VLCC Personal Care, COO, Ashutosh Bharadwaj took over the new position in March 2009 and is now at the helm of this dynamic brand which has been growing rapidly across segments
Has it been difficult for you to make the move from into the arena of beauty?
Well, not really. I moved from Coke, a FMCG to a segment which is also a fast moving category. According to the
latest Ernest &Young report the wellness industry is poised to grow at 30 to 35 percent annually for the next couple of years and beauty being a part of this wellness revolution I think I have moved at a very interesting moment.
The industry is changing due to a large number of factors – increasing self awareness, higher disposable incomes with women, the age spectrum of indulgence and self pampering is widening. While VLCC was always recognized as a slimming brand it has now made its presence felt as one of the leading players in personal care. Today a consumer has a plethora of brands available to choose from. However it is indeed satisfying to see that a majority of the customers who have used the VLCC products have come back for more.
How has the growth been at VLCC in the last one year?
VLCC has been growing year-on-year. We`ve not yet come to the point to look at consolidation – and are still looking at new categories. In the personal care category we have recently come out with a professional line and with more skincare and haircare products. The herbal platform is one of the fastest growing
categories. As a part of our strategy we have forayed in the luxury segment. VLCC has recently opened four day spas at this time in Vasant Vihar, Gurgaon, Mumbai.
Which products do you see as the market drivers?
The skincare market will always be the growth driver. Shape-up is the leader in it’s category so are the professional facial kits. These are available in professional outfits and are also designed for home use. Home service is becoming a very big market.
Has the customer profile at VLCC centers changed much?
We have close to 150 slimming and beauty centers including smaller towns which have seen an enormous growth. Typically the age group of customers used to be 25 to 45. However in the last couple of years there has been a change in the consumer profile with the age group extending from 16 to 60.
How do you view the retail platform for VLCC products?
Pervasiveness through careful but extensive distribution for all consumer product is the key. Our products are available in 15,000 outlets across the country in both the modern trade formats and beauty stores and traditional formats. We have beauty advisers at the top selling outlets who assist the client with purchase as per their need.
Has the economic situation curtailed advertising budgets?
We have not curtailed advertising – rather it has gone up by 10 to 12 percent over the last year.
Our advertisements are mainly driven by the print media. We have done a small amount of advertising on TV but are now planning a big push for the electronic media. You go in for advertising when you are mass and available. There has to
be a critical amount of distribution before going in for mass media.
What can we expect from VLCC in 2010?
In 2010, VLCC will be far more visible. We will continue to unfold new categories and you willl see expansion across various segments.