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.
Suki: This Startup Wants To Transform Healthcare With Its Artificial Intelligence Tool
We live in a rapidly transforming era where humanity is making exponential leaps in technology. Thirty years ago, no one would have believed you could talk to an online voice assistant to create tasks and get things done. Ten years ago, no one would have believed humanity would land robots on Mars. Technology truly has improved the quality of living of every human who owns a smartphone and has access to an internet connection. Voice assistants are slowly replacing manual tasks and making lives easier and efficient. Siri, Alexa, Google Voice Assistant are just some of the widely used artificial intelligence based tools which are employed on a daily basis. Artificial intelligence, which is hailed as the technology of the future is now slowly making its way into much more complex domains like self driving vehicles, quantum computing and also health care.
Suki, a United States of America based startup founded by Punit Soni, developed their own voice assistant which runs on artificial intelligence to simplify healthcare for doctors and other healthcare professionals. In simple terms, Suki is akin to Siri for doctors. While you could order a pizza or schedule an appointment on Siri, doctors could modify, edit and add health records of their patients. Suki is a powerful tool to help doctors with documentation of health records which often take hours of their (doctors) time.
Suki currently focuses on documentation but has the potential to expand its usage to data queries, ordering, prescribing and billing. According to a white paper published by Suki, using its technology increases the time a doctor spends with a patient by 12% by cutting note taking time by 76%. The time which is saved also brings in a financial benefit of $30,000 more in revenue a year on average for doctors.
Suki raised a $ 20 million Series B round from Flare Capital Partners, First Round Capital, and Venrock, doubling its total funding to $ 40 million since its 2017 launch. Suki is also looking to expand its reach in India and has decided to establish Bangalore as their base of operations. India holds a lot of potential for Suki considering the amount of manual work which goes into almost any sector.
It would be interesting to watch how Suki and other similar AI based startups would transform healthcare across the world.
5 Successful Indian Startups Founded By Women
The workplace has undergone massive changes in the last century. At the turn of the Industrial Revolution, any workplace was dominated by men while the women were delegated to run the homes. However, with the advent of the internet and new and exciting technologies, workplaces have undergone a tectonic shift. Women are no longer comfortable staying at home and are instead opting to lead teams and organisations. As every year passes, we get closer to true gender equality, women have proven time and again that they are equally capable to get the job done if not better in some instances. Names like Wolfe Herd (Bumble founder,) Kylie Jenner (Kylie Cosmetics founder,) Masaba Gupta (Masaba clothing label founder) are just some of the names who are known for leading world famous brands with their unique style of leadership.
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, we bring to you five women founders who run world famous and successful startups.
1) Upasana Taku-MobiKwik
If you are an Indian and are used to doing online shopping, more often than not at the time of payment, you would be directed to a payment gateway. One of these gateways would normally be MobiKwik. The startup is a well known name in the digital payments and digital wallet space. MobiKwik was founded by Upasana Taku in 2009, who prior to founding MobiKwik used to work with PayPal. Today Upasana Taku is also in charge of bank partnerships, business operations, and talent acquisition at MobiKwik.
2) Richa Kar-Zivame
An enthusiastic MBA student, Richa Kar, developed an online lingerie shopping platform in the year 2011. Currently, Zivame is India’s leading online lingerie store with a valuation of more than $ 100 million. The brilliant idea for her own lingerie business came to light when Richa tracked Victoria’s Secret’s sales, who was one of her clients when she was working at SAP. She observed the lingerie sales figures reached peaks overseas but, Indian women were not provided with the similar innerwear. While Richa was studying the Indian lingerie market, she realized the social embarrassment in India surrounding lingerie shopping. Today Richa Kar could be credited with destigmatising the uneasiness surrounding lingerie shopping in India.
3) Falguna Nayar-Nykaa
After a long stint as an investment banker, Falguni Nayar founded Nykaa.com in the year 2013. An online one stop shop for beauty products from Indian and international brands, Nykaa changed the world of online shopping. Who would have ever thought buying makeup online would be so easy? Falguni Nayar proved many critics wrong and created a brand new place for people who love experimenting with styles, designs and colors.
