D2C Natural Skincare Brand Mystique Earth Bets on Subtle Alchemy of Tradition & Science
Long before the advent of western skincare and beauty products in India, it used to be grandmothers and their home remedies, people relied on for their skincare regime. And now after years of haul on chemical products, Indian consumers are gradually moving back to natural skincare products, made from eco-friendly, sustainable ingredients.
The Indian consumers, especially the millennials have become increasingly aware and knowledgeable when it comes to embracing holistic living with clean, plant-based nutrition and wellness products. And to top it up, the pandemic has visibly catalyzed a social transition towards adopting a healthier and cleaner plant-based lifestyle across the country and even globally.
According to Grand View Research, the global natural skincare product market size was valued at US$ 10.84 billion in 2019 and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.0 percent from 2020 to 2027.
Gaurav Tiwari, Co-Founder, Mystique Earth, avers, “The skincare industry has evolved a lot in the last decade. The current situation of this market is growing by leaps and bounds each day. While many home-grown players have emerged in this sector, only a few come across as authentic with a vision and legacy for the future. As an essential ally in the pursuit of wellness and beauty, nature-inspired brands value sustainable production and distribution practices. This wave of agile, innovative homegrown skincare brands is based on values, a sense of self-expression, and a sustainable manner central to human civilization by leveraging scientific and engineered approaches. Attention to ingredients, quality, and efficacy have garnered exacting standards in the beauty industry. Holistic skincare brands help contemplate the art of reinventing business for a sustainable today and purposeful future. The essence is creating an impression concurrent as enduring and as sophisticated as approachable, viewing self-care as an empathetic part of the lifestyle. It is a tiny part of the choice they are encouraged to make towards sustainable living, making CSR an expectation and no exception.”
One thing is definite. Beauty and skincare are of the most complex industries with diverse customer tastes and needs and pandemic sure helped many inclines and conform with these changing trends – be it the popularity of natural products or going online and even adapting D2C model.
What’s on Offer?
The natural skincare segment is continuously evolving in India courtesy of factors like growing concerns regarding the side effects of chemicals on the skin, dissemination of knowledge related to the benefits of natural skincare, growing celebrity involvement in the promotion of natural beauty products, more time being spent online and on social media by millennial population, the rapid growth of a number of start-ups offering natural skincare products, rising disposable income, etc.
According to Research and Markets, the Indian skincare products market was valued at Rs 129.76 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of ~8.22 percent during the 2021- 2025 period, to reach a value of Rs 191.09 billion by 2025.
Even as the pandemic has goaded people to spend more cautiously, people are open to paying a premium for these natural, eco-friendly skincare products. They are now looking at the value that these products have to offer and this has led to the growth of this segment as also the number of start-ups offering natural skincare products.
Statista maintains that in relation to total population figures, per person revenues of US$ 0.60 are generated in 2021. In line with such potential in the product category, Mystique Earth prides itself in offering the best in class, nature-inspired products.
Gaurav Tiwari maintains, “The brand is a cultural epitome inspired by the arts, allure and Tribal Alchemy of Central India. Each bottle encourages a deep connection to the natural world that can be felt with every use. Mystique Earth uses skincare as a journey in building relationships and reconnecting with all things. The decision about where to source from impacts economies, ecosystems, and cultures. And we strive to source the most vibrant, regionally grown, and ethical ingredients. Our formulas are rooted in creating balance and harmony to enhance what makes you uniquely beautiful. Our goal is to incorporate the beauty and wonder of nature into your daily skincare rituals. We believe loving who you are at this moment and following your intuition is where beauty begins. Our core product range spans skincare, body care, and hair care, priced between Rs 500- Rs 2,000.”
The average ticket size at Mystique Earth is around Rs 1,500 and around 15-30 percent of its revenue is generated from tier-II and tier-III towns.
The Right Push
While its nature-inspired products are a definite pull among its customer base, Mystique Earth believes in connecting directly to its audience and so, is operating on a D2C business model. Besides its own website, the brand is available on marketplaces in Amazon and Nykaa and is planning to open its first physical retail outlet very soon in order to create an omnichannel strategy.
“D2C is a business model that’s here to stay as physical retail spaces are becoming increasingly unreliable. Web and social media presence help establish an independent identity for brands without confining it to any geography and helps brands get subjected to many consumers who have boundless potential to be capitalized on. Mystique Earth also navigates the same playbook by leveraging the D2C boom in India. According to me, the fundamental strategy to build a successful D2C brand is to create an immersive user experience and customer journey. The real-time customer delight, as well as sampling strategy, also helps over a more extended period, expediting client loyalty for the brand,” asserts Gaurav Tiwari.
The start-up, while working towards offering an omnichannel experience to its customer base, believes that integrating technology in the overall operations of the brand is of paramount importance and gives an edge to the brand over the others. Mystique Earth has invested about 20 percent of its initial investments into technological integration, at various levels of the functioning of the brand.
Furthermore, besides offering the tech-enabled service to its client base, Mystique Earth believes that offering the right kind and quality product goes a long way.
Gaurav Tiwari tells, “We manufacture our products with complete quality checks and processes standardized by cosmetic standards in the country. We engage with only very high-quality third-party manufacturing facilities that have all the compliance and protocols in place. Right from the inception of the product to the final packaging, there are strict quality control procedures involved.”
And to communicate about its product range, Mystique Earth connects with its target audience mostly through its social media handles which act as a catalyst to bring like-minded people together, pronouncing inclusivity and diversity.
Challenges & The Way Ahead
The rise of awareness and ease of availability of products through multichannel approach, etc. are driving this segment and this growth in the market is impacting the overall category in many ways – whether by creating a greater connection between brands and customers or by reducing entry barriers to innovations by new brands.
It is worth noting here that consumers have now started to shift, if not completely move, from cosmetics to natural skincare while they are veering towards skinmalism’ (using the bare minimum to achieve a natural kind of beauty). Even as this market had established players ruling the segment for years now, 2020 and 2021 have been mostly about the newer, innovative, honest, and home-grown brands that are taking it on themselves to connect with the customer base in a meaningful way while also offering true product range.
Also, what has worked for these home-grown natural skincare brands is being transparent to its target audience and in fact, an Asia Cosmetics report had maintained that in 2017, globally 40 percent of the change in the buying decision of the consumers has inflected because of natural ingredient listing on the packaging.
While the challenges have been tremendous in terms of sales channels, delivery, supply chain, etc., Mystique Earth continued to move ahead with agile adaptation and by keeping in touch with its customers.
“We have managed to remain steady at break-even for our investments in this brand during this fiscal. We have registered an average month-on-month rise in revenue at about 7.5 percent. We have an innovation pipeline for some exotic oils and hair care products. And we also plan to open our first physical retail outlet very soon within the next couple of months,” concludes Gaurav Tiwari.