Cosmetics are products that are used to enhance the appearance or to improve the texture and smell of a body. Makeup is one of the most important aspects of cosmetics and has seen a meteoric rise over the years in how the public perceived it and how it is affecting consumer behaviour. Gone are the days when makeup was applied behind closed doors in front of mirrors nor is it just limited to the female gender . Today, social media has successfully managed to strike down the reputation of cosmetics being attributed to only the ladies!
Impact of social media on the cosmetics industry
Before the advent of social media, television and offline media were the prominent avenues to promote makeup and cosmetic products. Not only that, but this was only limited to lipsticks, fairness creams and moisturisers. However, once the internet slowly started becoming available to people all across the globe, it became clear social media platforms have become very powerful tools to push products and services. When YouTube was released, several enterprising individuals realised putting up tutorials on how to apply makeup and use various cosmetics was a very good way to generate revenue.
Today, YouTube is the primary platform for aspiring entrepreneurs in the makeup space, to showcase their skills and gain subscriptions. In a way, it is safe to say social media also managed to empower people to break out of their shells and pursue their entrepreneurial passions. YouTube offered people the ability to make video tutorials and with the recent live feature that rolled out across most social media platforms, influencers and aspiring influencers can directly reach out to their followers and interact with them in real time and answer questions. Facebook and Instagram in particular have evolved into a thriving marketplace where buyers and sellers can connect with each other.
Social media also offered more refined ways to identify target audiences for a particular cosmetic product or service. Social media now has advanced ad targeting tools that let the advertiser have complete control over audience targeting. Information such as age and gender, as well as personal interests, and communication preferences, such as the types of devices they use. Other items that may be relevant include education level, location, and income will refine audience targeting for a particular cosmetic product or a service. The cosmetic industry has evolved into a $ 5.5 Trillion industry since the adoption of social media. India’s cosmetic industry is forecasted to exceed $ 20 Billion by 2025.
Cosmetic startups and entrepreneurs in the 21st century
When we look at the cosmetic landscape on social media now, it is quite easy to find startups offering various beauty and cosmetic products, bloggers making tutorials on how to use beauty products and cosmetic startups trying to adopt greener ways to create their products. Kylie Jenner is probably the most important example of how big cosmetic startups can grow. Kylie Jenner became the youngest billionaire in the world through her startup Kylie Cosmetics. Kylie also uses her social media accounts to do makeup tutorials as well. In India, cosmetic e commerce startup Nykaa is not easy to miss, with a strong online presence and loyal customer base as well as scaling up to open offline stores. Aggregator platform startup UrbanClap successfully provides a platform for beauty, cosmetics and skincare professionals to connect with their customers. Brands like Ustraa, Beardo, The Man Company, Bombay Shaving Company are some popular startups in India that cater exclusively for men, thereby proving that social media has made a visible impact on how cosmetics are perceived.
YouTube has paved the way for self made entrepreneurs who created their own brands. YouTube creators like Jeffree Star, Huda Kattan, James Charles, Tati Westbrook are just some of the prominent entrepreneurs who managed to use the video sharing platform to build their brands. Before becoming YouTube creators most of the influencers mentioned above started out by blogging about makeup. Once they adopted YouTube as a medium to reach out to a wider audience, most of the influencers began by launching their own products on YouTube videos which clicked with their audience. James Charles became famous when an yearbook photo of his in which he sports makeup went viral on Instagram. Charles then pivoted on that fame to launch a successful YouTube channel where he talks about various aspects of makeup.
The cosmetics industry is a constantly evolving space with more and more diverse products and cosmetic verticals popping up day by day. Green products are the current rage in the make up space which gave rise to enterprising Indians to fall back on their roots and come up with Ayurvedic cosmetics. While it is easy to keep on talking about how diverse the cosmetics industry is, there is no denying that the industry is here to stay.
Zoom Video Conferencing App Downloads Dethrone Whatsapp And TikTok In India
The Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 virus was classified as a pandemic and has spread all over the world. Governments across the world are currently focussing their efforts and resources towards stopping the spread of the virus and to find a vaccine. The virus has affected the economies all over the world and forced many businesses and organisations to lay off their employees. This impact on the world economies, by the virus, can only be gauged after we survive this ordeal. However, amid all this economic wreckage, there is an unlikely star who is thriving in the present economic conditions.