ALSO READ: Zivame: Founding Story
4) Sabina Chopra-Yatra.com
Yatra.com is a popular Indian website for making flight and hotel bookings. Sabina Chopra was instrumental in identifying the potential for travel commerce in India and people moving towards cheaper or easier travel. By the time, people started looking to make bookings, Sabina made sure Yatra.com was already in place. Sabina was the former Head of India Operations of eBookers, which is also an online travel company based in Europe. Along with this, she was also working with Japan Airlines which further adds to her experience in the travel industry.
5) Rashmi Sinha-SlideShare
SlideShare allows people to upload and access their presentations online. While this feature is presently available everywhere, SlideShare was one of the first players in making this happen. Rashmi Sinha was one of the founders of the presentation sharing platform SlideShare. The company became so successful that in 2012, LinkedIn acquired the company for an amount of $100 million.
Let us know in the comments if you know any other wonderful women who have become leaders of their right or have started up and are doing extraordinary things. We at Startup Stories wish a wonderful Women’s Day to all the women in the world who are changemakers.
Why Are Ads On Digital Media Failing To Reach The Right Audience?
If you are a regular user of social media platforms and also a fan of consuming content on the digital medium, then there is a very high likelihood that you have seen ads on pages you are reading or watching something. There would be times when you have been targeted by an ad which feels like it was wrongly targeted at you. Imagine if you are a vegetarian by choice and while browsing online, if you are targeted by a food delivery app which shows ads about chicken dishes. The ad would only serve to spoil the mood of the online user instead of serving its actual purpose which is to push the user to buy a chicken dish.
These wrongly targeted ads might be the side effects of performance marketing or a weak brand marketing. Performance marketing means advertising programs where advertisers pay only when a specific action occurs. These actions can include a generated lead, a sale, a click, and more. Inshort, performance marketing is used to create highly targeted ads for a very specific target audience at a low cost. Performance marketing usually means high volume for a very specific cost.
Brand marketers on the other hand believe in narrowly defining target audiences but end up spending a lot of money on ad placements. Gautam Mehra, CEO, Dentsu Programmatic India & CDO, Dentsu International Asia Pacific said, “You’ve defined a persona, you know the emotions you want to elicit, but then you buy a YouTube masthead and CricInfo sponsorships because IPL is up. If brand advertisers look at audience-based buys more deeply than just placements, you will see more relevant ads (sic.)”
Performance marketing is more of a sales function rather than a marketing function and is about meeting the cost of acquisition. This is a reason why budgets are usually high for performance marketing. Mehra goes on to add, “the fact is that an engineer can out-beat FMCGs on performance marketing. Advertisers who have cracked this are spending 10x and are on an ‘always on’ mode (unlike time-bound brand campaigns.)”
There is always the case of supply and demand, with the supply usually exceeding the demand on digital platforms. Ultimately, it boils down to the choice between no ad versus low relevance ad and it is quite easy to guess that having a low relevance ad is better.
Arvind R. P., Director – Marketing and Communications at McDonald’s India (West and South,) said “McDonalds’ for instance, has seen its share of spends on digital grow from 20% levels a couple of years back to over 40% at present. Outcomes of this journey have been encouraging, proven by our media-mix-modelling and other key metrics. We have seen best results from an optimal mix of Television plus digital (sic.)” Moreover, Arvind also believes performance marketing only approach could turn out to be more suited to short term, versus a more consistent full funnel effort. The latter ensures adequate emphasis on building consideration, as well as growing transactions. Arvind feels digital is a complex medium which needs investment in the right talent who could use the right tools. Brands which underestimate the need for the investment are often disappointed from the return on investment from the digital medium.
With the constantly changing consumer dynamics marketers are now shifting to unscripted marketing which frankly needs more insights into the consumer mindset. The lack of marketers to do the proper research is why digital medium is plagued with irrelevant ads.
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