The men’s segment is going to grow the fastest, we’ll launch a complete men's line by early next year: Samir Modi, Colorbar Cosmetics
Samir Modi, Founder & Managing Director, Colorbar CosmeticsColorbar
Samir Modi, Founder & Managing Director at Colorbar Cosmetics talks to us about the brand journey

The men’s segment is going to grow the fastest, we’ll launch a complete men's line by early next year: Samir Modi, Colorbar Cosmetics

Samir Modi, Founder & Managing Director at Colorbar Cosmetics talks to us about the brand journey
  • Colorbar Cosmetics has a strong roadmap in place to ensure it creates an edge for itself in the cosmetics segment in India.
  • Samir Modi, Founder & Managing Director at Colorbar Cosmetics talks to us about how the brand re-caliberated marketing and growth strategies during the pandemic, and about its growth plans for the future.
Last year, the pandemic and ensuing lockdown brought retail outlets to a complete halt, and with it, consumer-facing brands heavily dependent on retail had to do quickly pivot to be able to keep the business going.

For a lot of categories, like cosmetics, sales almost became zero, considering people were stuck at homes with no use of makeup anymore. However, this was the time many brands revamped their strategies and launched products that were relevant for people during those times.

In the middle of the pandemic last year, Colorbar Cosmetics introduced essentials, perhaps the most relevant segment for consumers during that period. It also re-caliberated its marketing strategies, coming up with ways of ensuring that it had a constant recall and recognition among consumers.

Meanwhile, the brand is also spreading its wings, entering newer segments. It is currently in the process of launching a complete men's line by early next year. It is also working on increasing its penetration model in Tier I, Tier II and Tier III cities.

We recently caught up with Samir Modi, Founder & Managing Director at Colorbar Cosmetics to understand how the business was impacted by the pandemic and all that it is doing to get back on track, and its plans for the next few years.


Q) 2020 was a difficult year for brands across the world. How did the pandemic affect Colorbar?

2020 was a very difficult year in many aspects, the markets were down, retail was closed, customers were not coming in, shops were closed and new product launches were delayed. We had to withdraw some products from an expectation point of view. We also had to take care of our beauty advisors in the market and make sure that their livelihood is maintained in respect of sales happening. Now that the second wave of pandemic is hopefully on closure and markets opening, we feel far more at ease. The markets are normalising, sales are up, we are evolving and new products are coming in and with customers being more buoyant, we are very enthused that the recovery has happened and we are continuing to grow.

Q) How have things been in 2021? What was your recovery strategy?
2021 has been great in establishing ourselves once again and reinforcing our strategy. The first strategy that we implemented on recovery was to clear the market. We wanted to start with the product being fresh. We put out a lot of programs for our beauty advisors to motivate them to reach out to our retailers, to reconnect the ties and assure them that we will get through the pandemic and move forward. We also introduced new products since we get quick wins to build the confidence of the beauty industry, which includes our suppliers and retailers who are very important and our leadership stakeholders who are associated with Colorbar are our prime concern inside and outside and I feel that this is the reason we’re back on track and are growing.

Q) How did you revamp your online strategy to ensure you reach your consumers when they are stuck at home?
We introduced essentials, the only segment that was prevalent during the pandemic. We came up with a robust program for our beauty advisors. We became digitally aligned so they could reach out to customers who they knew personally and could fulfill their makeup needs by joining our D2C ventures.

We also reached out to our loyal members by offering them special discounts and initiatives. This was when we experienced that skincare as a segment was picking up pace. We also launched the Blue Light Defense Range in the pandemic, which no other brand had during that time. At a time when consumers were glued to their screens, we needed something in the market to salvage the skincare-related issues cropping up, owing to limitless hours of WFH. We launched this collection to help protect the skin from the blue light that emanates from the screen. A step in the right direction, it opened various avenues for us and we understood the need of the hour. We have also launched an entire collection of Hemp, focusing on nature-inspired products and ingredients. We feel we are the first ones to launch something of that magnitude for consumer wellbeing. The combination of essentials and increased focus on skincare while enabling advisors to reach out to their customers was a culmination of things that really helped us get out.

Q) What part of your business is coming from online sales now? How much of that is coming from your own website and how much is from other ecommerce platforms?
Predominantly marketplace and offline lead brands account to our major online sales. Today, the GA business brings the marketplace model between the Nykaa and Myntra into the world which is 30% and the balance 70% comes from the EBO (Exclusive Brand Outlets), GT (General Trade), MT (Modern Trade) source that we have. We also have a new strategy going forward for our own brand on the website that is now coming into force. We will have a full reverse structure also for D2C straight from our portal by January 2022.

