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The Vegan Beauty Builder Plum has had an exciting journey in the D2C domain, which has been shaped by the evolving needs of customers seeking more premium experiences.

By Punita Sabharwal

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Shankar Prasad, Founder & CEO, Plum

Plum has always been a digital-first brand as they were one of the first movers in the D2C space; however, they realized the full potential of digital platforms and the need to seize the opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stating the same, Shankar Prasad, Founder & CEO, Plum says, "As the pandemic hit, traditional brick-and-mortar stores were forced to shut down, causing a massive shift in consumer behavior towards online shopping. We saw a significant increase in traffic on our website as well as online channels such as Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa etc. with a surge in online sales, indicating a change in the way consumers were shopping. Another huge shift was seen in content consumption. As lockdowns hit, people started consuming more content. We saw this as a massive opportunity and increased our content marketing efforts through our social media channels such as Instagram and YouTube to educate our audience about beauty topics. This enabled us to enter their consideration set sooner than before."

Additionally, the pandemic also brought about an increased focus on self-care, an aspect that is closely connected to Plum's business. With more people seeking safe and effective skincare and personal care products, it became clear that the digital space presented a huge opportunity for them to reach out to a wider audience and grow its business. Plum has had an exciting journey in the D2C domain, which has been shaped by the evolving needs of customers seeking more premium experiences. As the market continues to premiumize, they have been focused on building a strong, loyal community of customers who appreciate high-quality, effective, and vegan beauty products.

Talking about their strategy, Prasad mentions, "Our approach has been to introduce new and innovative products that cater to the evolving needs of our customers. Accordingly, we are also expanding our skin care range through the launch of more face wash variants and plan to further expand our hair care portfolio in the coming months. The same is true across categories such as makeup; we recently launched our Colour Cosmetics category with nail paints and lipsticks and plan to scale this aggressively." To expand into newer geographies, the brand is taking the distribution route and focusing on trade partners to take the brand to the right segment in specific regions such as Southeast Asia, parts of the Gulf, and Africa. They have distributors in some Eastern African countries, and in countries surrounding India such as Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Plum has a presence in 15 countries currently.

When asked about his struggles before launching the brand Prasad reminisces, "A year was spent researching ingredients, product formulations, packaging, and branding. Once the initial product range was ready, we launched Plum through our website. Our revenue has grown by 25x since 2018, and we have ambitious plans to scale up even further in the coming years." Despite being a digital-first brand, the brand wanted to have physical outlets to create an omnichannel experience for consumers as they were expanding their offerings and entered new categories. Currently, Plum is a company with an ARR of INR 400 Cr+. "The goal is to reach INR 500 Cr. in very short term."

FACTS:

>> Online platform resulting in maximum revenue: Own D2C website

>> Turnover for FY 2022-23: INR 300 Cr+

>> Split between offline and online sales: 60% online, 40% offline

>> Year of Inception: 2014

>> Team size:~300 >> Customer Repeat ratio: 40%+

>> Amount of external funding raised: USD 50mn+

Punita Sabharwal

Entrepreneur Staff

Managing Editor, Entrepreneur India

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