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The Luxury To Be Able To Have Choices Is True Luxury, Says Katrina Kaif

I think luxury today has to be conscientious. And, be aware of environmental impact, I think today consumers are very aware and factor that in choosing brands

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Climate change is the most challenging issue of our times, as it puts human life and livelihoods at risk. While the world is yet to agree to any concerted action, a positive from all the global conferences and summits that are held every year is that conversations around this subject are intensifying leading to greater awareness and consciousness at large. Take, for instance, sustainability. It is no longer a fancy word that experts and bureaucrats pepper their reports and addresses with when discussing climate change. Instead, it is now a way of life for businesses and individuals. As a result, owing to awareness about various aspects of sustainability, the consumer today is aligning with brands that ‘give back’.

Going green is now becoming a reality across sectors and even the personal care and beauty segments are invested in it. Reports say India's beauty and personal care market is estimated to reach $33.33 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.32 per cent. The revenue in the prestige cosmetics & fragrances segment is about $2.11 billion as of 2022. The market is expected to grow annually by 3.03 per cent. Increased exposure to the internet and fashion trends, along with a growing female working population, is driving the growth of the segment. Tech advancements such as the use of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, blockchain and gaming are transforming the space and will help deliver growth and value.

In an exclusive conversation with BW Businessworld, actor and beauty entrepreneur Katrina Kaif speaks about her beauty brand, Kay Beauty, its impressive growth – in three years it has expanded its reach in over 1,600 cities – as well as the brand ethos. 

What was the inspiration behind starting Kay Beauty?

It always dreamt of launching my own beauty brand. As an actor, makeup has been a constant in my life, and something I’ve always been very passionate about. It was this dream that led me to my business partner, Falguni Nayar, at Nykaa. After considerable research and hard work, we launched Kay Beauty in 2019.

We were the first celebrity beauty brand in India. The aim was to carve out a unique space in makeup and thus was born #MakeupthatKares – ‘guilt free makeup’ where each product is enriched with ingredients that care for your skin.

As a brand, we take pride in offering a wide range of shades to compliment all skin tones which is key in a diverse country such as ours. Nykaa’s knowledge of consumers across the length and breadth of India helped us understand the market. Consumers are very discerning and they want quality, aspirational value, efficacy and, most importantly, they want to feel connected to and heard by the brand. This has been our core focus from the get-go.

How has the journey been so far?

We have received immense love, positive feedback, several accolades, which has been heart-warming, to say the least. Even with our growth into modern and general trade beauty stores, the support has been incredible. Within a span of three years, the brand is now delivering to more than 1,600 cities and available in over 90 Nykaa stores across the country.

Our endeavour with Kay Beauty is to always be inclusive. We celebrate inclusivity in skin tone, skin type, genders, ages, sexual orientations, etc. It’s also not just limited to marketing, inclusivity is a key pillar for all product development – large shade profiles to cater to all skin tones whether it’s a large category like foundation, or a small category like blush.

Please tell us about how the brand has expanded in the last couple of years?

Starting this year, Kay Beauty products are available in general trade stores, and modern trade formats such as lifestyle sections. In the first phase of this retail expansion, we entered beauty stores across Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Ludhiana, amongst others.

The brand now offers products across all categories – face, eyes, nails and lips – which help our consumers in achieving full face makeup of Kay Beauty.

What makes Kay Beauty unique?

It is a diverse and an inclusive brand. It is built on the philosophy that ‘it's okay to be you’, and allows you to enhance your favourite features with products that are specifically formulated for the Indian skin. Our core communication always highlights the importance of celebrating yourself and staying true to who you are. The brand motto of #ItsKayToBeYou is reflected across all our campaigns championing inclusivity and diversity.

Kay Beauty’s packaging stands apart in the market, with a unique design language highlighting the K monogram throughout its products’ exteriors.

What can we expect from Kay Beauty in the next five years?

Kay Beauty's expansion in distribution will further deepen engagement as more consumers see, touch, and experience the brand and I'm excited to see its journey across the beauty doors in India. As a brand we will continue to work towards newer product innovations – newer formats and newer trends.

Beauty as a segment has undergone tremendous change over the last few years, consumers are moving towards organic beauty products. What’s your view?

I for one love using natural products as a part of my beauty routine at home. I apply fresh aloe vera on my skin and hair, and it is really refreshing. All our products at Kay Beauty are infused with skin-loving ingredients bridging the gap between high-performance makeup and real skincare. The pandemic years changed individuals and businesses for the better -- people learnt to think differently, businesses innovated, resilience was the central message. What was your takeaway from that period?

Kay Beauty launched in 2019, and we hit Covid in March 2020. As a new brand we could not have hit pause on building our brand just as we had started getting love from our consumers. The team showed immense agility in developing and launching products through the thick of Covid which was a herculean task. Samples were sent to our homes and tried together on Zoom calls, people did shoots from home. I think passion is a key factor that helps one become resilient, and I feel we have a very passionate team in place.

What’s your mantra to beat stress?

Stress management is something you have to work on over a period of time. I like to read and have a meditation practice which is very helpful.

As an entrepreneur, how do you define success?

Whenever anyone asks me about Kay Beauty and its success, I always come back to this — if you want to be successful at anything, it has to be a passion, it cannot be just a business. And, if you pour passion into any business, I think you will succeed.

Of course, one has to have a good product, product performance is everything. We worked very hard to get our formulas just right for Kay Beauty, and that is what our consumers love.

What does luxury mean to you?

The luxury to be able to have choices — whether it’s selecting your work or choosing what to do in life. It also means having people listen to you and your voice, having an impact. My partners at Nykaa and I are here to build a business and a world of make-up that not only performs, but is inclusive.

Do you believe the idea of luxury has changed overtime?

I think luxury today has to be conscientious. And, be aware of environmental impact, I think today consumers are very aware and factor that in choosing brands.

What’s your all-time favourite luxury object and why?

For me holidays are a luxury. To get the time, and to travel is priceless.

What does fitness mean to you?

For me fitness is not just about physical results, it helps my frame of mind stay positive and is a great stress buster.

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katrina kaif Magazine 22 Oct 2022