Zoom, a remote video conferencing service based out of the Silicon Valley in America. As many countries across the globe are imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools and colleges, business and schools have quickly adapted and shifted to the remote conferencing app, Zoom. More and more users are thronging to the app store to install Zoom because it is the only app currently available which is able to have more than 10 users on a single call. Zoom is currently ranked number 1 on the Google Play Store in India, dethroning popular applications like WhatsApp, TikTok and Instagram. Even though Whatsapp has 400 million monthly active users and TikTok has 119 million active users in India, Zoom managed to beat both these apps in terms of popularity. Zoom currently has more than a billion downloads on the Google Play Store and 50 million downloads in India alone were done just this month. The global daily active users on the Zoom App rose upto 67% since January 1st, 2020. Microsoft Teams App has over 10 million downloads. Google’s Hangouts advanced features were made free till the month of July which usually cost 25$ per user while Zooms pricier offering sits at 19$ per user per month. Google Hangouts offers upto 250 users per single meeting while Zoom can host up to 500 users in a single meeting without experiencing latency issues.
When the users quickly started increasing, Zoom stepped up to the challenge effortlessly taking on all the bandwidth and usage it is currently experiencing. Zoom has also removed time limits for the conference calls and made the entire suite free of cost for schools and businesses in the affected regions across the globe, thereby further increasing its popularity. Students or teachers who fill out an online form using their school email addresses and are then verified by Zoom will have any accounts associated with that school’s domain also gain unlimited temporary meeting minutes. The free Basic accounts are also available by request in Austria, Denmark, France, Ireland, Poland, Romania and South Korea. When Zoom made its debut on the stock market in April 2019, it was valued at 15 billion dollars, but it is currently valued at 38.5 billion dollars due to the rise in its demand. Zoom founder and Chief Executive Officer Eric Yuan said, “I told the team that with any crisis like this, let’s not leverage the opportunity for marketing or sales. Let’s focus on our customers,” and “If you leverage this opportunity for money, I think that’s a horrible culture.”
The rise in popularity of zoom, which is a cloud enterprise, gives an insight into the future of cloud computing. More companies and organisations will now look to make the shift towards cloud based models and integrate them into work flows.
All You Need To Know About Patents In India
India is home to the third largest startup ecosystem in the world trailing behind America and China which rank first and second, respectively. The startup ecosystem is a rapidly evolving mechanism with more and more new ideas coming to life year after year. Imagine having a unique idea which solves a problem and can be converted into a business model. If the individual who comes up with the idea fears the idea might be stolen by another person to be replicated into a business model, the individual could apply for a patent to safeguard the idea. A patent is a form of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, selling and importing an invention for a limited period of years, in exchange for publishing and enabling public disclosure of the invention.
The Indian Patents Act was established in 1970 and came into effect from 1972. The Patent Act establishes what kind of inventions can be patentable and non patentable.
For an invention to be established as a patented invention, it needs to satisfy the criteria listed below
- The invention should be a one of its kind. This means the invention shall be completely new and there should be nothing similar of its kind.
- The invention should be unique in itself which means if the invention is making an existing technology or design better, it cannot be classified as a patentable invention.
- It should be useful by developing and improving the life of the common man without the use and support of illegal things.
An additional thing to remember would be discovery of laws of nature could not be quantified as patentable inventions. Examples of this would be Newton’s discovery of Gravity or Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
Non Patentable Inventions:
According to the Indian Patents Act 1970, Section 3 and 5, there are certain types of inventions that cannot be patented as inventions and are listed below
- A frivolous invention or any claim which contradicts known laws of nature.
- Anything which is used for commercial purposes but contradicts public order and morality or which is prejudiced and causes harm to humans, animals and plant life.
- Discovery of a new or unknown form of substance which does not enhance the known efficacy of the substance.
- A method of agriculture or horticulture.
- Any process or discovery relating to medicine, surgery, curative, prophylactic diagnostic, therapeutic or other treatment of human beings or similar treatment in animals.