Q) What has your marketing strategy been in these difficult times? How are you making sure you are top-of-mind for your consumers? Did you increase your marketing spends this year?
For a constant recall and recognition and to be on the top of minds of the consumers, we had 2-3 phases of strategy. First being for the customer, second the retailer and third the beauty advisor. In terms of an outreach program for retailers, we've launched a very robust program through renewed stickiness since Colorbar is already in the top 3 brands across stores.

As a ‘feel-good’ strategy for beauty advisors, we launched an entire program called Project Ghar, Laggan, and Brides, which are programs that are introduced to make the beauty advisor feel like a larger part of the family since even a small amount makes a big difference for them.

And thirdly, we are spending a lot more on performance marketing. There's been a lot on our social media to remain on top of the minds of our customers. We also do a lot of online training sessions to give consumers the skill sets of new techniques, new products and help them imbibe newer skill sets that they didn't have time to dwell on before.

Q) Going ahead will there be any change in your marketing strategy?
Going ahead, we will be doing many things that are different and are now broken up into offline, online and experiential selling. In the offline space, we are going in depth to where we currently are, adding close to 5000 outlets in the next one year.

In our EBO’s, we plan to add another 100 stores to existing stores. We are re-doing our own website and are launching 2 or 3 new brands in the digital segment. We will have a presence offline on those brands but predominantly it is going to be direct to the consumer.

The money being spent is really on each of these elements. One is a personalized touch and experience with the retailer where there is nothing to do about business but it was really about their support that got us here and to thank them, to validate that and to celebrate the reason why we are here.

Colorbar is not just about sales, it's the relationship that binds us with our stakeholders. With the increased incentive and motivation, the beauty advisors are elated when I personally check up on them during my market visits.

It is really about the experience called Colorbar and that is what I believe in. I believe that every touchpoint that we go to should not always be about sales but also the brand values are and these are things that are being pushed forward in the industry.

Q) How are you going deeper into the country?
Until now we have restricted ourselves to man counters to about 1300 outlets which were part of general trade monitoring and EBOs. Now with our EBOs being by about 100 stores, we will be increasing our penetration model in Tier I, Tier II and Tier III cities. We are going to be further supported to get online. It is a combination of deeper penetration into existing cities as we get to new cities and also looking at a new focus on the brand for Tier II and Tier III.

Q) What kind of sales are you witnessing from smaller cities? Is the sales there still driven by physical stores or are they comfortable with shopping online for cosmetics now?
I think smaller cities are still showing a propensity to come offline. Online is still a phenomenon which is more Tier I. But irrespective of Tier I or Tier II, I think more and more customers are now coming out because they are tired of staying at home and they are coming out to experience the product and feel the product. And that is one reason why we are also finding that our sales have now gone ahead compared to the pre-pandemic times.

Q) What kind of growth have you witnessed in the past few years? Do you think you will get back to pre-pandemic levels next year?
During the pre-pandemic times, we had a CAGR growth of 40% and during the pandemic the figures actually went down to almost 0. Today, we have crossed pre annual levels, our recovery and we are now ahead of that by almost 20%. So I think that we are right now in a very good position and we only feel that we should cross the 40% CAGR in the next few years to go ahead of 60%.

Q) Is there any interesting trend that you have witnessed that you would want to talk about?
A few trends that are coming out in the market one is Minis. I think more and more people are trying to put minis in their collections. Minis on their own don’t work, but I think minis in sets are something that is going on as a trend. Skincare is becoming a trend and is far stronger than earlier. Another big trend that is coming out is natural makeup and skincare in men. I think men are going to be the fastest growing segment and we are also looking to launch a complete men's line by early next year.

Q) Where will the next phase of growth for Colorbar come from?
Colorbar has 2-3 verticals where we feel we will grow:
● Online D2C where we were not strong earlier and will strengthen that portfolio for the next few years. That is where we will play a major role.
● More Colorbar stores in the future
● Deeper penetration
● New brand launches
● A wider product portfolio that will encompass men
● We will be getting into nutraceuticals next year which will have a beauty twist. For example, Gummy Bears which will be good for skin and nails to enhance beauty and give radiance to the skin. This will be digestible but will have a beauty element to it