Kama Ayurveda: A re­tail con­cept that touches the In­dian roots

Images Retail - - FRONT PAGE - – By Shubhra Saini

Un­der­stand­ing the gap in the mar­ket for au­then­tic Ayurveda beauty and well­ness prod­ucts, Vivek Sahni, Co-founder and CEO of Kama Ayurveda launched the brand along with three part­ners in 2002. The brand, which started with a small line of just nine prod­ucts, has to­day be­come a name to reckon with. Kama Ayurveda, has 23 stores in In­dia apart from a strong e-com­merce pres­ence. Their prod­uct range com­prises of seven ma­jor cat­e­gories – skin, hair, bath & body, mother & child care, men’s care, gift­ing and well­ness. Talking ex­clu­sively to IMAGES Re­tail, Vivek Sahni out­lines his brand’s jour­ney and sum­ma­rizes his vi­sion of the evo­lu­tion of Kama Ayurveda in the near fu­ture.

The idea of launch­ing an au­then­tic Ayurvedic beauty brand came to me af­ter I worked closely with In­dian ar­ti­sans while spear­head­ing a pack­ag­ing project for the Khadi brand. While on this project, we worked closely with In­dian farm­ers and ar­ti­sans and this project strength­ened my be­lief that Ayurveda and a re­turn to tra­di­tional In­dian val­ues and crafts is some­thing that held great power for the mod­ern-day con­sumer. As an avid prac­ti­tioner of Ayurveda and Yoga, I have al­ways be­lieved in a holis­tic way of liv­ing and this was the seed of the brand that has now be­come Kama Ayurveda.

Armed with be­lief and knowl­edge of au­then­tic Ayurveda as it is truly in­tended to be, we founded the brand in 2002 with my three part­ners Ra­jshree

Pathy, Vikram Goyal and Dave Chang to pro­mote the mes­sage of true Ayurveda, uni­ver­sally. The jour­ney has truly been rewarding ever since. We built a brand and a busi­ness around our con­vic­tion and faith in bring­ing Ayurveda to the world and the world in turn loved our prod­ucts. Kama

Ayurveda was launched with a small line of nine prod­ucts that were Ayurvedic oils and pow­ders. The fact that the orig­i­nal line of prod­ucts not only con­tin­ues to­day but also forms the heart of our bestsellers is a tes­ta­ment to the fact that ef­fi­ca­cious and naturally gen­tle skin and hair treat­ments are ap­pre­ci­ated by con­sumers all across the world. While we are still a young brand and have a long way to go, we are proud of giv­ing this coun­try its fore­most home-grown beauty and well­ness brand that is based of true and au­then­tic Ayurveda.

The Foot­print:

Cur­rently we have 23 stores in var­i­ous cities across In­dia such as Delhi, Noida, Gur­gaon, Mum­bai, Ban­ga­lore, Ludhiana, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Chennai and Pune. We are also ex­pand­ing to newer cities as we speak and have in­creased ac­cess to con­sumers through our pres­ence on­line on www. ka­maayurveda.com as well as premium In­dia e-tail­ers. Our store are ex­clu­sive brand out­lets only and it is very im­por­tant to us to main­tain the pu­rity and au­then­tic­ity of our con­sumer’s ex­pe­ri­ence. We are avail­able in 36 coun­tries across the world via our in­ter­na­tional dis­trib­u­tors.

The Mar­ket:

It is no se­cret that the beauty busi­ness is boom­ing in

In­dia and there is a re­newed global in­ter­est in Ayurveda due to a va­ri­ety of fac­tors. In In­dia, there is a deep cul­tural ac­cep­tance of nat­u­ral, holis­tic beauty reme­dies as well a rapid in­crease in pur­chas­ing power due to ris­ing dis­pos­able in­comes. The emer­gence of on­line shop­ping in beauty has also driven growth for us due to our em­pha­sis on con­sumer ed­u­ca­tion, our foun­da­tion in Ayurvedic pre­scrip­tions as well strong word of mouth on our prod­ucts that we are very proud of. How­ever, for us our brand val­ues of pu­rity, ef­fi­cacy, au­then­tic­ity, kind­ness and sus­tain­abil­ity speak to au­di­ences not just in In­dia but also to global con­sumers.

The Cus­tomers:

Our po­si­tion­ing is sim­ple – we of­fer pure, holis­tic and ef­fi­ca­cious treat­ments for beauty and well­ness based on au­then­tic Ayurvedic pre­scrip­tions. The key here is “au­then­tic” – pure and clas­si­cal Ayurveda is at the heart of every­thing we do.

Our pur­pose is to bring au­then­tic Ayurveda to the world through ef­fec­tive for­mu­la­tions as well as el­e­gant and con­tem­po­rary pack­ag­ing. Our con­sumers are women and men look­ing for safe, gen­tle and highly ef­fec­tive reme­dies for their beauty and well­ness needs who are also con­scious about re­duc­ing chem­i­cal or non­nat­u­ral el­e­ments in their lives.

The Prod­ucts:

Our prod­uct ranges across seven ma­jor cat­e­gories – skin, hair, bath & body, mother & child care, men’s care, gift­ing and well­ness. We are best known for our iconic treat­ments such as Bringadi In­ten­sive Hair Treat­ment, Kumku­madi Mirac­u­lous Beauty Fluid and Kumku­madi Bright­en­ing Ayurvedic Face Scrub. Our high qual­ity, beau­ti­fully pack­aged prod­ucts are sold glob­ally and used by some of the world’s lead­ing ho­tels and spas. They have also re­ceived ex­ten­sive cov­er­age and recog­ni­tion in var­i­ous global and In­dian pub­li­ca­tions in­clud­ing US Vogue, French Vogue, Ja­pan Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Tatler.

