#NICEStories – How Love Indus Took India to the US Skincare Market

Love, Indus is a luxury skincare company launched in early 2021. Combining India’s regional riches with New York’s transformative technology, Love, Indus creates potent potions to give you an unparalleled wellness experience. 

Last month on our blog, we highlighted how NICE entrepreneurs could make use of Instagram to grow their brand. From conceptualization to collaboration, here’s an interview with the founder, Surbhee Grover, outlining the journey of a NICE partner – Love, Indus. 

Just a year after its launch, it has grown to 10,000 followers on Instagram, garnering a strong consumer base in its wake. Featured in esteemed magazines like Vogue, and Women’s Health, let’s see how this brand helped place India on the aisles of luxury skincare in the West. 

How do you identify your target demographic? How can you tell your story through Instagram? How do you amplify the voice of your consumer? Read on to find out!

Taking the East to the West: Recognizing the need for Love, Indus in the Global Market

Historically, the country of origin matters a lot in the beauty and skincare sector. France has been in the beauty space for decades. Japan has provided the world with a lot of traditional beauty practices. Korea generated the K-beauty trend 8-10 years ago. 

During my stay in New York, I noticed that there was a lack of brands of Indian origin leveraging our culture and practices. The few brands that did exist were focused more on Ayurveda, and tradition, which I thought was only one part of what India has to offer. There is more to India than just Yoga, coconut oil, or turmeric! I knew there lay a plethora of regional riches that had not been brought to the forefront and saw the worth of that untapped potential. 

The name (Love, Indus) itself is a sign-off of a letter from the Indian subcontinent.

Love Indus skincare logo

From the Cradle of India: The Origin of Love, Indus 

The idea for Love, Indus came from fusing my origin story which is rich in regional ingredients, with the innovation and growth expertise I gained in my career as a luxury strategy consultant.

I consider myself a product of the many regions of India. From being born in Calcutta, doing my schooling in Delhi, my postgraduate studies in Ahmedabad, and working in Mumbai, I have grown up all over the country. My heritage is also diverse, with my mother’s family being from Ajmer, Rajasthan, while my Dad’s side is from Pakistan and settled in UP. I also got married to someone from the South! Through living and experiencing these diverse ways of life for myself, I’ve been very fortunate to be intimately aware of all the customs and practices that surround the people from each of these regions. 

Love Indus skincare

Serenading the Romantic Realists: Identifying the Target Demographic

I recognized that there are different segments in the beauty industry, with varying profiles of consumers. There are some who are all about 100% natural care and prefer to use organic fruits and vegetables for their skincare routine. There is another group that is extremely passionate about makeup which forms a key part of their identity. There are some who will religiously listen to their dermatologist’s recommendations and do not believe in OTC brands. 

Amongst these lies a specific segment of consumers who are filled with a sense of curiosity and adventure and have a desire to explore new things. These folks are diverse in terms of age and income level but similar in terms of behavior and attitude. I wanted to coin a term to fit them. We call them ‘Romantic Realists’ because the richness of stories appeals to them. 

These Romantic Realists have a desire to understand different cultures, where the product comes from, the ingredients, and the stories behind them. At the same time, this group is not superficial and goes beyond the label to dive deep into the product. Romantic Realists are discerning consumers and tend to be informed about the scientific terms around each of the ingredients and the impact they have. They read extensively and are unforgiving about the performance of the product, lending credibility to the brand. 

We want to cater to this segment of consumers who gravitate towards the story and the performance element of a brand. The sensorial aspect of a product is very important to them, which is why every part of our product, the packaging, fragrance, texture and more, has layers to it. We call it a gift to yourself that you unpack. 

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Using Instagram to tell our Story

I believe in the power of visuals and aesthetics, and dabbling in photography, studying film-making etc has shaped my sensibilities and given me an appreciation for the power of visual storytelling. It also helps that I have a really solid team who are passionate about the quality of what we put out there and make sure that every piece of “content” meets our standards.

We utilize all the different formats of Instagram, as each feature is important at different times. We are now moving more towards increasing engagement-oriented posts and focusing on the design and creativity that is important in building the brand. No one knew the brand when it was launched, so our first step was to establish our design ethos and quality standard to paint a picture of what the essence of the brand was, what our value prop was. 

Now that we have our brand image, the next phase involves shifting our focus to telling our consumers’ story and how they experience our products – telling our story, but from their eyes. Depending on the stage of the brand, we need to keep evolving and shifting the content based on what makes the most business sense and has the greatest relevance and “connect” with consumers.

From the Comments to Captions: Reflecting the Voice of the Consumer on Social Media

On social media, we aim to evolve by finding a balance between what is strategically important to build our company and at the same time have the consumer’s voice be present and echo on the brand’s page. 

Our content is constantly evolving based on the feedback we get. For example, our No. 1 bestseller is Amrutini® Precious Potion Vital Cream. We have fanatics for this product, with people saying that the Precious Potion has changed their life, alleviated their hormonal breakouts, oily skin, acne, and more. We recently heard back from our retail locations saying that consumers often refer to it fondly as ‘the love potion.’ So on Instagram, we asked our consumers whether we should change the name of our best-seller ‘Precious Potion’ to ‘Love Potion.’ 

We also pay close attention to what our audience is saying. When we released a post on Muga silk, one of the cultural elements used in our products, we got many comments from our followers expressing wonder and saying they had no idea about its heritage. We then decided to incorporate more posts on Indian cultural history into our feed. This way, our social media is all about balance and evolution. 

Scheduled for the Grid
Coming up Next!

We’re less than a year old and already have 10,000 followers on Instagram. This growth has been majorly driven through content, collaborations, and creation. However, we have also had a learning curve and did not know all of it in week one. We constantly experimented to find the right fit. 

We plan to do more IGTV live’s in 2022, where I can interact directly with our consumers. We have also recently tapped into the collaboration functionality that was launched a month and a half ago. We used this to collaborate with influencers Olga Ferrara and Bhanushree Mehra. With this feature, the content we make shows up on our feed, as well as on their feed, helping us reach a wider audience. 

At a tactical level, we are continuously experimenting. This month we plan to explore digital rendering, to see how we can give the creatives a magical touch with 3D.

In the next part of our interview, NICEorg will be highlighting the importance of packaging in building brand value and how Love, Indus has designed a perfect unboxing experience for its consumers. Stay tuned!

If your cultural enterprise is in any of our five focus sectors and you would be interested in being featured, write to us at namaste@niceorg.in

Interview conducted by Maithree Venkatesan. 

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First Indian Cultural Enterprise Investment Report 2021

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