SUGAR Cosmetic Case Study - Strong Foundation!

In the midst of goliath-like companies, sugar cosmetics sprouted with minimal resources and innovative products and tons of hustle has resulted them to break barriers and rise above all the giants.

In 2012, Kaushik Mukherjee and Vineeta Singh started FAB BAG, a beauty subscription business. With Rs. 599 per month they will send subscribers a ‘surprise’ beauty box with a combination of five products in all cosmetics, skincare, body, hair care and perfumes. Available all over the world, these products have been brand new and unknown. Within a few months of the business, the developers noticed an interesting trend. Each time their 18-25-year-old customers received a box containing a cosmetic product, positive reviews would go up. People also wrote asking if they could buy a cosmetic product separately.

The FAB BAG had reached 15,000 subscribers by 2015, but it was slow. It became clear that the enrollment of beauties would not increase as much as the founders hoped. Vineeta and Kaushik decided to take the initiative and introduced SUGAR Cosmetics, a type of makeup intended for 18-25 year olds, an audience that feels ignored by existing cosmetic global market leaders.

“If you wanted to upgrade from the mass brands, but didn’t have the pockets for the luxury brands,” says Mukherjee, “there was very little choice in the market.”

This quote from the founder Mukherjee explains the demand and the market gap that exist in Indian cosmetics. Sugar was aiming to use this market gap to their advantage while they should also be mindful to not fall into the trap of delivering mediocre or bad quality products for lesser price. Another problem that the founders noticed was that the global cosmetic companies weren’t making pallets that would suit Indian skin tones. Solving this dilemma helped them make their USP and stand out in the market.  

SUGAR Cosmetics entered the Indian market in mid-2015 with global  beauty companies that were designed to have look premium and feel foreign . With striking shades suitable for all Indian skin tones, the brand has led the industry in a move towards “mattes” with its popular line of Matte Liquid Lipsticks and the equally famous Matte Eyeliners.

SUGAR launched its first product by registering in shopify platform which is an E-commerce website builder. This helped them in their initial stage as they were starting to get really popular in European countries and other western countries

SUGAR market has been accompanied by the success of makeup artists such as James Charles, Jeffree Star, and Kandee Johnson on social media. India is one of the fastest growing cosmetics markets in the world and is expected to reach $ 20 billion by 2025. With a 25% CAGR, SUGAR is a 7-year-old company with 2500+ stores. Sugar has shown that it wants to establish itself as a retail brand as sugar believes that it wants to be more accessible to its consumers.

The major campaign that broke out was the videos featuring an acid attack survivor, Anmol Rodrigues, this campaign was applauded a lot and was cherished with awards. The role of Instagram promoters in the promotion of beauty products is also well documented. SUGAR also rode the ‘in-box videos’ and ‘before and after’ changes to create awareness.

The strategy to influence the product on Instagram is carefully divided. You can see promoters with big fan bases like Shubangi Anand, but videos with micro-influencers are equally popular.

Till date the brand has more than 1 Million followers more than any of their national competitors

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