All our brand stores stock our en­tire line of beauty and well­ness treat­ments – we also do lim­ited edi­tion and gift­ing col­lec­tions from time to time. Apart from our award-win­ning range and the won­der­fully warm Kama cus­tomer ser­vice, our brand stores also have Ayurvedic Doc­tors who pro­vide life­style and well­ness ad­vice to our val­ued con­sumers.

It is no se­cret that the beauty busi­ness is boom­ing in In­dia and there is a re­newed global in­ter­est in Ayurveda due to a va­ri­ety of fac­tors. In In­dia, there is a deep cul­tural ac­cep­tance of nat­u­ral, holis­tic beauty reme­dies as well a rapid in­crease in pur­chas­ing power due to ris­ing dis­pos­able in­comes.

Pric­ing Strat­egy:

Our prod­uct pric­ing ranges from Rs 225 – 2,295. Our con­sumers place a premium of the pu­rity and ef­fi­cacy of our prod­ucts rather than judg­ing our range purely by price. Our bestsellers are Bringadi In­ten­sive Hair Treat­ment, Kumku­madi Mirac­u­lous Beauty Fluid, Kumku­madi Bright­en­ing Ayurvedic Face Scrub, Or­ganic Co­conut Oil, Eladi Hy­drat­ing Ayurvedic Cream among many oth­ers.

Lo­ca­tion Strat­egy:

Lo­ca­tion is key. Our lo­ca­tion strat­egy is cur­rently a mix of malls as well as high street – for both for­mats we look at prime real estate with high foot­falls. We do have shop in shop out­lets at se­lect Shop­pers Stop stores and also re­tail from se­lect premium out­lets like Good Earth, The Box by The Park, Amethyst & Taj Khaz­ana.

The Stores:

The av­er­age size of our stores is 300 sq. ft. Our store for­mats cur­rently are Ex­clu­sive Brand Stores only. While in terms of size they dif­fer de­pend­ing on the space avail­abil­ity, the store de­sign, prod­ucts avail­able et al, are all uni­form across our stores. Our con­sumer pro­file is largely women in their late twen­ties and above, well-ed­u­cated and well-trav­elled. She is a con­tem­po­rary, dis­cern­ing woman who con­sciously chooses more holis­tic and health­ier al­ter­na­tives in her daily life.

Cus­tomer Loy­alty:

We launched our ex­clu­sive Re­wards Pro­gram ‘Amaaya’ in May 2016 and the re­sponse from our con­sumers has been phe­nom­e­nal. It is our spe­cial priv­i­leges club and as a val­ued Amaaya mem­ber, our con­sumers can earn points every time they shop with us. Amaaya mem­bers also get ac­cess to a host of other ben­e­fits in­clud­ing new prod­uct pre­views, spe­cial of­fers and ex­clu­sive ex­pe­ri­ences with Kama Ayurveda.

Mar­ket­ing Strat­egy:

Our mar­ket­ing strat­egy has evolved as the brand has grown – in the be­gin­ning we had al­most no mar­ket­ing ex­cept for the word of mouth about our prod­ucts. To­day we are fo­cus­ing our en­er­gies on wider chan­nels of mar­ket­ing but what has not changed for us is lis­ten­ing closely to our con­sumer. Our dis­cern­ing and pas­sion­ate con­sumers are the driv­ing force be­hind every­thing that we do – whether it be new prod­uct launches or new store lo­ca­tion, we lis­ten closely for their sug­ges­tions and feed­back. We be­lieve that as long as we re­main close to our con­sumers’ needs and de­sires, busi­ness will be a nat­u­ral re­sult.

Ex­pan­sion Strat­egy:

We are look­ing to ex­pand our foot­print in cities where are al­ready present as well as take our brand to newer lo­ca­tions. We have re­cently opened stores in Pune and Ludhiana apart from adding stores in Mum­bai and Bengaluru. We are not look­ing at fran­chis­ing op­tions at present.

In­no­va­tions:

We have Ayurvedic Doc­tors in our store who pro­vide health and life­style ad­vice to our con­sumers. Of­ten our con­sumers have ques­tions or con­cerns be­yond our prod­ucts alone and our highly ex­pe­ri­enced Ayurvedic doc­tors help ad­dress th­ese quickly and ef­fi­ciently. Our doc­tors are not there to sell, they are prac­tic­ing physi­cians in their own right and this is a com­pli­men­tary ser­vice avail­able at Kama stores.

On­line & E-com­merce:

E-com­merce is a crit­i­cal growth fac­tor for us and the on­line boom in beauty buy­ing has re­ally helped our brand grow and reach out to newer con­sumers In­dia and the world. While we can­not share any rev­enue num­bers, it is safe to say that our on­line chan­nels are grow­ing at a rapid pace and we are look­ing to amp us our ef­forts on­line. Apart from build­ing a rich and en­gag­ing brand site that pro­vides fast do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional ship­ping, we have also part­nered with key on­line part­ners to in­crease our on­line ca­pa­bil­i­ties. A unique fac­tor on our site www.ka­maayurveda.com is the Com­pli­men­tary Trial fea­ture wherein con­sumers can pick free sam­ples of their choice and have it de­liv­ered to their home for a nom­i­nal ship­ping fee.

Our lo­ca­tion strat­egy is cur­rently a mix of malls as well as high street – for both for­mats we look at prime real estate with high foot­falls. We do have shop in shop out­lets at se­lect Shop­pers Stop stores and also re­tail from se­lect premium out­lets like Good Earth, The Box by The Park, Amethyst & Taj Khaz­ana.

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