Lifestyle

From Actor to Entrepreneur

Lara Dutta is all set to add some glamour to the world of entrepreneurship
From Actor to Entrepreneur
Image credit: Lara Dutta Bhupathi Official Facebook
Deputy Editor, Entrepreneur India Magazine
6 min read
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Lara Dutta is all set to add some glamour to the world of entrepreneurship as the former Miss Universe and renowned Bollywood actress recently launched a skincare brand of her own. The beauty icon who is all set to build a business out of it calls her venture her second child and has even named it with the same alphabets.

In the recent development, Mahesh Bhupathi co-founded beauty brand Scentials has raised INR 25 crore in fresh funding led by Unilever Ventures as it looks to expand its range of offerings by partnering with more celebrities in the coming months. In January the firm launched fragrance brand one8 in partnership with Virat Kohli followed by the launch of skin care brand Arias along with Lara Dutta.

You have turned an entrepreneur in your 40s. Do you think the innings started late?

I honestly never comply with any kind of age bracket. When I entered the fashion industry I was one of the youngest people at that time. I turned a producer way before the other actresses followed suit. Age doesn’t define the work you commit to do, but I wish I should have done it earlier. But every idea has its own time. For us, this is the right time.

The launch happened in Dubai, why not in India?

We were cashing in on one of the largest exhibitions in the world. So we had all the buyers and sellers under one roof. I wanted to test and look at its positioning at a global level. It was coordinated well and in April we launched there. We are present online too on Amazon.

For offline expansion, are you tying up with hypermarkets or specialty retailers?

The entire range will not be available at every store because we have to see the price point. Without compromising on the formulations, we made sure that it is affordable for the masses.

Did the idea strike two years back, or it was at the back of your mind for long?

It has been there for quite some time. I have been in the beauty, fashion and glamour business for the last 25 years. I had the good fortune of working with some of the best experts from across the globe. So I worked with the best make-up artists, best skin care experts. In this part of the world we face a lot of sun damage, pollutants, and we really wanted to combat that. We spent two years with dermatologists in India and decided on the ingredients we wanted to put in the formulation. We got the ingredients from Korea and Japan. The idea was to find products which are sustainable plus economical.

Apart from having the Lara Dutta tag, what else is there for consumers to look forward to in your beauty products?

I am 41-year old. The less women meddle with their skin the longer lasting results they can have in maintaining a good skin. Today women are bombarded constantly, whether through social media, advertising or all of it. They don’t work as miracles. If you maintain a simple routine, you don’t need to spend a bomb. We all spend money buying jars worth thousands and use them sparingly. As they keep it for years, the properties of the cream totally change. You can have a simple, consistent skin care routine, which will not break the bank. The key is what skin care you need living in this part of the world with antioxdiants, with sun protectors. Though I am all for natural products and ayurveda, I feel with time you actually start seeing visible signs of aging and you need more help than just grandma’s face packs.

Is there a story behind the brand name?

I took my daughter’s name and turned it around.

How involved are you in the business?

I am hands on everything. I have gone through over 120 fragrances. Everything from packaging to positioning to branding. We got the packaging bang on. We kept it effective and simple. I have been my own guinea pig for the last two years. I pretty much own the product to the visible signs of aging and you need more help than just grandma’s face packs.

Is there a story behind the brand name?

I took my daughter’s name and turned it around.

How involved are you in the business?

I am hands on everything. I have gone through over 120 fragrances. Everything from packaging to positioning to branding. We got the packaging bang on. We kept it effective and simple. I have been my own guinea pig for the last two years. I pretty much own the product to the point of realizing this is what I want. For me really it was not about anything else but the effort and energy I put in. There is a very well thought business plan. We have investors already on board. There is entire distribution and marketing planned. I believe the brand can become a household name. By October-November we will have more products in place.

With more actresses becoming entrepreneurs, do you think it changed their outlook?

These actresses have the opportunity to start some venture. Earlier they would just invest in real estate. I see the trend changing now. They are building production houses. It is fascinating. Business is no longer a man’s domain. We know what it takes to get your products out on the racks. I learn a lesson a day. Actors live in a protected world. Ninety per cent of the time our roles are away from reality. You are not subjected to what is the real plight of life. You see real India but you are surrounded by managers and bodyguards with you.

Whom do you look up to on the business front?

On the business side of things, I definitely look up to Mahesh. He organized sports management prior to anybody else. He has a good business head on his shoulders. I have always been a woman’s woman. The greatest strength is the women relationships I have in my life. With my daughter I am this cool mom, I come from a family of women. They are all very strong. When I really have to troubleshoot it all goes out there. I am fortunate to have such female support around me.

(This article was first published in the June issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)

Editor's Note: Funding Announcement of Scentials added later. 

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