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Empowering Women In Beauty And Business, Says Sergei Kanashin, Oriflame

Sergei Kanashin, SVP and Head of South Asia & MD, Oriflame, talks about Oriflame’s contribution to empower women and business opportunities at the launch of their new range of products


Working for 26 years in Oriflame and travelling to 20 different countries, Sergei Kanashin, SVP and Head of South Asia & MD, Oriflame, brings an invaluable amount of experience in handling both long-term business strategies as well as daily tactics and meeting sales targets.

“2018 is my third year in India and rightfully so as most people ask me what do you do and I say, I am making women beautiful,” he laughs, “while many think I am a plastic surgeon.”

As a leader, Kanashin strongly believes in the strength that people of Oriflame possess and accredits their daily spirit and enthusiasm behind the success of Oriflame. “Selling beauty products gives me utmost happiness and satisfaction. I am really proud to be part of the group which is doing good for the nation. Indians innately have a helping nature and I personally like the culture and as a company policy, we support and promote this culture by making money for our stakeholders as well as helping people to change their lives,” says the 51-year-old Russian born professional.

In his conversation with BW Businessworld, he refers to a story of an old man who helped a needy man by gifting a fishing rod instead of a fish, so that he could hunt and eat every day and not just one day. “At Oriflame, we are empowering women to establish and change their lives through better living. So we are giving employment opportunities, in terms of fishing rods, every day,” he said.

With this, the brand is selling cosmetics and skincare, offering new range every year with more than 400 products offered to Indian consumers and on the other hand offering private entrepreneurship under a distribution network.

“Sharing is one of the biggest fundamental reasons for the growth of a product. Today most people don’t trust advertising and ask a friend for recommendations. So if you share your likings, people are bound to follow and share it forward, this makes people buy a word-of-mouth trusted product. This model followed by Oriflame brings a certain volume of discounts and incentives that the seller/ distributor gets in return. Thus, encouraging a stable business proposition.”

India is one of the six global strategic markets along with China, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, and Russia for Oriflame. “Our business strategies include promotion of business opportunities and private entrepreneurship, digital sales, promotion of the two most important categories - skin care and wellness,” explains Kanashin, “In India, the focus is more on skin care and routine, but we plan to strategically promote wellness by introducing protein shake with fibre, and an antioxidant to boost immune system, while working to develop advanced men’s range soon.”

Taking inspiration from Swedish nature, Oriflame recently launched the Optimal range crafted through a harmonious blend of Swedish botanical ingredients and innovative science. “Skin care follows an uncomplicated beauty routine and with the Optimal brand, we have brought the latest skincare to make healthy and radiant skin achievable,” said Kanashin.

India is a huge market with infrastructural challenges, hence people now have easy access to products and technology. “We have changed our online platform into state-of-the-art cloud-based technology which has the 10x faster website,” he said.

As per the growth of the company, Kanashin explains that last year was fairly challenging in terms of the introduction of direct sales regulation, “It brought good legitimate base for the business and also required some internal changes in the company; demonetisation affected potential consumer, GST was originally put on high level and so 2017 was a cumbersome year, but the momentum is back and this year we would go as per our expectations.”

In terms of spreading better awareness about the brand and its products, Kanashin feels, “Many people in India don’t understand our business model. We still need to explain the opportunities in the market and it is a big challenge for us. We want people to understand the brand, rely on products available in an affordable price range. At the end of it, everyone should be able to buy Oriflame,” he concludes.

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