Shreyas Kulkarni

What's The Good Glamm Group’s global gameplan?

The group’s first-ever global commercial officer, Asad Raza Khan, reveals his intentions.

Having worked at Procter & Gamble for nearly fifteen years, a good chunk of it spent grooming The Art of Shaving, a men’s skincare and shaving accessories retailer, as CEO, Asad Raza Khan knows a thing or two about sprucing up business fortunes.

Today, he finds himself back at first base, as the first-ever global commercial officer of The Good Glamm Group. It is a leading Indian D2C unicorn, with a range of beauty, content and commerce brands under its belt. Khan will drive the company’s ambitions of becoming a global name.

Some of the brands The Good Glamm Group owns include MyGlamm, The Moms Co, Sirona, ScoopWhoop, MissMalini and Vidooly.

“When you stay with one company for a long time, you hit a comfort zone. And, even though I was working across multiple locations, it was more like, ‘Okay, is there anything else out there?’," states Khan as one of the three reasons that pushed him to join The Good Glamm Group.

According to him, the group’s efforts to bring the entire content-creator-commerce ecosystem together, is “something rare in today’s world.” And, last, it’s Darpan Sanghvi, founder, The Good Glamm Group, who, as per Khan, wants to drive this intentional foray of the company as a growth engine.

"Traditional trade is not big in the Middle East, but modern trade is."
Asad Raza Khan

Khan is eyeing the Middle East as the first stop of this growth engine. Because of the region’s huge expat population, the group can “leverage not only the Indian clientele, but can also access so many other nationalities.”

The UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are the countries where the group aims to make its presence felt. Khan feels these regions will act as a learning lab to check if the group’s brands are clicking (or not).

Middle East’s subcontinent leverage

One would assume that the Middle East is the group’s first choice because a massive subcontinent diaspora calls it home. This is not the exact picture.

While there is a large population of South Asians in, say, the UAE, “about 45% are non-South Asians.” They are Egyptians, Filipinos, Europeans, Americans, and local Emiratis there. So, “we are taking our brands as a multinational package and giving them faces, which become more relevant to a broader clientele than just copying and pasting what we have in India.”

Localisation is one of the most common ways to appeal to a region’s consumers. Khan, however, will battle not only incumbent rivals, but a culture, unlike India, of luxury consumerism.

The Middle East, for Khan, is a different beast than India, where consumers are willing to shell out, say, 30% extra for a shampoo brand’s specific ingredient. For most Indians (not the top 1%), the group’s products are categorised as “semi-luxurious, but they fall in the mid-tier masstige in the Middle East.”

Middle East’s love for offline

A glittering aspect of the Middle East includes the shiny malls and outlandish experience centres. “Offline is still 90% of the business in the region and online is growing very fast,” reveals Khan.

He says that you can divide the offline markets into three pillars: experience stores, pharmacies, and hyper supermarkets. Unlike India, “traditional trade is not big in the Middle East, but modern trade is.”

The group will target the hyper supermarkets and focus on experiential stores for its beauty brands to “get closer to our consumers and give them a live hands-on feel of the brands.”

The group will also expand into South and Southeast Asia in places like Nepal, Indonesia and Singapore. Will the company’s strategy differ from the one in the Middle East?

It will not, states Khan. “The go-to-market structure will differ because traditional trade is bigger in these regions than in the Middle East.”

Limited reach of the group’s creator and media

The group is not just a parent company of beauty brands. It also has a creator and media wing. The aim is to have the three wings work in tandem. The likes of ScoopWhoop and MissMalini have terrific reach in India. Their reach, however, is limited in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

“Actually, the reach is very effective,” counters Khan. An analysis of the content and creator divisions revealed the spillover effect in Southeast Asia as “phenomenal”, “insane” in Nepal, and “quite high” in the UAE.

Khan, however, says the same effect is less in Saudi Arabia because 60% of its population speaks Arabic and “the infrastructure can’t give us as much leverage as it does in Nepal.”

TikTok once again?

The creator ecosystem is gigantic in India, in terms of the number, but the spaces to leverage these talents are scattered. From Moj to TakaTak to Reels to something else, it is like a crowded fish market. Step outside Indian shores and TikTok towers over everyone. Does it hold the same space in Khan’s mind?

“It is not just about TikTok,” he retorts, adding that the group first identifies what the consumers are following. “In Saudi Arabia, one of the top three apps in use is Snapchat. But it doesn’t make the top five in Dubai.”

Khan does add that TikTok will be a part of the group’s strategy because it is number two in the UAE.

Amazon as a compass?

Khan mentions that the group’s products will be available in all the countries where e-retailer Amazon is present. We (afaqs!) asked him if the e-tailer is his testing lab to choose the group’s next destination.

It is a “yes and no” because while Amazon is a great learning lab, “is it driving out strategy in totality?" Then, it’s a no, he states. "We have a lot of consumer data from their spending to their patterns to what the categories are and that is where we start.”

The question the group asks itself is one, is there a consumer need? Two, is the category large enough for us to play in? Three, can we compete with the competition, in terms of pricing and proposition, before choosing a market?

“The US is definitely on our radar,” says Khan. The group will get some clarity over the next few months if “it wants to go east or west.”

Reverse brand drain on the cards

Will the group acquire international brands and give them a desi touch before bringing them to India?

Over the last 12-18 months, the group made acquisitions only if it made “business sense and added to the company’s strategy. "It is the same for the international agenda… we won’t shy away if a company fits into this play,” remarks Khan.

He feels that you now bring a brand to India because the “Indian consumer is becoming affluent and has been exposed to international brands and they aspire for brands right as they are.”

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