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Making Ayurveda Fashionable

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Conceptualized with the focus on bringing to the forefront the centuries old system of traditional medicine, Ayurveda to the luxury beauty space Kama Ayurveda was launched in 2002. Since then, the brand has gone to create a niche
for itself in the Indian luxury space. Vivek Sahni, Co-Founder and CEO of Kama Ayurveda, a graduate of the Parsons School of Design, has redefined Ayurvedic beauty products in India on the back of quality products and ingenious design, making Ayurveda glamorous and fashionable. He tells us how the young population is driving the
growth of the luxury sector in India and how word of mouth built brand Kama Ayurveda.

Excerpts

Q: What has been the uptick in the consumption of luxury beauty products in the country?

The Indian luxury beauty market is expanding rapidly especially because of the resurgence of natural ingredients and a growing number of consumers seeking holistic wellness solutions. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Indian luxury beauty market is growing twice as fast as those of the US and Europe and will triple in the next five years. The increasing brand consciousness amongst the young population is driving the luxury beauty sector in India. The
customer today, due to increased exposure and technology is aware of all the luxury products in the market. The changing consumer behavior is a catalyst in the market’s growth.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you face?

With proliferation of brands in the Ayurvedic space, the awareness regarding Ayurvedic practice has increased but there is still a lack of understanding. The primary challenge is to promote the growth and development of authentic Ayurveda. It is imperative that the consumers realize the difference between Ayurvedic, organic, natural etc., the differentiation is critical. Ayurveda is a true system of medicine and the modern consumer needs to realize its relevance in today’s day and age.

Q: How would you describe the TG for your products?

Our consumers are women and men looking for safe, gentle and highly effective remedies for their beauty and wellness needs who are also conscious about reducing chemical or non- natural elements in their lives. The typical Kama consumer is a woman aged 28-years and above, discerning about her lifestyle choices, well-educated and
well-travelled who consciously chooses holistic alternatives in her day to day life.

Q: What role does aspiration play?

Aspiration does play a key role in new customer acquisition, in our case the aspirations are of a holistic, cleanser and as healthier lifestyle.

Q: What are the biggest markets for Kama Ayurveda and what is the response from Tier II and III cities?

Beauty is a universal phenomenon, concerns regarding skin and haircare are growing and coming in from different corners of the country. Importance of natural & ayurvedic products are being understood by men and women
across cities and regions. The market in smaller cities are being driven by various e-commerce platforms, owing to the growing consumer base. Now with our steady growth of presence through e-commerce channels we are seeing customers are making a choice for efficacious & performance delivering products, that Kama Ayurveda offers from cities like Mysore, Bhatinda and Surat to the metro cities. Consumers are happier to have faster accessibility. A consumer who bought our product everytime they travelled to a metro, do not have to wait anymore. They can do so through our store or the e-commerce platforms.

Q: What has been your growth like?

We built a business based on our passion and faith in bringing Ayurveda to the fore front and it has truly been a rewarding journey. We launched with just nine products which till date continue to be our best sellers– this is a testament to the fact that genuine, efficient products are always appreciated by the consumers. It is heartening to  see that through our products, consumers are discovering that Ayurveda is effective, natural and safe. We have received accolades from beauty publications as well as consumers from around the world.

Q: What is your core marketing strategy?

In the starting years, due to availability of a smaller product range and the fact that Ayurvedic products were a niche
category, the marketing was done differently. We used word of mouth and reached out to our close friends who helped us in promoting the brand. To this day we continue to be a product and word of mouth driven brand and we are proud of the journey so far. We have created a customer base which is both domestic and international. The preferred mediums are print because it is still an extremely credible medium, followed by online. But because of our modern, evolved TG, social media has become key in reaching out to the audience.

Q: How important is it to use influencers to help build the brand and connect with the TG? Who are the influencers who you have associated with?

We as a brand have been fortunate to have had brand friends who have shared their love of our products and our formulations time and again. Along with them, influencers over time with their reach and engagement have also become essential in the media mix. Influencers who believe in the products are extremely important because they act as brand ambassadorsand that in turn helps us build the brand.

Q: Looking ahead, what is the growth opportunity you see?

The ongoing plan is to expand, set up more stores, increase the retail footprint and extend our online presence. We are aiming to bring the brand to newer consumers and focus on online marketing to bolster our e-commerce.

Published in the November- December 2018 Issue of Pitch Magazine

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