Colorbar's Samir Modi On The Future Of The Indian Beauty Industry


This is what the future of beauty will look like, according to Colorbar’s Samir Modi

Tbh, his golden advice is applicable to us all

By ELLE Team  July 17th, 2020

Five years ago, no one would have ever guessed that we would be covering up our perfectly done faces with masks in the near future. It’s no secret that many beauty brands all around the world–big and small–have taken a hit due to the novel coronavirus. They’ve been forced to make some difficult decisions, including the closing of stores and delaying product launches. To understand the lasting impact of the virus on the beauty industry, ELLE’s Beauty and Health Director, Mamta Mody chatted with Samir Modi, the founder and managing director of India’s third largest make-up brand, Colorbar. In our Wednesdays with ELLE series on Instagram, Modi gave us a thorough insight into the beauty biz. From pivoting product launches to bringing artificial intelligence into stores, here are the big takeaways from the conversation…

Realigning is important

New products that were slated to release took a backseat after international imports came to a standstill in March. Pivoting its focus, Colorbar took up the manufacturing of hand sanitizers and body care products to cater to the country’s increased demand. The aloe vera-spiked Pure-Izer Hand Gel (now a bestseller) was made in India in record time and complied with WHO’s guidelines. 

In-store safety measures

We’re not going to be swatching make-up in stores any longer, but Colorbar is working on a way around it. “To make shopping safer for consumers, every Colorbar staff member is masked and gloved, and follows a no-touch and no tester policy,” explains Modi. He adds, “We are also in the process of introducing an AI concept that allows you to virtually try make-up whether you’re shopping online or in-store,” he adds. 

Quality over quantity 

If there is someone who understands the power of a good cosmetic, it is Colorbar. “Our goal is to make sure people go home happy and satisfied with their beauty purchases. We believe in creating trustworthy products because make-up is a magical thing. One swipe and boom!—it can completely transform your mood. I don’t recommend compromising on the quality of a product,” says Modi. 

Focus on giving back

When economic setbacks come into play, bigger brands have engaged in various ways to give back to society. Modi was quick to chalk up a plan, he says, “We’ve drawn up health insurances for 2,500 employees and given away 20,000 meal bags to the less privileged. Now, as stores are slowly reopening, we have decided to offer a 15 per cent additional discount to any COVID warrior [doctors, nurses, etc] that shops with us.”

New launches

Colorbar has several interesting launches in the pipeline. “I am very passionate about the environment and soon we will release a line of refillable lipsticks, magnetic eyeshadow pots, lip sticks and liners as well as eyeliners that aim at reusing the old packaging,” says Modi. The brand will also be releasing anti-pollution skincare as well as an inclusive foundation range of 33 shades. 

Non-binary approach to beauty

According to Modi it’s essential for brands to adopt and promote a gender-neutral attitude to beauty, especially make-up. In fact, Modi tests out all the new launches on himself before they hit the shop floor. “I love make-up as much as any woman! At work and home, my nickname is Mr Mom. I’m called that because I keep telling my kids to try out new formulations, love cooking and shopping for home décor, as well as clothes for my kids and wife,” he explains. He firmly believes that everyone has the right to feel good about themselves—“ if make-up helps, there’s nothing like it,” he says.

Nothing is permanent

“My advice to beauty brands that are struggling is to stay put,” says Modi. “This too shall pass and you just have to ride it out.” He also explained that he expects customers to make their way back to stores only after Diwali. “Right now, consumers are focussing on conserving money,” he adds.