuality and self-expression. Sugar actively engages with its community, creating a platform where women can share their stories and experiences.
 
Overall, Sugar Cosmetics is not just a beauty brand; it is a catalyst for change within the industry, promoting inclusivity, diversity, and a redefined perception of beauty that goes beyond prejudices. Diversity and inclusivity are fundamental to Sugar Cosmetics' mission. 

Our marketing content goes beyond promoting products; we actively engage in creating educational content. This includes tutorials, tips, and guides that cater to various skin types and tones, fostering inclusivity by addressing the diverse needs of our audience.

Collaborating with influencers, makeup artists, and content creators who champion diversity is a key aspect of our marketing strategy. These partnerships amplify our commitment to inclusivity and provide authentic representation in the beauty space. 

Slaying the beauty game

Indeed, the beauty industry is a competitive market. I believe that recognising your consumers and their needs helps you gain insightful knowledge. When you leverage this knowledge to educate them with relatable and quality content, they become more aware of the brand. It also works like magic for us and helping us stay ahead of trends.
 
The roadmap ahead

One thing we are proud of at Sugar Cosmetics is that it provides a platform for women to express themselves through makeup, empowering them to embrace their unique beauty and confidence. Additionally, we have actively promoted diversity and inclusivity in our product offerings, catering to a wide range of skin tones and types. Furthermore, our commitment to female entrepreneurship through initiatives like the 'Not So Small Business' campaign has helped uplift women-owned small businesses, fostering economic independence and empowerment. It is a continuous journey, and I am proud to lead a brand that is making meaningful strides in reshaping the narrative within the beauty industry.

For women aspiring to become entrepreneurs, my message is to never give up on your dreams. Have faith in yourself and your abilities, and success will undoubtedly follow.

Source:
Campaign India

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