- Discoveries pertaining to atomic energy.
Patent Application Process In India
In order to apply and obtain a patent in India,there are certain steps to be followed. The steps for the patent application process are given below.
- Collect and Journal all the important and relevant information pertaining to the invention with as much detail as possible. Information related to how and why the patent works, the advantages and description of the invention should be present.
- Include drawings or designs related to the invention which explain the working of the idea/invention.
- Check if the idea qualifies as an invention for the patent application.
- Check if the invention meets all criteria and requirements according to Indian Patent Act 1970.
- Draft a patent application. A provisional application can be filed if the invention is in the early stages of research and development. Filing for a provisional application grants a person twelve months to come up with complete specifications.
- Upon filing the complete specification along with the application for patent, the application is published after 18 months of first filing.
- The application is examined only after the submission of a request for examination (RFE.) Upon receiving this request the controller gives the patent application to a patent examiner who examines the patent application for various criteria and submits a first examination report which is shared with the patent applier.
- Majority of patent applications would be subject to objections and the patent applicant should ensure all objections are resolved.
- After resolving all the objections the application would be placed in order for grant once it is found to be meeting all patentability requirements.
Owning a patent will help in prevention of theft of intellectual property, gives the right to exclusivity, right to commercialize the idea and increase the marketability and monetary value.
Although the patent application process in India is a very long process and is susceptible to slow bureaucracy, it is important to remember that in the end, owning a patent will be a worthwhile investment. There is also the possibility of the application process being made digital as well due to the technological advancements in digital security.
Coronavirus Pandemic Testing Startups By Disrupting Supply-Demand
When the news about Coronavirus slowly broke on to the world, countries were totally unaware about what was about to happen. The virus which originated in the Wuhan province of China, spread so rapidly that China had to lockdown the entire province in order to combat the virus. However,the virus,which was later classified as a pandemic, quickly spread across the world at an exponential rate bringing countries to a standstill. Many countries had to declare national emergencies in order to cope up with the rising number of positive cases and in some places, high fatality rates. The impact of the virus was not restricted to just the quality of life, rather the economies all over the world were affected. Stock exchanges plummeted so low that it is being compared to the great American economic depression.
Needless to say, once the economy was impacted by the virus, investors started pulling out of the stock markets and startups along with small businesses were the worst hit. India is home to the third largest number of startups in the world ranking behind America and China. When the stock market was taking a tumble and news of the lockdown reached the public, startups in aviation, hospitality, events and transportation took a big hit. The lockdown completely disrupted the supply and demand with people staying at home on government orders. Companies like Uber, Ola, Rapido and Bounce in transportation, airlines along with hospitality startups like Oyo and Treebo, did not see any business during the last month. Sales teams which rely on travelling on ground are now grounded and many startups are being forced to let go of employees or withhold salaries.
However, this time of crisis has been a boon to startups in the healthcare, food, logistics and digital marketing/news sectors that are seeing heavy growth. Startups like Swiggy, Zomato, BigBasket, 1mg, Practo and Dunzo are able to operate even during the lockdown as the government orders allow them to do so.
Most often startups work on a lean organizational structure which means, employees have to often take up cross functional roles. At stressful times like these, work productivity will take a hit. Logistics supply chains across the world are unable to keep up with the demands of the population. This is leading to large delays in deliverables and with vendors unable to operate there is an obvious reduction in revenues.Venture capital firm Sequoia warned of an impending recession following on the backdrop of the pandemic and has asked startups in its portfolio to dig in. Because they see this impending recession may only be contained after several quarters and it may take even longer for economies to recover and become stable. Sequoia even urged companies to rethink their business models and consider cutting jobs.
However the startup ecosystem is coming together to help their stakeholders in this time of need. Zomato raised more than 10 crore rupees in a crowd sourcing funding round to support its driver partners. Ola group and its employees will contribute 20 crore rupees to support its driver partners. This entire phase would be a litmus test for startups to see how they can adapt and boost their immunity to the economic aftereffects of the Coronavirus. Many startups will struggle but if they make it to the end of the tunnel, there is no doubt there would be a wealth of learning and opportunities gained.
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