When Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty first hit the makeup aisles back in 2017, the community was in awe. With a foundation range of 40 shades, the line was immediate proof that Fenty wasn’t another celebrity makeup brand. It wishes to change the landscape of beauty and rewrite the rules of what beauty brands are supposed to do to even deserve the attention of consumers. While Rihanna’s Fenty may not necessarily have started the trend of extensive foundation shades, it certainly made it popular. And after a long wait, the Indian scene has its own inclusive range of foundations, better yet from a homegrown brand! Type Beauty Inc – a new homegrown beauty brand founded by Ananya Kapur – has launched a diverse foundation range consisting 24 shades. We spoke to Ananya to understand what transpired behind the scenes to achieve this feat.
Let’s Start From The Beginning…
An Entrepreneurial Origin Story Worthy Of Retelling
Coming from an entrepreneur stock, Ananya’s inspiration to be one as well came from wanting to be passionate about what you do. Her education background backs up her status as a makeup brand owner as well. “In high school, I loved science and chemistry, which is why I became a chemistry major at Carnegie Mellon. I also took classes in cosmetic formulation just to understand its chemical and biological perspectives,” she reveals. However, it was her love for makeup that fueled the entrepreneurial fire. Starting off with a bright red lipstick and eyeliner, Ananya built her makeup arsenal over time. “I have tried every brand out there and loved to play with products while being updated on new launches in the market,” she boasts. Lucky!
Ananya’s brand launch adopted the less popular approach – focus on one product rather than a whole line of products. Type Beauty Inc tasked a range of concealers to get the brand’s USP out there. “The entire idea of Type Beauty is to give you semi-customised makeup that also functions as skincare. We see more skincare in spot correctors or eye creams. For me, concealers are spot correctors or eye creams because they focus on the targeted area and work well to explain our concept. And that’s why we started with concealers because they conceal the specific concern of the skin and heal it simultaneously,” Ananya explains. The concealers follow the ‘conceal and heal’ philosophy, customised to a specific skin type. They target three specific skin concerns and help manage conditions like acne, skin pigmentation, dark circles, and puffiness. The concealers were designed to give one the full ‘Type experience’ of an inclusive, customised shade range, and remedial beauty.
Setting Precedent For Homegrown Players
“Type Beauty wants to be as inclusive as possible,” confesses Ananya. This makes the extensive, 24-shade range of foundations in their portfolio an organic move. “24 is the most inclusive shade number by any Indian brand thus far, but it was also the maximum we could feasibly do at the time. In the future, we would like to go even more inclusive because we do have some international brands that have 50 shades under their belt. For us, 24 is a great number but I do feel we can (always) do better,” she concludes.
An impressive feat, it took collective creative juices flowing at the offices of Type. The process was kickstarted with a consumer survey to settle on the shade range. The survey didn’t just include complexion talk, but also issues people were facing with their foundation. The internal team got in on the fun as well! “The best part about this curation was everyone in our team would go out and try different shades in different variants so they could find their perfect type. We found that within our office, people wanted different coverages, textures, and shades and that helped us the most in creating this range. If we hadn’t had this internal war of what everybody wants and needs, there is no way we could have been so diverse,” Ananya reveals.
Type’s mastermind also drops a tip for formulators who will come after her, she suggests listening to your team, the people you are talking to, your friends’ groups, etc. “The opinions will be varied, because people have different priorities when it comes to their base products, but working in a group instead of in isolation will always produce the best results,” she adds.
Building A Brand Language That Reflects In The Products
Building a brand from scratch isn’t a simple task and half-hearted efforts show up when talking to the consumers, especially to modern shoppers who can tell the difference between a marketing gimmick and a true passion project. Ananya’s vision for Type Beauty stems from deeply personal experiences. “I have used the best make-up brands including the luxe international ones. Honestly, not all of them are dermatologically tested or skin safe. For me, the idea of remedial beauty came up when I thought about what those (supposedly amazing) products were doing to my skin, she says. Ananya further explains how using makeup would hurt her skin at times. “I would feel my skin getting duller, and lifeless or get a pimple post makeup application,” she adds. She credits her inquisitiveness and knowledge to decode the ingredients which led her to come up with better formulations for everyone to use.
The makeup market today is filled with conversations around safe beauty that doesn’t cause or aggravate skin issues. With that, Type Beauty believes safe makeup can also go a step ahead and be remedial. It can be a part of a skincare routine; especially for people who shy away from makeup because of existing skin concerns.
So how exactly does the brand team settle on the concerns to target for Indian skin tones? It’s a simple step of filling a google sheet linked on the brand Instagram page! “Before we launched, we took a cross-section of people and asked them about their skin concerns. We also researched the Indian market to understand what are the most common skin issues people face. That is how we chose our initial concerns,” reveals Ananya. Their research revealed that most Indian women face hyper-pigmentation, triggered by excessive melanin production, and acne also came out as a major concern, owing to differing weather conditions. This is why the brand developed targeted-action products like the Get Even range and Zit Quit to address these concerns, respectively. “We listen to our consumers and their concerns to provide a viable solution. We want Type Beauty to be for everyone!,” concludes Ananya.
The brand is currently in the process of adding more shades to their already extensive range of foundation. Additionally, Ananya exclusively shares with us that there might be some colour palettes around the corner for the festive season. We cannot wait to see what they do next either!