February 25, 2024

The shift from homemade formulations to a booming market of commercially produced cosmetics reflects changing consumer preferences and an increased demand for diverse and specialised beauty products. This transition has been fuelled by factors such as urbanisation, exposure to global beauty trends, and a growing middle-class population with rising disposable incomes, says Dheeraj Bansal, Co-Founder of Recode Studios.

Set up in 2018, he aims to bring about a revolution to the makeup industry. Based in Ludhiana, he is keen on promoting the premium cosmetic brand, which is available online at shop.recodestudios.com. The company is into selling multiple beauty brands and hence, becoming a one-stop portal for all types of beauty and personal care products a customer can look for.

In an exclusive interview to Bizz Buzz, he said India’s beauty and personal care market has witnessed substantial development, ranking fourth globally in terms of revenue generation from this sector in 2022. India always had a rich historical connection with cosmetic products, with their usage documented since the Indus Valley culture. Traditionally, beauty products, including skincare and hair care, were crafted at home using locally available herbs and ingredients. The cultural significance of beauty practices has continued to shape the industry’s landscape, combining traditional wisdom with modern innovations. In recent years, the cosmetic industry in India has undergone a transformative phase.

What are the reasons for increasing awareness of beauty care?

There has been a notable shift in consumer consciousness towards health and personal grooming, which has promoted an increased demand for sustainable cosmetics. People are now more mindful of the products they use, considering not just their effectiveness but also their impact on health and the environment. Moreover, consumers are showing a heightened interest in understanding the purpose and beneficiaries of a product, focusing more on the substance of the item rather than being swayed solely by marketing tactics. This shift indicates a desire for transparency and authenticity in the beauty industry.

Additionally, exposure to global trends and the rise in disposable incomes have fuelled an increased consciousness towards beauty care. As lifestyles evolve, there is a growing acknowledgement of the importance of self-care and grooming. The beauty industry has witnessed a significant impact from the rising number of women in the workforce, reflecting a shift in priorities and an increased emphasis on personal presentation. Lastly, the corporatisation of the beauty industry has brought about a more organised and structured approach, enhancing the overall visibility and accessibility of beauty care products.

Is it a fact that fashion consciousness is no longer confined to females? Of late, men are also showing interest to appear better and trendy. Please elaborate on this trend.

Traditionally, societal norms often dictated that beauty and grooming were primarily associated with women. However, this paradigm is undergoing a remarkable shift. Men today are breaking free from traditional stereotypes, embracing self-expression through fashion and grooming practices. Men’s growing interest in appearance and trends is evident in various aspects of the beauty industry.

Grooming products created for men including skincare, hair care, and cosmetics, are experiencing increased demand. Men are now more open to experimenting with different styles, hairstyles, and even makeup to express their individuality.

Furthermore, the influence of social media and fashion-forward celebrities has played a significant role in shaping this trend. Men, like their female counterparts, are exposed to a constant stream of fashion and beauty content, inspiring them to explore and adopt new trends. Influencers and celebrities are breaking traditional gender norms, promoting a more inclusive and diverse approach to beauty and fashion. This shift not only expands the market for beauty and fashion products but also contributes to a more inclusive and progressive cultural landscape.

Are there any recent developments or innovations within the industry that have caught your attention?

One of the recent developments we have observed within the industry is the widespread adoption of sustainability and natural ingredients. Beauty brands are aligning themselves with the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly and organic products. Additionally, sunscreen technology is undergoing a fascinating evolution. Sunscreens with a fixed ratio of UVB and UVA filters, as well as the emergence of convenient spray-on formulations, have gained prominence. Products featuring light and transparent textures are trending too, catering to those who seek effective sun protection without compromising on comfort and aesthetics.

Every industry faces its set of challenges. What are some of the key challenges that the makeup industry is currently grappling with?

Within the makeup industry, we have recognised several key challenges that are currently being grappled with. One significant challenge stems from the prevalence of high-contrast photographs, photoshopped images, and those adorned with filters. These visuals can be misleading for consumers, creating false expectations about the transformative power of makeup products. Social media and magazines, in particular, contribute to the dissemination of unrealistic beauty standards, often as a means to promote specific brands. Addressing this challenge requires a concerted effort from beauty brands to encourage transparency and communication.

