Aishwarya Ramesh
Marketing

“Working at Unilever prepared me for the challenges of the startup world”: Apratim Majumder, MyGlamm

A conversation with the cosmetic brand’s marketing head on expansion plans, marketing strategy and its first TVC.

MyGlamm has set its sights on expansion. The direct-to-consumer beauty company was founded in 2015 by Darpan Sanghvi. In July 2020, MyGlamm acquired digital content platform POPxo and Priyanka Gill came on board as a co-founder. The MyGlamm-POPxo-Plixxo community has nearly 88 million annual female users, 1.5 billion annual video views and 1.5 lakh influencers.

In June 2021, Apratim Majumder of Hindustan Unilever (HUL) joined the company as chief marketing officer. At HUL, he worked as category head – Naturals. Majumder has over 15 years of experience in the FMCG sector.

Apratim Majumder
Apratim Majumder

In March 2021, MyGlamm opened its Series C round, with Rs 175 crore investments by Ascent, Amazon and Wipro. It marked Amazon’s first investment in a consumer brand in India. Post the funding, the company was valued at $100 million, reports The Economic Times. Other institutional investors in MyGlamm include Bessemer Venture Partners, the Mankekar family and L’Occitane.

MyGlamm now competes with the likes of Sugar Cosmetics, Mamaearth, Plum Cosmetics, Nykaa Cosmetics and Purplle. Ironically, MyGlamm’s products are listed on both Nykaa and Purplle, despite being competitors (mainly to MyGlamm’s website and app). The main source of revenue for MyGlamm is their website and app but these beauty aggregators are an important source of revenue for the brand too.

Investor-turned-endorser and actress Shraddha Kapoor stars in MyGlamm’s first-ever TVC, in which she is seen applying different products as her partner looks on with curiosity.

Over a video call, Majumder tells us that the main aim of the campaign was to establish the brand. Sideways is the agency behind this campaign. Majumder mentions that the brief was to amplify the brand and grab eyeballs.

In a press release, Abhijit Avasthi, co-founder of Sideways, said, "MyGlamm tries to understand what women want and craft products for them accordingly. With this film, we hope to get many more people to share their beauty wishlist. Sideways started partnering with MyGlamm in 2017, right from the product/packaging development stage and, hence, it is extremely fulfilling to see this journey to the first TVC release."

Other celebrities who have been associated with the brand include designer Manish Malhotra, who designed a range of products in collaboration with actress Sonakshi Sinha.

MyGlamm uses a combination of technology, content and social media to allow the consumers to discover its products and view tutorials on how to use them to create ‘looks’ for various occasions. Using the MyGlamm app, the users can give their feedback to the brand and help co-create products.

Majumder says that these days, the consumers are well educated and have high awareness levels. “We have a symbiotic relationship with our consumers. Members of the community test our products, give feedback and we try to implement the changes. We had feedback from nearly 50,000 women, who found the matte lipstick drying. So, we formulated a lipstick with moisturiser in it. Customer feedback helps us brief the R&D lab, when it comes to creating products.”

He adds that when the COVID pandemic first broke out, the company saw a slight slowdown in sales because of the initial anxiety, but the levels eventually came back to normal. Majumder also informs us that MyGlamm has a presence on online platforms like Nykaa, Purplle and other aggregators but majority sales come from the company's app and website

When asked about the competition – he simply replies that he wants the brand to have a presence where the customers are. He adds that MyGlamm has over 10,000 offline points of sales across 70 Indian cities.

MyGlamm also works closely with almost two lakh micro-influencers to bring in the aspect of relatability. “It’s all about choosing a vehicle to carry your brand message. At the end of the day, if you’re not authentic, the consumer will be able to see right through you.”

Majumder recalls that he had quit his (HUL) job and was looking to join the startup space when he got a call from (MyGlamm founder) Sanghvi.

“Unilever is one of the best companies in the world to learn marketing from. I learned a lot by working with some major brands under the HUL umbrella and, in many ways, it prepared me for the challenges of the startup world,” he signs off.

Brand strategist Toru Jhaveri points out that in its current state, the beauty industry is a highly competitive one and that as a strategy, it makes sense for MyGlamm to have a presence on aggregator sites apart from its own sites.

"The beauty business right now is all about discoverability and novelty. Women are constantly browsing the space and keeping an eye on what's new and what's not. It makes sense for a beauty brand to be discoverable in as many places as possible," she says.

Toru Jhaveri
Toru Jhaveri

Jhaveri mentions that MyGlamm's strategy of working with micro-influencers is a good one - since it's a good way to create trust of the brand among consumers. "If a consumer sees someone she knows using a particular product, the tendency to trust it is higher than if the product was endorsed by a celebrity."

Reviewing the creative effort, Titus Upputuru, creative head of Taproot Dentsu Gurgaon points out that this is a time when brands are coming of age. “They are understanding that they need to have a conversation. It can’t be a monologue anymore. Brands are becoming more human, which is a positive thing. Beauty ads were all about these flawless, impeccable close up shots of the skin, lips and hair. I am glad we are moving beyond that. It’s tongue in cheek and Shraddha Kapoor does add some chutzpah to the execution.”

When asked about the equity of makeup in a WFH and mask laden world, he explains that right now, online and offline worlds are getting tangled like wires left to themselves.

Titus Upputuru
Titus Upputuru

“There are 3 things that I feel are happening. Firstly, with video calls being the norm, what's interesting is that a whole lot of make-up options are available online in the form of filters. Secondly, women are using lighting to advantage. So it’s not just about the light available in an office. Thirdly, because of the video calls, the mirror is right in front of them all the time. So it’s no more a quick look into the handy mirror in the elevator or a peek into the restroom. The mirror is in front of them all the time, where they can see themselves,” he concludes.

Agency credits:

Client:

Apratim Majumder, CMO, MyGlamm

Sasha Chhetri, head of category, beauty, MyGlamm

Priti Rajput, head of category, personal care, MyGlamm

Aditi Bhalotra, senior brand manager, MyGlamm

Creative agency: Sideways

Production house: Superfly Films

Director: Kopal Naithani

Producer: Samson Vasave