If there’s one thing I’ve always loathed, oh, ok, you got me, or anyone who knows me has got me, there are MANY things I loathe, but for our purposes here, it’s people who say, “Oh, you can get anything in India”. Uh, no. It wasn’t true 10 years ago when I first heard it, and it ain’t true now. Leastways, not down south of the Vindhyas.
Lancome’s Poeme? Urban Decay foundation 8.0? Tod’s D Bag? Every single one of the 250 books I’ve downloaded on Kindle because it’s not in the bookstore? Peace of mind? Pavements? I digress. But when it comes to the Beauty Biz, it’s a Hell to the No. What’s particularly galling is when you run to the nearest Nykaa (Sephora’s little sister, I presume?) looking for Marc Jacobs’s Daisy Dream Kiss and they say they don’t stock Marc Jacobs. Say what. Look it up on their online store, you say? When you manage to get the site to open, it will tell you they’re plum out of stock.
Speaking of Nykaa. They’ve opened
in Bangalore’s Lavelle Road, and made the mistake so many companies
make: Starting small, dipping their toe in the waters and seeing how warm it
is. It’s Alaska warm, honey, because the people who walk into Nykaa know the exact
shade, formula and background of the products they expect to see and are willing
to buy big for pigments that go on their skin – only you don’t have what they
want. Even the hugely popular Huda Beauty has just a handful of wares on display. So what happens? You don’t sell much and we all go
back to duty free shopping at the nearest airport. Lose-lose.
|Paradise found & the price is just about right|
Having said that, the Sabyasachi line of lipsticks for L’Oreal (who know a thing or two about marketing in India, I might add), is sublime. Also noteworthy in the lip line: Bobbi Brown, Crushed Liquid Lip Bitter Sweet and the always-trustworthy Stila, see Sheer Splendore, both available at the actual Sephora which, alas, also suffers from a lack of variety. No, I don't see why the Champs Elysees store should be different from the Lavelle Rd one, sorry.
Point to Note: Down South is admittedly very different from Up North; people here are price-conscious in a way no Delhi socialite would stoop to consider. But things are changing, a bit. Women are willing to pay at MAC but the large Bobbi Brown at Garuda mall stays largely empty. Why? Their products are great but their prices are sometimes just silly. Think about it this way: there's a reason why retailers say things like it's $9.99 rather than saying it's $10. It's psychology; they should be saying it's $9.99 Psychologically. While I might throw an internal tantrum but cough up Rs 2,500 for a Studio Fix powder at MAC, I will willingly lose the battle when faced with a Bobbi Brown concealer for Rs 3,650. Psychology. And that's just when seeing the 2 and the 3, not even the 1000 rupee difference. Once I see that, it's game over.
But I still believe in the adage which I will twist because I can: Build your stock, and the buyers will come. (Just don’t be silly about it.)