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Why small-batch beauty brands deserve a place on your shelf

Creating tiny bottles of concoctions is almost like wrapping a gift for your loved ones -- an emotion that lays the foundation for such beauty brands

Written by Shambhavi Dutta | New Delhi |
Updated: March 15, 2021 6:26:07 pm
small beauty brands, small batch beauty brands, small beauty brands in india, small beauty brands in india 2021, small makeup brands in india, beauty brands list, beauty brands list india, beauty brands in india, small batch beauty products, small batch beauty products in india, small batch beauty products 2021, skincare brands in india, skincare brands in india 2021, beauty products, beauty brands 2021​Deviating from the conventional idea of producing massively, these brands cater to your needs in small batches. (Photo: Representational/ Pixabay)

Everyone enjoys using a cult beauty product. But the experience only becomes better when you receive that product wrapped in handcrafted paper, decorated with little flowers, along with a handwritten note from the founder. This is because, for a lot of us, a personal touch holds immense importance as it makes one feel directly connected to the brand.

This is where small-batch beauty brands enter the market. Deviating from the conventional idea of producing massively, these brands cater to your needs in small batches not only to save the environment but also to make sure the joy of using their products is holistic and effective. 

To understand this further, we spoke to four small-batch homegrown brands to decode their working model, their products and benefits, the downsides of producing minimally, and how sustainable it is in the long run.

Functioning

 

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A post shared by Tamra Botanicals (@tamrabotanicals)

Oleum Cottage, which produces about 100 units per batch, has a team of only six persons. “They not only procure the raw material and blend them but also bottle the final product, label and box them,” say founders Kasturi Sen and Vidhi Dave. For them, one of the biggest reasons for producing small is because they “believe in honing their craft with each passing unit and want to amalgamate the essence of handcrafted products.” 

It is no different for Kamini Patel, founder of Nature Therapy who works with a team of just three members — including her. “As a small-batch producer, in any industry, we have the opportunity to personally speak with the suppliers and acquire premium ingredients. If I have large-scale production, I may not be able to continue with such sources and have to go to mainstream suppliers,” she tells indianexpress.com

Similarly, for Tamra Botanicals, which currently sells just one product and has a team of five members, it is the immediate feedback and direct connection with customers that matter the most. Founder Ankit Suchal says “a small batch producing beauty brand means quality and assurance. It also helps us in crowdsourcing the idea from the market and make the necessary changes ASAP.”

What does it mean to be producing small?

 

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A post shared by Oleum Cottage (@oleumcottage)

For Secret Alchemist, a brand run by a mother-daughter duo, “the best part is personalisation”. “We hand pack our products knowing and understanding the clientele. Producing in small batches allows you to innovate and go to market in the shortest possible time,” Ankita Thadani, co-founder shares, adding that they have been producing in small batches for two decades now. 

Creating tiny bottles of concoctions is almost like wrapping a gift for your loved ones — an emotion that lays the foundation for such beauty brands. “The thoughtfulness in the craft and the craftswoman definitely adds to it,” says Kasturi. 

But, not all is rosy. There are shares of downs too — ranging from shipping charges which eat their margins to high production costs.

“We are sometimes stuck in an either-or situation because we are labour intensive and also have space constraints. Shipping costs are also a major downside,” Patel says. 

Other stumbling blocks include attention issues. “While a small team works more efficiently when it comes to branding and marketing activities, but for operations, we need all hands on deck, that’s where things get challenging. Personalisation is definitely an advantage when competing with automated production lines but at the end of the day, it makes us slow at times in comparison to our competitors,” says Thadani. 

Costly but worth the money

 

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A post shared by Secret Alchemist (@secret.alchemist)

Production of fewer units invariably means they are sustainable and have more flexibility with sourcing. “We use packaging that is plastic-free and recyclable. Instead of using toxic ink, we use water-soluble variant” explains Suchal. Their products are sourced locally “so that we can employ locally. Simultaneously, the brand also makes it a point to donate three per cent of our annual revenues for various social concerns and plant a tree for every product sold”. 

For sourcing, Kasturi works closely with oil producers. “It also gives us better control of our formulations. If a certain ingredient becomes unsustainable for environmental reasons, we are able to go back to our formulation diaries and find a good replacement. Mass production, by the very nature of the method, does not allow much flexibility, though it offers lower costs.”

With direct contact with the vendors, brands make it a point to use natural ingredients with effective results. “This, however, means more manual labour which increases the price of raw materials. But in buying cheaper mass-produced goods, with heavier doses of preservatives and other chemicals, consumers do pay an invisible price. That is the price of compromised health, the price of repairing lower skin immunity in the long run” she adds.  

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