Shades of beauty
Vineeta Singh, co-founder and CEO of SUGAR Cosmetics, has made a place for herself in the beauty and cosmetics industry. The passionate entrepreneur opens up to CE about her journey
For long, the concept of ‘beauty for all’ seemed far-fetched. At a time when leading brands catered primarily to lighter skin tones and offered products that could barely stand the test of the Indian weather, SUGAR Cosmetics emerged as a market disruptor.
Offering shades designed for the Indian skin tone, the brand is anchored on the idea of making beauty products that can brave rain or shine. The brain behind it, Vineeta Singh, has made her presence felt in just seven years of launching the brand. While her big dream is to take her venture international, she admits that surviving in a highly competitive industry is no child’s play.
Singh, who has a flagship store in Bengaluru, has always been passionate about building a business by women and for women, as the core audience. Which is why she declined a plush `1 crore job offer to pursue her dream of becoming an entrepreneur. “I remember making many women-centric business plans on paper while studying, knowing that it was something I wanted to pursue. Fast forward to 2012, we launched a subscription service that offered women an assortment of beauty products every month, and a number of them shared their preferences with us. This made us realise that none of the brands catered to the Indian skin tone or was favourable to the Indian climate. That is when I decided to enter this space,” she says.
About the brand’s name, she explains that during a brainstorming session, one of the team members suggested the name ‘sugar’, explaining that applying makeup products gives you a sugar rush minus the calories.
The Indian beauty industry has seen remarkable growth over the past few decades. Beauty brands are now more in tune with their consumers, they are more focused on their needs. “Gen Z and millennials want products that not only make them look beautiful, but also reflect their personality. For them, makeup is a form of self-expression and this is what the industries are focussing on,” she says.
The challenges are several. Managing the credit cycle is key to keeping the working capital cycle to a bare minimum, which in turn ensures efficient capital use and rotation is something Singh has learnt over time. “We had little funding when we had started out and that was really tough – I recall times when we were out of stock and yet couldn’t order a new batch of products because we just didn’t have the money. Today we have a team that monitors this every day and intervenes to help our trade partners ease our cash flows,” she says.
As Singh puts it, “I trusted my instincts on choosing the life I wanted for myself, and the rest, as you know, just followed.”