Moreover, the landscape of consumer knowledge has undergone a profound shift, with platforms like Instagram and YouTube empowering consumers with unprecedented access to information. While this increased awareness is positive, it also presents a challenge. Consumers armed with varying degrees of information, can become skeptical and discerning. Convincing them about the efficacy of beauty treatments, services, or product benefits becomes more challenging amidst the sea of opinions and information available. The need for clear, accurate, and reliable communication becomes crucial in steering through this challenge.

What makes your homegrown brand a distinctive and compelling choice in the makeup industry?

Our homegrown brand stands out as a distinctive and compelling choice in the makeup industry for a variety of reasons that encapsulate our commitment to quality, innovation, and a deep understanding of the local market. What sets us apart is our unwavering dedication to using quality ingredients. Our formulations are specifically crafted to cater to Indian skin types and tones, ensuring that our products not only meet but exceed the expectations of our diverse customer base. We prioritise the use of premium ingredients to deliver makeup solutions that are not only effective but also considerate of the unique characteristics of the local demographic. Catering to local needs is another hallmark of our brand. As a homegrown brand, we possess an intimate understanding of the local market which allows us to create our products and services to meet the specific needs and preferences of our customers. In terms of packaging, we understand that presentation matters. Therefore, our packaging reflects not only the quality of our products but also the aesthetics that our brand embodies. We take pride in our cultural features, acknowledging the rich tapestry of traditions and values that define our target audience. This cultural resonance is embedded in our products, creating a connection that goes beyond mere cosmetics and fosters a sense of identity and belonging.

Can you share insights into Recode Studios’s expansion strategy in tier 2 and tier 3 cities?

Driven by our commitment to meet specific beauty needs, we at Recode are actively expanding our presence in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. We have identified a significant gap in access to quality cosmetics in these areas, prompting us to strategically focus on cities like Bilaspur, Nagpur, Ranchi, Siliguri, and more. Our approach is straightforward: we want to make our brand a prominent choice in these cities where people might have limited access to high-quality beauty products.

To ensure our cosmetics are readily available, we are building a strong distribution network that includes local retailers, beauty stores, and online platforms. This ensures that our products are easily accessible to a broad audience in these regions. We believe that understanding and being a part of the local culture is crucial. Through partnerships, events, and collaborations, we aim to build meaningful connections with the people in these cities, encouraging a sense of inclusivity.

We aim to make Recode Studios a go-to- choice for quality cosmetics, meeting the beauty needs of diverse consumers across the country.

How do you ensure that its new launches resonate with a diverse customer base?

The resonance of our new product launches with a diverse customer base is a fundamental aspect of our approach to product development. We prioritize a thorough understanding of our customers through extensive market research and insights, delving into trends, preferences, and feedback. This insight-driven strategy ensures that our new launches effectively address the diverse needs of our customer base, spanning various demographics and beauty preferences.

From formulations that cater to different skin tones and types to representing a broad spectrum of beauty preferences, we strive to create products that resonate with everyone. Providing personalisation options is another way we address the varied preferences of our customers. By allowing individuals to tailor their beauty experience, we empower them to choose products that align with their unique needs and styles. Transparent communication and educational content further enhance customer understanding, building trust and confidence in their choices.

Can you shed light on the brand’s current and planned presence in southern cities?

Our current and planned presence in southern cities is a strategic focus that aligns with our vision for expansion. We have a series of upcoming store openings in our pipeline, specifically targeting southern cities. These forthcoming locations include key metropolises like Mumbai, Chennai, and Hyderabad, along with Jaipur, Indore, and Rudrapur. We recognise the immense potential in these markets and aim to establish a strong presence in areas that are often underserved in the cosmetics and beauty industry. Each store opening is a significant investment, with an allocation of Rs.20 lakhs for each location. This financial commitment reflects our confidence in the growth prospects of these

markets and our dedication to providing quality cosmetics and beauty solutions to diverse consumer bases. Our expansion into southern cities is a testament to our commitment to making Recode Studios a go-to-choice for quality cosmetics, meeting the beauty needs of diverse consumers across the country. We are excited about the opportunities this expansion brings and the positive impact we aim to make in these vibrant markets.

What is your projected turnover for the upcoming year?

As of now, we are approaching the end of our financial year, and due to this timing, we are not able to disclose the exact turnover at this moment. However, I can share that we have strategic plans in place, and we are optimistic about achieving a decent turnover for the upcoming year at Recode Studios. Our team is focused on implementing effective strategies to drive growth and enhance our financial performance. We are committed to delivering value to our stakeholders and contributing to the continued success of Recode Studios in the coming year.