Sugar Cosmetics doesn’t spend moolah on influencer marketing. : Vineeta Singh

The 15th edition of Goafest has seen interesting conversations on day one. Sugar Cosmetics co-founder and chief executive officer Vineeta Singh was part of the biggest advertising festival where she spoke about the journey of Sugar Cosmetics, its marketing channels and talked about the popular show The Shark Tank.

In 2015, Sugar Cosmetics was launched as a digital-first brand, which catered to the needs of Indian women. However, the brand has grown exponentially in the last seven years. Mentioning its growth in the market during day one of the Goafest event, Singh said, “We launched Sugar in 2015 and right now almost 60 per cent of consumers from more than 30,000 offline stores continue to discover us online.”

The sugar cosmetics brand has witnessed a transition since it started its business in the market. “We saw a transition happen and we knew this would amplify. Now, more than 90 per cent of women consumers are doing digital shopping,” she added.

In the initial days, the brand experienced many challenges but being digital-first helped them to establish itself as a strong D2C cosmetics brand. “It seemed so difficult to disrupt the Loreals, P&Gs and Unilevers of the world. But in the last few years, digital has allowed us to compete.”

On unpaid influencer marketing

Sugar Cosmetics has a whopping 2.1 million followers on Instagram, and 60,000 subscribers on Youtube. The brand doesn’t spend a single penny on influencer marketing.

“Consumers have become so smart now and they can easily figure out the fake and paid influencer marketing tactics hence it’s not useful to spend on influencer marketing,” she said.

“We don’t spend on influencer marketing at all, still it is one of the strongest marketing tools for us. We have more than one-thousand influencers associated with us but they are all with us without any fee. They’re the real users of our customers. They promote our brand and in return, we feature them on our platform,” she explained.

The brand is too young for performance marketing

Sugar cosmetics has experimented with performance marketing but the approach didn’t work well for the brand. Sharing the reason behind it, Singh said, “I do feel that just spending as a young brand on performance marketing is not great for brand building.”

Explaining it further, she added, “At the end of the day, you know, the relationship that you have with the consumer, which you get through performance marketing is very transactional.”

She added that the brands are built on deep emotional relationships. So, you need to go beyond the transaction, which is why we feel that the best investment is to woo consumers with a great product, communication, design and packaging.

On being asked, how do they manage to hit that sweet spot between being a premium or affordable product? She reveals that the cosmetic brand does a lot of benchmarking. She added, “Our whole idea is that world-class quality at an affordable price will always be like 40-50 per cent more premium than the largest brands.”

“Despite the price range, we always ensure that when the consumer gets the product in her hand, she feels like she’s getting more than what she paid,” she added.

“At the same time, we invest heavily in the packaging and the entire brand experience is more about a nicely packaged product. Customers are usually ready to pay a slight premium for the room,” she asserted.

On growth in the regional market

While the Indian middle class is a little hesitant when it comes to spending on cosmetic products, Vineeta revealed that the emerging selfie culture has helped them to get a lot of customers from the regional market.

She revealed, “The highest part of our business comes from the Northeastern part of the country, especially West Bengal.”

“In the west, we have a huge consumer base in Punjab and the south, our major business comes from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha,” she added.

She shared, “Looking at the demand in the regional market, we try to create a lot of content in the regional languages ​​as well. The whole northern and central belt gets covered with Hindi. So, we don’t have to create specific content for them but we specifically create a lot of Bengali, Tamil and Telugu content and it works great for us.”

About Shark Tank

After being a part of Shark Tank, Vineeta’s popularity has overpowered the popularity of Sugar Cosmetics. “But it’s my dream to make Sugar cosmetics more famous,” she noted.


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