India will be the hub of cosmetic manufacturing very soon

Even as the world is looking at Ayurvedic ingredients based cosmetics only now, a few domestic pharmaceutical and cosmeceutical companies had known in advance the potential that the ancient Indian knowledge of medicine offered in the modern world. One such company is Reve Pharma, which has focused on manufacturing standardized Ayurvedic pharmaceuticals trying to combine the modern methods and science with the ancient Indian knowledge. The company’s herbal cosmetics range includes products such as face wash, shampoo, scrub, skin cleanser, face pack, cream, moisturising lotion, body lotion, skin lightening cream, anti-wrinkle cream, body butter, non-sticky hair oil, massage oil, muscle oil, aroma oils, to name a few. In a free-wheeling interaction with Cosmedic India, the company’s Partner, Deepti Jaiswal provides fresh perspectives on the industry and how it is shaping up in India. Excerpts of that conversation. 

What do you see mid-term business outlook for the cosmetics and pharmaceutical products in India? How optimistic are you? Did GST adversely impact sales in the recent past? 

I would say, the cosmetic industry is a running industry. Nothing can bring it down. The entire Indian economy has grown fast post-liberalisation. Because of globalization, people are now connected to each other, are exposed to what is happening in the world and have an openness to accept new things. Taking care of themselves and looking good has become a consumer priority which was nearly absent a decade ago. Looking good is not restricted to the working people only, it now includes even the homemakers segment.

The whole vocabulary of cosmetics is changing. Nearly eight to nine years ago, the brands like Kama started coming into the picture. The words like fragrance, safe, organic, etc., started floating around gradually after that. Today, the brands like Nykaa are talking about natural, Ayurveda, herbal, etc.

Therefore, this industry has seen a great boom during the past decade. If we compare what we used to sell a decade ago and what we sell today, the scene has changed completely—in terms of buying, product selection, need, and demand. Ten years ago, nobody spoke about a vitamin peel or a chemical peel or a removable mask. But today the scenario is such that people are exposed to different kinds of technology and therefore looking for a variety of products.

I don’t think there has been any significant dip in sales because of GST. There is no so called recession in India. There truly was a slight fluctuation due to the change of regime but we were not hit too hard by that.

Looking at the present scenario, I think India will soon be a hub for beauty products for the world. The government’s ‘Make in India’ scheme, there is a focus on our industry which includes beauty products, personal care products and home care products. There is a lot of research work happening at the industry level has also. Companies are investing in research on various natural and Ayurvedic extracts, organic ingredients… With the kind of ingredients, soil and cultivation capacity that we have has, India shows immense promise when it comes to cosmetics business. The government too is incentivising the development of the manufacturing sector. Maximum production is being done within India today.

So you see sourcing also has improved within India? 

Yes. Today it is not that difficult to source a particular ingredient in India itself. Most of the ingredients are imported. But I think it is because, especially with regard to Ayurvedic ingredients, everything is available within India. When it comes to the efficacy of quality, we do have good quality ingredients here. Even in case of the chemical industry, we have a far better technology than many other countries of the world. People export chemicals from India to foreign countries. The only thing is that it is been packaged there and then sent back, but on an overall basis, I think, India has the best raw materials, in pharmaceuticals, in organic, herbal, Ayurvedic, and in Unani.

There have been reports about how Halal market is looking up. Do you see any promise in this segment?

India is a multi-community country. So, Halal surely has some growth potential. There will be a group of people who will want to go for a Halal based products only. However, I see Ayurveda is going to be the next big trend. The entire western world is moving towards Ayurveda. If you go abroad, you will see that many people are into Ayurveda. Big companies too are getting into Ayurveda. Everything has gone back to the ancient times. A lot of development has happened. Organic ingredients-based products today is a very big market today. However, the adoption of 100 per cent organic will face some issue due to the perishability challenge that these products face.

Are chemical preservatives a deterrent, in that case?

There is a myth about preservatives that all preservatives have to be chemical based. That’s wrong. There are many naturally found ingredients and herbs that can act as preservatives. Even Ayurveda mentions many such natural substances that can function as preservatives. Many companies are using these natural preservatives today. In fact, many budding entrepreneurs come to me saying that they need pure and natural products only. If you a look, quite a few online small brands which are not big commercial names in retail are doing well, and they use natural ingredients for manufacture and preservation. This OTC category products like instant fairness creams instant acne creams would somehow take a backseat gradually and people would want to go for authentic natural products which would take a little longer to show effects, such as haldi and flowers based, but will be better.

Do you see any mergers and acquisitions happening in the industry?

From the manufacturing point of view, a lot of acquisitions are not happening today. But you can see this activity in the services sector. Many global companies are investing in the specialised outfits with services-based offerings. The beauty treatment clinics, salons and spas … they are getting funding. The acquisitions are happening in that segment and this activity is growing.