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D2C brand Brillare: Leveraging the beauty of transparency

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D2C beauty brand Brillare is winning over customers by putting all its ingredients on the packaging and continuing the transparency across all its communication

By Zainab S. Kazi

In the highly competitive D2C beauty and personal care space, D2C brand Brillare claims that its strength and USP is its transparency—clear and honest communication, which starts from its packaging. Formulation scientist Jigar Patel, founder and chief executive officer, of Brillare Science shares that he wanted to stand apart from the other brands who only claim to offer natural products but don’t substantiate their claims.

Today, Brillare offers cruelty-free natural beauty and personal care products and boasts a customer base of over 500,000 across multiple offline and online channels. It is one of the most active brands in the digital space winning over customers with its honest communication, which also caught the attention of investors like Emami. In March 2023, the FMCG legacy brand increased its stake in Brillare to 82.92%, as per equitybull.com.

Interestingly, Ahmedabad-based Patel ventured into D2C almost 10 years after he started his B2B business in 2010 with an initial investment of Rs 3 crore borrowed from his father.

In an exclusive interaction, Patel speaks about the brand’s journey in the D2C space, USP and aims of becoming a Rs 100 crore brand. 

Can you share highlights of your journey–the milestone moments and years?

Fourteen years back, on 20 December 2009, as a young pharmacist, I decided to embark on a journey to create personal care products that are honest, effective and responsible in the way they are formulated and communicated.

Driven by this passion for personal care products, I decided to create an Indian brand that delivers sustainable results from all-natural nutrition. Our dream run started in a small 10 X 6 feet research lab with a team of just five people.

It took three years of door-to-door knocking and many relentless nights to have almost 20 distributors in western India to cover 500 salons. We grew at a slow and steady pace till 2016. From 2017 to mid-2019, we increased our distribution to cover 10,000 salons across India.

In the year 2020, we pivoted to the D2C model and started our own website and got listed on more than 15 marketplaces. We decided to come up with packaging where we display all ingredients upfront bringing in transparency.

Transparency in communication is your strong suit. Is that what differentiates you from the rest?

With ingredient literacy at an all-time rise, we are aiming to empower customers by disclosing every product ingredient on the pack and proving its authenticity upfront. Through this honest and naked approach, we are challenging countless pseudo-chemical-free brands that offer only green-washing and subpar solutions in the garb of natural products.

While the rest of the cosmetics industry is focused on selling dreams rather than genuine solutions, we have consciously steered away from such tactics and false communication.

Furthermore, the alternate natural preservation technique is our proprietary innovation which ensures complete product protection without any chemical abuse.

What are your plans for 2023?

One of the key strategies that we will build at Brillare is to reach customers by creating an omnichannel presence. This means that we are not just selling our products online, but also through physical stores, pop-up shops, and other channels. By doing so, we offer a seamless experience for customers, who can shop wherever and whenever they like.

For example, during the last year, we have opened 6-7 stores in popular shopping destinations like malls and high streets across major cities in India. This allows us to showcase the products, offer personalized service, and build brand awareness. This year, we look forward to expanding to more cities and becoming a Rs 100 crore brand.

Common challenges D2C brands face

D2C market is a highly competitive space. Thus, it becomes necessary to form a solid e-commerce and social presence.

Unfortunately, lack of understanding of impactful websites, strong e-commerce and active social media platforms, most brands do not consider visual aspects like colours and designs which helps in increasing brand recognition by 80%.

Another challenge brands face is not having a clear understanding of their target audience. About 8 out of 10 DTC e-commerce businesses fail within 24 months due to a lack of knowledge of the target audience. 

Advice to brands planning a D2C foray

Before entering the D2C channel, brands must carefully consider their business model, target audience, and resources. They must understand their brand identity and values and be committed to transparency and authenticity in their messaging and products.

Considering that 69% of the world’s population actively uses the internet and 4.89 billion are on social media, brands must develop visually appealing websites that offer an easy-to-use e-commerce platform and helpful customer service.

Furthermore, creating a social media presence helps improve brand exposure and increase revenue by 33%. Social media also allows brands to understand current customer expectations and trends, which can be used to improve products and marketing strategies.

On managing marketplaces

Many companies are not able to achieve their primary goals on marketplaces. They struggle with managing the marketplace effectively and fall short of putting an effective strategy in place. To profit from the marketplace industry, one must be aware of the major obstacles and the market expansion strategies that can be used to address these obstacles.

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