How Plum Is Hoisting The Indian Flag In The Rise Of Clean Beauty

When most millennials are rejecting chemical cosmetics, here's a brand which aims to deliver beauty for good - by being good to others, animals, nature and to your skin.

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Let’s be honest! While everyone talks of conscious living, only a handful of us actually implement it in our day-to-day life. At the backdrop of this thought, an enthusiastic chemical engineer Shankar Prasad found Plum in 2013. The beauty brand was created in a London design studio with most products designed in the EU. Prasad says, “During my travels abroad, I used to be in awe of the sheer variety and quality of consumer brands available. And many of these brands operate with a strong core philosophy that’s reflected in everything they do. I set out to think what India was lacking when it came to a beauty brand, and that’s how I shaped the concept of Plum.”

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Prasad, a chemical engineer from IIT Bombay, worked at Hindustan Unilever in manufacturing and product development. He then completed an MBA from ISB Hyderabad and worked at McKinsey. Thereafter, he worked with Everstone’s consumer sector investments. He was also a part of the founding team for FACES Cosmetics in India.

Shankar Prasad, Founder and Director, Plum

As India’s first 100 per cent vegan beauty brand, Plum desires its customers to feel good about the skin they are born with and take good care of it with only the best that nature has to offer. Its products range from skincare, cosmetics, body and bath essentials. Plum’s products are entirely free of harsh chemical ingredients, following stringent global guidelines. In fact, the brand gives away 1 per cent of its sales towards environmental causes, as a member of the global non-profit ‘One Percent for the Planet’. Sharing more on the start of the brand, Prasad says, “I spent the first few months researching and working with designers to establish the brand philosophy and a brand language that’s consistent with the philosophy.”


Present across 70 cities in India, one-third of Plum’s sales are generated through offline retail channels while two-thirds come from the online medium. Prasad reveals, “We had launched an organic sunscreen for oily skin in 2016, and it was a disaster because of its bitter taste. We withdrew the product from the market and refrained from it for three years. That sunscreen, now SPF 35, is doing well.”

Plum started its business online first and later initiated its offline journey in 2017. Prasad says, “While there are some who believe that everything is a commodity and brands are passé, I belong firmly to the pro-brand camp. The consumer experience goes beyond the physical aspect of what the product offers – it’s the emotional connect with the brand that separates great experiences (and hence great brands) from the rest.”

(This article was first published in the October 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)