Indian beauty company Pilgrim targets Middle Eastern markets and offline expansion by 2023

The strategy was introduced shortly after the soft launch of its first 24-karat gold line featuring oil, serum and face mask inspired by Korean cosmetics a month ago. Also in the works are two additional gold SKUs, a cleanser and a scrub, slated for retail sale by the third quarter of this year.

Pilgrim co-founder and CEO Anurag Kedia said the gold line’s 30,000 units were all sold out. The company is currently working to produce an additional 100,000 units for all three products to meet demand.

“Indian consumers have always had this fascination with gold. For example, culturally, they can be seen wearing gold jewelry. Going forward, we are looking at Middle Eastern markets like the UAE and Saudi Arabia for our entire product portfolio, not just the gold range, by the end of 2023.

“Domestically, we want to continue penetrating the Indian market deeper in Q3 2023 and disconnect by entering modern business channels like departmental, lifestyle and beauty stores. Over the last two or three years we have seen an increase in the number of online sales, but it has also been seen that over 95% of consumers continue to shop offline. Only 5% do it online. Disconnecting is a way for us to get closer to consumers,” said Anurag.

Founded in 2019, Pilgrim is a D2C beauty brand that claims to be vegan, cruelty-free, and PETA certified. Its product portfolio of 70 SKUs, spanning face, hair care and body care, is US FDA cleared. Consumers can access indigenous beauty traditions from three cultures – Korean, Spanish and French. The new golden line is an extension of the Korean collection.

The collections are made with ingredients and supported by research and development (R&D), partnerships and advice from around the world. The experts behind Pilgrim come from various countries like South Korea, France, Italy, Germany, and India itself.

For its Series A funding round, the company raised approximately 13 crore (US$1.6 million) led by Fireside Ventures, Rukam Capital and angel investors.

Golden Benefits

According to Anurag, the gold line was conceptualized in 2021 and underwent six months of R&D before launching a month ago. It uses a combination of food grade pure 24k gold dust and film for gold products.

The nanogold material acts as a vehicle to transport the bioactive ingredients, resulting in instant skin tightening and radiance. The effect is particularly strong for the golden mask after about 20 minutes of application. The products could also act as a primer before applying makeup.

The gold range mainly targets users between the ages of 20 and 35, but 30% of its users are 35 and over. The three products sell for around 500 to 600 rupees (US$7.60) each. Gold products in the market usually cost around 1,000 rupees (12.70 USD) per unit.

“We play the volume game and keep product prices reasonable to reach as many consumers as possible. We will introduce two to three additional collections by Q4 2022 and increase the depth and breadth of the portfolio. We generate formulations once every few months,”he said.

In conclusion, Anurag said there has been a big shift among consumers today – they are more aware of skincare and wellness. It’s a healthy trend because consumers today have different cycles of sleep, food, alcohol consumption, and added stress than they did half a century ago. Therefore, more care would be needed for the skin, and they start the routines younger.

“In 2023, we expect two to three times the growth of what we were in 2022. For the period from May to June, we grew four times a year from 2021 to 2022 in volume and revenue. We are in an interesting time and space in India. There is a lot of international innovation in India. There’s a lot of excitement. The market for the consumer range is good and is progressing very well,”he said.

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