The Good Glamm Group’s marketing strategy is based on four major pillars of growth – content, creator, commerce and community
The group raised $150 Mn in Series D, co-led by Warburg Pincus and Prosus Ventures, to enter the unicorn club at a valuation of $1.2 Bn
The Good Glamm Group partnered with Simpl, a merchant first checkout network, to enable one-tap checkout for customers for hassle-free online payments across MyGlamm, The Moms Co, St. Botanica, Organic Harvest and Sirona
When the Covid-19 outbreak hit the world in 2020, all businesses, big and small, came to a grinding halt almost overnight. It also became a redefining year for the Indian startup ecosystem, which was forced to adapt more than industry behemoths. Consider this. An April 2020 survey by Praxian Global revealed that 37% of Indian startups had 6-12 months of cash reserves left, and around 21% had less than a six-month runway. MyGlamm, a Mumbai-based direct-to-consumer (D2C) beauty and personal care brand, was in a similar plight early in the pandemic months and desperately looking for a way out.
The startup, which was founded in 2017 by serial entrepreneur Darpan Sanghvi, claimed that it was left with $20 Mn worth of unsold inventory, among a slew of other losses, at the onset of Covid with slim chances of survival.
If these losses were not enough, it was about to close a Series C funding round in March 2020 but suffered a huge setback when lockdowns kicked in, and the lead VC pulled out.
There was a silver lining, though. During the crisis, existing investors L’Occitane (a French retailer of luxury beauty products), Bessemer Venture Partners and the Mankekar Family Office came to the startup’s rescue and lent it the capital needed.
When the cash reserves were partially replenished, MyGlamm took a couple of decisive measures.
An excess inventory was a major concern at the time. But marketing and selling in the midst of pandemic uncertainties called for targeting specific consumer segments based on what was most relevant to them. So, the brand decided to bet on content moats to attract and amass new users without the CAC (customer acquisition costs) hitting north.
And its acquisition of POPxo in August 2020 ticked all the right boxes (more on that later).
Meanwhile, the funding landscape improved after the initial knee-jerk reaction to the pandemic, and MyGlamm completed its Series C round in two tranches.
It raised around INR 175 Cr in March 2021, led by Amazon. Accel and its existing investors led the second tranche of INR 530 Cr. In September, MyGlamm topped up its Series C funding with INR 255 Cr, led by Trifecta Leaders Fund.
Cash-strapped no longer, the brand was all set to explore the markets further and acquire a host of promising digital businesses to expand and grow.
Building A House Of Brands Brick By Brick
Of course, the narrative started with the strategic acquisition of POPxo, which helped lay the foundation for The Good Glamm Group. A quick look at the business synergies will further highlight the advantages.
Set up by Priyanka Gill in 2014, POPxo is a popular, women-focussed platform built around content and commerce. It used to serve 60 Mn monthly active users (MAU) at the time of acquisition, giving MyGlamm ample opportunities to stack a vast selection of products, content-driven marketing and easy customer acquisition on top of each other.
Additionally, MyGlamm received funding commitments from POPxo’s existing investors, including Chiratae Ventures, Kalaari Capital and Neoplux.
In August 2021, exactly a year after acquiring POPxo, the brand snapped up the parenting platform BabyChakra for an undisclosed amount. This gave the beauty startup direct access to the platform’s 20 Mn+ users and a network of 10K doctors.
A month later, MyGlamm announced the formation of the Good Glamm Group as the parent entity and a ‘digital house of brands’ built on the four major pillars of growth – community, commerce, content and community. Sanghvi also roped in POPxo founder Priyanka Gill and BabyChakra founder Naiyya Saggi as cofounders of the group.
To muscle up its newfound but highly successful user acquisition strategy through inorganic growth, the group went on an acquisition spree. By 2022, it had added 11 more brands to its portfolio.
Among these were beauty and wellness brand The Moms Co, skin and personal care startup St.Botanica, personal care brand Organic Harvest, video analytics platform Vidooly, media and influencer talent management network MissMalini, digital content platform ScoopWhoop and women-centric content platform Tweak India (its latest acquisition made in December 2022).
To further reinforce its content-creator-commerce flywheel as the fourth strategic moat, the house of brands launched The Good Community in February 2023. It is an omnichannel interest-based network of users and experts that allows them to forge meaningful connections based on shared interests in beauty, parenting, sexual and intimate health, wellness and sustainability.
The Good Community brings users and experts together on digital platforms like WhatsApp, each brand’s native app and mobile website and holds offline events and workshops to facilitate interactions. The Good Community platforms are GlammFam (MyGlamm), Organic Squad (Organic Harvest), Sirona Circle (Sirona) and Momstar (BabyChakra).
