The Covid pandemic wreaked havoc in several industries across the world. While some shut shop, others were forced to downgrade their businesses. Amid these testing times, a Brazilian natural cosmetics brand is eyeing to go big in India. Founded in 1995, Surya Brasil began operations in the US in 1997 and since then the company has expanded its base to many countries. The company’s founder Clelia Cecilia Angelon describes India as an indispensable part of Surya Brasil’s growth journey. Angelon also revealed details about her India connect. Here’s what all she had to say:
What are the factors behind Surya Brasil’s plan to enter the Indian market?
India has always been an indispensable part of Surya Brasil’s growth journey over the past 25 years. In fact, it is my admiration and empathy with regard to the Indian culture that contributes to the brand’s ethos since its inception. If you look at the name of the brand, it is based on the god Surya who brings warmth and light to the world. Taking inspiration from the same, Surya Brasil is also committed to bringing conscious products and warmth to the world.
Another factor that can be added to the list is that our product range is completely in sync with the modern-day holistic personal care needs of Indian people, as all the products are expertly crafted combining Ayurveda, technology, and Brazil’s rich natural resources. Quantum physics and the Vedic hypothesis of interrelatedness finds a practical expression in Ayurveda, which has integrated this into its theory and practice
You plan to enter into a new territory when the world is struggling to cope with a pandemic, how do you plan to address this?
India has never been a new territory for me, for there were two things that were always on the top of my mind since childhood. While one was getting into business, the other was visiting India. I still recall my first visit to India in 1974, when I was completely awed by the rich culture and heritage of the country. Since then I have been to the country at least 43 times and each visit has been a learning experience.
With regard to the pandemic, Covid-19 has impacted countries across the world but it does not entail that the show would not go on. Even as Surya Brasil is already present in 40 countries, we have launched our products in as many as six countries following the outbreak of the pandemic. Also, since our products are nature-oriented and don’t contain harmful chemicals or toxins, they are most appropriate for use amid the prevailing scenario if we want to bid adieu to troubling side effects.
Regarding our India-centric plans, we want to convey the message of true wellness to consumers that are not aware of the toxic chemicals in their personal care products. We want to convert them into loyal customers, as well as having them spread awareness of our brand by word of mouth.Our product’s performance is just as good if not better than generic products, and we want to focus our messaging towards educating the consumer. Once they understand this, there is very little reason why they would not want to try our product.
How big is the Ayurvedic personal care market in India and what share of it you intend to capture?
The Ayurveda market in India was valued at INR 300 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach INR 710.87 billion by 2024, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 16.06%during the forecast period (2019-2024). Even before the pre-pandemic period, several Indian households had made a shift towards Ayurvedic products as against those laced with chemicals. While in 2015 nearly 67% of Indian households used Ayurvedic products, there was a surge of nearly 8-10% in the same by 2018. Now as we are in the midst of a long-drawn battle against a pandemic, brands have of late been using more of herbal ingredients in personal care products like lotions, oils, and shampoos, thereby suggesting that the market has only swollen in the recent past.
With regard to the market share, we would say that it is a little too early to make any statement in this regard. I would like to reiterate that our product range is one-of-its-kind, combining the power of Ayurveda, technology, and the natural resources of Brazil. Surya Brasil has always been a conscious company with ethics, offering most natural, multi-ethnic, multi-gender and multi-functional personal care products across the world since decades. Even with our foray into the Indian market, we would continue to strive for innovation, sustainability and fulfilling social responsibility.
Take us through the global journey of the brand
Surya Brasil’s founder Clelia Cecilia Angelon
I launched Surya Brasil way back in 1995 in collaboration with a dear Indian friend Kanwal J Singh, who I happen to know for over 40 years. While initially, I thought of it as an impossible proposition to succeed in business without adhering to traditional ways, my inner spirit continued to guide me towards establishing Surya Brasil has a conscious brand that cares about all living beings. Launched more as a mission and less as a profit-making entity, Surya Brasil was selling to two major pharmacy chains in Brazil in the first month itself, and just two years later we entered the US market. This was the beginning of our global journey as within a few years, we were available in markets like Japan, Europe and South America, among others. In US we are among the biggest players in the natural market such as Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Natural Sources, The Vitamin Shoppe. At present Surya Brasil is present in more than 40 countries, with India being our most-awaited and most recent ventures.
What is your brand’s USP?
The unique proposition of Surya Brasil as a brand originates from the fact that it is a conscious company with ethics, which has the most natural products with best performance and respect for consumers, all living beings and the environment. Our rich experience in the domain speaks for itself, and what makes us stand out of the clutter is that each of our products is an amalgamation of Ayurveda, technology as well as natural resources of Brazil. This is precisely the reason why we have established a loyal consumer base across all markets we have catered to.
Any word on your special affinity for India?
As mentioned earlier, India has always had a significant impact on my life since my childhood. During my recurring visits to the country, I further realised a sort of connection with the culture and people of the land and eventually made a lot of Indian friends. They introduced me to great Indian epics and personalities such as Mahabharat, Ramayana, Guru Nanak, Aurobindo Ghosh and Osho, among others, which not only enhanced my knowledge but also helped me realise the might and richness of the country’s heritage. Owing to my admiration for the land, at present, I am also learning Kathak from legendary Indian classical dancer and Padma Bhushan recipient Dr. Uma Sharma, who has been honoured by the President of the country. She is also helping me learn Hindi.
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