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Plum, a line of 100% vegan beauty products, is at this exciting turning point. It is transforming from being a familiar name in a niche market to being a household name in India. Plum firmly believes in ‘being good’ – to your skin, to your senses, to others, and more importantly, to the environment. In the pursuit of a more sustainable future, Plum products are ‘always free from parabens phthalates,’ ‘cruelty-free and vegan,’ and ‘One Percent for the Planet member.’
“The thing about innovation in a fast-growing market is that it has to be continuous” (as quoted by Ms. Arushi Thapar, Senior Manager, Marketing). Moving beyond the traditional soap and fairness creams market in India, Plum has introduced revolutionary beauty products free from parabens or phthalates that are never tested on animals, which is 100% vegan. Plum believes in a ‘wholesome goodness experience.’ This means creating beauty products that are not only good for you, but others, and hence, for the environment as well.
“It’s about actually bringing together really effective products formulated in India, products that lead the charge on clean beauty” (Thapar). Plum has been able to reinvent the cosmetic products market by ensuring that all its products are non-toxic. But the real innovation lies in Plum’s successful efforts of creating products that are not only effective, clean, and non-toxic, but also sustainable. This is done by using recyclable plastic, avoiding bubble wraps in its packaging, etc.
Plum began as a brainchild of Mr. Shankar Prasad, Founder, and CEO, in 2014. Assisted by Arushi Thapar, Senior Manager, it started as an online-cosmetic brand that happens to be the first beauty brand in India that is 100% vegan and cruelty-free. Marketing experts agree that Plum's positioning sets it not only apart but also inadvertently gives it an edge over others who are now reformulating their strategy to take on the competitors’ ayurvedic range of cosmetic creams.
The motivation for Plum came at an exciting time. The founder, Mr. Prasad, witnessed the changes in the beauty industry and spotted a gap in the Indian market. This came when not many international brands were easily accessible to the customers as the digital presence was low compared with today. Furthermore, at the time, if one wanted to find skincare products in India that were truly ‘cruelty-free,’ they would have to resort to Ayurvedic products alone, even if that wasn’t their preference. As reported by LiveMint, after being severely affected by the visual images of mascara being tested on caged animals like rabbits, he set out on a journey to find a list of products that were certified by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) but found that brands were under no regulations to prevent animal cruelty in India.
He foresaw a need to be inspired by nature's goodness and was driven by the desire to be good and do good. Hence, with this clear ideology and vision, Mr. Prasad started working on Plum. He felt that he could disrupt the market by trying to fill this gap. His experience and expertise paved the path for the rise of Plum. According to Arushi Thapar, Senior Manager, the innovation is not just one big thing that’s going to make you say, ‘Oh! That’s dramatically or technologically different!’, but it’s the coming together of those little things that make a brand like Plum innovative in the market.
Plum is all about putting goodness back into the planet and ensuring that they put more goodness back than they take from it. That’s the yardstick that Plum uses to measure its effectiveness. Some instances of these measures include eliminating bubble wrap from their packaging, using recyclable plastic, and achieving plastic neutrality.
The guiding pillars that Plum follows are Being Clean, Real, and Good. Being Clean is about making every effort to have well-researched, scientifically-backed, non-toxic formulations for their products. Plum does not use animal-derived ingredients or harmful, toxic chemicals in their products. For them, this is what clean beauty is all about.
Then comes Being Real, which is about transparency, honesty, and being genuine with their customers. Real means that Plum is about enhancing your natural skin and your natural hair and not about masking or changing its natural state. So it’s not about saying one skin tone is better than the other. Plum claims that it will never make fairness creams because that’s what real beauty is to them. Finally, the last pillar is Being Good, which is about being good to oneself, to the planet, to everyone else, and, most importantly, to the environment.
Plum takes a bunch of different steps for making a positive impact on sustainability, like using only recyclable plastic for packaging. They also have a unique recyclable initiative called ‘Empties4Good’, where they take back empty Plum packaging from their customers once they have used up the products free of cost and recycle them. In addition to this, they also give these customers rewards in return as an incentive.
Plum is a fresh line of 100% vegan beauty products that are presently available in more than 220 cities with around 6000+ outlets and has a presence in 15 online marketplaces, which contributes to more than 60% of the revenue. They serve 2,50,000 customers every month and target revenue of more than Rs 200 crores by the end of the current financial year, claims a news report published by LiveMint. Further, they aim to expand their brand reach to 1,00,000 stores in the next two years to achieve Rs 500 crores of revenues in the next three years.
The company's portfolio comprises skincare, haircare, body care, and makeup products. As per media sources, it has experienced a 2.5 times growth year-on-year and expects to clock an annual revenue run-rate of Rs 200 crore by March 2021.
Plum is a proud member of One Percent for the Planet, where they give 1% of every sale to environmental causes. Their ‘Empties4Good’ initiative collects used packaging (called “empties”) and takes them to recyclers for free. These initiatives tie into their core value of ‘Sustainability’ and their purpose of being good to the environment.
Talking about the societal benefits, Plum is a firm advocate of respecting diversity and protecting natural skin. In pursuit of this, it claims that it will never manufacture fairness creams because that is what 'goodness' is all about. All Plum products are also animal cruelty-free, PETA-certified, vegan, and free from toxic chemicals.
Plum is constantly striving to spread their 'goodness' not only to the consumers and animals but to the environment too.
Arushi Thapar, Senior Manager
Plum, a line of 100% vegan beauty products, is at an interesting turning point. It is transforming from being a familiar name in a niche market to being a household name in India. Plum firmly believes in ‘being good’ – to your skin, to your senses, to others, and more importantly, to the environment. In the pursuit of a more sustainable future, Plum products are ‘always free from parabens phthalates’ and ‘cruelty-free and vegan.’