Aishwarya Ramesh

“Indian consumers are experimenting with boutique, personalised brands”: Sukhleen Aneja, Good Glamm

Aneja (ex-CMO, Reckitt Benckiser) recently took charge as CEO of the Good Glamm Group – a content and commerce company. She talks about her plans for the road ahead.

Feminine hygiene startup Sirona recently announced that it has raised Rs 100 crore in funding from the Good Glamm Group, a leading South Asian content to commerce conglomerate co-founded in September 2021.

Good Glamm has been in the news recently for roping in Sukhleen Aneja as the CEO of its beauty and FMCG brands business. Before this, Aneja worked as CMO at Reckitt, where she was responsible for its hygiene portfolio across South Asia.

Sirona, as a brand, is known for making menstrual cups, reusable pads and sustainable period products. It’s not the only company that Good Glamm has shown interest in recently. Brands associated with Good Glamm include MyGlamm, POPxo, Plixxo, BabyChakra, The Moms Co, ScoopWhoop, St. Botanica, and MissMalini.

Good Glamm is backed by L’Occitane, Bessemer Venture Partners, Accel, Prosus Ventures, Warburg Pincus, Amazon, Ascent Capital, Stride Ventures, Mankekar Family Office, Trifecta Capital, Tano Capital, Wipro Consumer, and actress Shraddha Kapoor.

Aneja brings with her nearly two decades of FMCG and beauty experience. She has also worked with Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and L’Oréal Paris.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Sukhleen Aneja</p></div>

Sukhleen Aneja

As CEO, Aneja will work closely with Good Glamm co-founders Darpan Sanghvi, Priyanka Gill and Naiyya Saggi. Aneja will scale and deliver the organisation’s operational and fiscal goals, while creating a future-fit brand roadmap.

“After spending years working on hygiene and personal care brands, I felt the time was right to take the plunge into consumer tech. It’s a growing category and I look forward to the challenge,” says Aneja. She will be working closely with the new businesses acquired by Good Glamm.

“Companies today are evolving at a rapid pace. In consumer tech in India, the D2C revolution is just starting. MyGlamm is a makeup brand that is primarily available online. Post-COVID, we’re seeing more brands shift to the online medium for business,” explains Aneja.

According to her, most Indians today own mobile phones. Out of these mobile phone owners, the transacting population is still growing.

“The transacting population is not more than 100-200 million Indians. This is the right time to build consumer care brands online. I’ve worked with personal care brands, like Veet and Durex, and L’Oreal. My experience was with the makeup category. This opportunity felt like a good coupling of my experience with an industry where I’m looking forward to learning a lot.”

When asked about how the Indian beauty consumer is changing, Aneja mentions that the shift primarily lies in buying and transacting online, and how more consumers are now willing to do it. “When people spend more time at home, the choices they make also become more nuanced, when it comes to selecting products.”

“Another inflection point we’re witnessing is with regards to consumer adoption to online marketplaces. The consumers are now more experimental with boutique and personalised brands. They’re willing to experiment and take risks. It’s no longer only about the traditional, well established brands.”

Aneja calls the COVID pandemic a testing time for not just the consumers and marketers, but all of humanity too. During the first COVID wave, Aneja worked with Reckitt and informs us that there was a lot of complexity at play to make the products available. Sanitisers and cleaning solutions were in high demand, and different states had different protocols about shipping and logistics.

"It became important for us to communicate the importance of hygiene and adopting safe hygiene practices."

“It became important for us to communicate the importance of hygiene and adopting safe hygiene practices. The consumers became more interested in the brands that they could touch and interact with, in this regard. We also had to ensure the safety of our suppliers and ground staff, as they worked to make the products available in different states.”

“In this situation, you can’t just work in a silo.”

Aneja mentions that she learned a lot during the pandemic. One of the most important learnings she had was about public-private partnerships, and how the company had to learn to work closely with the government. “In that situation, you can’t just work in a silo.”

Aneja says that the biggest challenge as the CEO of Good Glamm will be to stay a step ahead of the consumer. “The ecosystem of the company marries content, commerce, and communities. Influencer marketing will be an important part of our strategy. It is important to build an honest relationship with the consumers to gain their trust.”

She adds that when it comes to consumer marketing, it is important to stay connected to your consumers. This was one of her biggest learnings from her time at HUL.

"You can’t sit in an ivory tower and design products for people who’ll never experience them."

“You can’t sit in an ivory tower and design products for people who’ll never experience them. Whether digitally or face to face, it is important to interact with your consumers to understand them. It also became important to take ownership of the brand because HUL, as a company, encourages you to be very hands-on and take ownership of the brand in order to build it.

Aneja acknowledges that her challenges at Good Glamm will be different from the things she has had to tackle in the past. She says that it is important to design brands, keeping consumer needs in mind. And since everyone is going to be online, the need to cut through the clutter is more important than ever.

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