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This 27-year-old Brand Has Established Itself without Any Traditional Advertising A common name in Indian households, Biotique is hustling online to attract youth

By Aastha Singal

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Entrepreneur India

Owing to the growing awareness about Ayurveda and influx of technology-driven beauty initiatives, biotechnology has become a buzzword. However, when Vinita Jain founded Biotique in 1992, it was a little known word in India and globally.

Despite having 5,000-year-old ancient ayurvedic heritage and ample of natural resources, Indians failed to recognize therapeutic plants as anything more than a "dadi ma ka nuskha'. Today, India is among the top 12 biotech destinations in the world and ranks second in Asia, after China.

Valued at $51 billion in FY18, the industry is expected to reach $100 billion by FY25. Jain caught onto the worth of biotech early on. Her business acumen and passion about preserving the legacy of plant-based medication led to the creation of Biotique.

With the initial investment of INR 10 crore, Jain established an organization that represented ancient techniques passed on through generations mixed with contemporary science and beauty treatment. By the early 2000s, Biotique was a household name.

Unlike other beauty majors who are big on commercials, Jain steered clear of traditional advertising practices and built Biotique organically. Taking her legacy forward is Ishaan Jain, who is spearheading the brand's digital expansion and e-commerce presence.

The "Younger' Appeal

Over the years, Biotique has been well-positioned as a pocket-friendly organic beauty brand. The digital wave brought in the need to increase online visibility for wider acceptance by the younger generation. That's where Ishaan stepped in.

Born and brought up in around the business his mother has established, Jain had entrepreneurship ingrained into him very early in life. Already familiar with the brand's essence, he started working on digitally transforming the company.

India's digital landscape was evolving at a tremendous pace, so did Biotique's online strategy. The brand which never believed in running long-term promotional commercials is today involved in various digital campaigns for catching the eyes of millennial worldwide.

Going Digital is the Key

Biotique is one of the only brands in India or globally that has built without any advertising,(use ; instead) which is a great testament to the brand and to the product. "We have never spent on TV ads but has progressed through sheer word-of-mouth technique," Jain boasts.

"Biotique is a testament of building a brand, which is growing consistently at over 80 per cent year-on -year without any kind of marketing," he said. The brand has been able to efficiently capitalize the market and scale digitally, even going ahead of competitors like Unilever, PNG and L'Oreal.

Digitally selling simultaneously on all major e-commerce platforms and Biotique's official website, Jain is keen on bettering their online reach. However, he does admit that more sales happen through third party commerce platforms because "e-commerce platforms have a higher audience reach."

Changing Along the Course

The struggle of digitally transforming a traditional organization is more internal. Unlike the millennial, Gen-Y employees are not as accustomed to emerging trends, this restricts them from accepting the change. This constraint has carved ways for creation of new positions within the organization.

"In the first two years of me joining in, we had to hire over 500 people. For organizational growth and transformation, we needed to create a completely new structure of an organogram, which was agreed to by the current organization," Jain stated.

Apart from overlooking the entire digital foray of Biotique in India and some of the international markets, Jain is also looking at the brand's retail store expansion. Besides the general trade distribution, the brand operates through various retail stores and plans to take the number to 100 within a year.

What's the Secret?

One of the very few internally funded and debt-free companies in India, Biotique is growing at 15 to 20 per cent higher than the nearest competitors. Various private equity players have expressed interest in investing the brand but the promoters are not keen on raising funds from external sources.

Biotique's digital business is growing by over 200 per cent. The company exports to over 200 countries and recently launched a range of products for children in partnership with Disney. With the aim of capturing the whole of personal care segment, it might foray into the cosmetics market next.

India doesn't have many women entrepreneurs leading billion-dollar organizations. By starting her journey in the 90s, Vinita Jain became an inspiration, not only for females but her own son too. Ishaan Jain has big shoes to fill in but with the spirit of "perseverance, persistence and passion', he plans to sail through.

Aastha Singal

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Features Writer

A business journalist looking to find happiness in the world of startups, investments, MSMEs and more. Officially started her career as a news reporter for News World India, Aastha had short stints with NDTV and NewsX. A true optimist seeking to make a difference, she is a comic junkie who'd rather watch a typical Bollywood masala than a Hollywood blockbuster. 

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