Plum Eyes Untapped Vegan Demand in Hair, Body Care and Makeup

Founded in 2013, Plum is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) vegan beauty brand that offers men’s skincare, haircare, bodycare, makeup and personal care products.

In March, the company raised $35 million in a Series C funding round led by venture capital firm A91 Partners and also included Unilever Ventures and Faering Capital.

With this new capital, Plum would be able to tap into the multiple opportunities in the market, said founder and CEO Shankar Prasad.

“We operate in a market that is full of opportunities. To properly seize the opportunity, we need to have the right kind of capital that allows us to run the kind of experiments,”he told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.

The company currently has an annual turnover of over INR 225 ($29.6 million) and hopes to double that in the next 12 months.

Prasad explained that the company aims to expand its business in hair care, body care and makeup.

“Each of these categories independently has opportunities in the market, so why should we restrict ourselves. The game here is to make the pie bigger and I’m agnostic as to how the pie ends up being split.

Currently, skincare accounts for the lion’s share of the business at 60%. Make-up and bath and body care account for about 10% and 15% respectively. Finally, hair care and male beauty together account for around 15%.

Hair care and make-up are areas of particular interest to the company. According to Prasad, Plum’s existing hair care and makeup products have been well received by consumers, reaffirming its confidence in the potential growth.

“Haircare has great potential – this of course is nothing new, haircare is in fact still the biggest category in the personal care market in India. Equally exciting for us is the potential for makeup. Since our core clientele is made up of women, makeup is something that naturally appeals to them.

Additionally, the bath and body care category is another category that has accelerated over the past two years as the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred heightened awareness of hygiene and personal care among consumers. .

Plum’s ambition to develop the aforementioned categories goes hand in hand with improving its research and development capabilities.

The company recently moved into a new R&D center and is looking to grow its team and develop its capabilities.

“The other thing we’re looking at is bridging the gap between what we see in the lab and manufacturing. Sometimes there’s a lot of excitement in the lab that, for reasons like cost or feasibility, ends up being different from what you are able to manufacture at scale. Technology delivery will be important going forward,” said Prasad.

With the new funding, the company also intends to invest in marketing to prepare for the arrival of new digital marketing channels and approaches.

“People’s behaviors have changed forever over the past two years, and they continue to change. You have new content platforms, new ways to consume content, and new ways to engage audiences.

“It requires the right technology, the use of the right data as well as upstream technical skills. Then you have to figure out how you are going to integrate it with your business objectives. That will be the objective.

Beyond that, Plum is also exploring potential entry into new overseas markets.

The company is widely available in India through its own platform as well as major e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon, Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, and Purplle. Moreover, it has more than 10,000 offline touchpoints.

Abroad, it is available in markets such as Nepal, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates and the United States.

“We are already discussing with some Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia and the Philippines. There is also Mauritius. There is interest everywhere, but we are measured because we want to make significant entries in these markets”, said Prasad.

“Whether you take a channel view or a geographic view, I think this year’s theme for us will be about unlocking potential and growing in all of those dimensions without having to make it a zero-sum game.”

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