There was a method in the spate of acquisitions as the group worked hard to strengthen its moats. For example, to give more teeth to its content and influencer/creator ecosystem, it consolidated a few acquired companies under the Good Media Co, The Good Brands Co, the Good Creator Co (see snapshot). These worked as crucial triggers for growing the community and commerce in the long run.
Here is a case in point. When it acquired Delhi-based digital media and lifestyle content provider ScoopWhoop in 2021, the group targeted the platform’s male audience to help fuel a sales surge in men’s grooming products. It even announced a fresh infusion of INR 500 Cr to expand these categories further, as the content-to-commerce playbook would help it reach a larger audience.
Finally, a unicorn badge: In November 2021, the Good Glamm Group raised $150 Mn in Series D, co-led by Warburg Pincus and Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers), to enter the coveted unicorn club at a valuation of $1.2 Bn.
According to the startup, the community-commerce-content approach has become the Good Glamm Group’s key differentiator throughout its journey. It has acquired a widespread digital presence through its acquisitions and uses an integrated marketing strategy for all its products.
A strong content-to-commerce approach is at the core of all marketing strategies. With the Good Creator Co, Good Glamm Group has built an impactful network of influencers and creators, helping it engage with its audience and reach out to a larger demographic
However, the group does not miss out on any promotional opportunities. First, there are the usual celebrity endorsements to drive sales and win fans. By announcing Shraddha Kapoor as MyGlamm’s ambassador (and investor) in 2020, it got access to the actor’s 66 Mn followers on social media. It also did TV commercials and tied up with popular shows like Bigg Boss and Koffee With Karan.
Drawing Product Inspiration From Customer Insights, Making Beauty Affordable
MyGlamm believes consumers should get what they want for their beauty needs instead of the brands telling them such things. In fact, customer insights have played a significant role in their product journey
MyGlamm has developed more than 1K SKUs across make-up and skincare categories based on consumer insights from regularly held surveys and feedback.
Moreover, top-quality but affordable product lines are bound to win more customers and retain them for a long time. So, the products are reasonably priced, with the cosmetics and skincare range starting from INR 200.
Keeping most price tags pocket-friendly (some can go up to INR 2K or more) has won the group plenty of happy and loyal customers, especially beyond the metros. About 70% of its revenue comes from Tier 2 and 3 locations like Lucknow, Kanpur, Indore and Faridabad.
To ensure a seamless shopping experience, the house of brands has partnered with Bengaluru-based Simpl, a merchant first checkout network, enabling a one-tap checkout for customers to make hassle-free online payments.
According to MyGlamm, the flagship brand of the group, Simpl’s easy onboarding process and smooth payment experience have made it popular among users and helped retain 10-15% of customers. Also, Simpl is the fifth most preferred mode of payment for customers on MyGlamm.
Simpl has also partnered with The Moms Co, St. Botanica, Organic Harvest and Sirona which are a part of The Good Glamm group.
Simpl believes that its core value lies in the user experience it offers. “It is very frustrating to see transactions fail after entering all the details, often leading to cart abandonments,” said Nitya Sharma, founder, Simpl. In contrast, Simpl enables a speedy, frictionless user experience via its one-tap checkout.
The Way Forward
In the past couple of years, the beauty industry has rapidly evolved due to the seismic shift in consumer values and expectations. Brands today are going all out to future-proof their businesses through disruptive strategies, be it innovative technology or a cutting-edge business model.
But building a house of brands like the Good Glamm Group is not a novel concept. FMCG giants like Unilever have been doing it for decades, but not all brands under a parent company shine equally brightly. Operating too many brands in the same category also involves the risk of cannibalisation, where stablemates go to war, and the parent firm stands to lose.
On the plus side, they all enjoy customer loyalty and the quality endorsements attributed to the parent company and thrive on business synergies. This is especially true about the Good Glamm Group, which has adopted a content-to-commerce approach to usher in new users and has built powerful moats around the product companies it fosters.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the group has several ambitious goals. It is eyeing 200% revenue growth by exploring Bharat markets further and diversifying its product portfolio. Plans are also afoot to set up global markets starting with the Middle East.
Nykaa, a beauty ecommerce marketplace, is another player leveraging the content-to-commerce approach. It has its own private labels and has started acquiring smaller beauty brands like Earth Rhythm and Dot & Key. It also acquired the digital content platform Little Black Book (LBB) in September 2022 to leverage the content-to-commerce approach.
It will be interesting to see whether the house of brands model becomes mainstream in India as cash-strapped companies reap the benefits of collaborative growth. In the process, big brands can lower their CAC and operational costs, while smaller businesses will have a fulfilling growth cycle and make a profit.