NEW DELHI, India — Call it a homecoming, if you like: India is the first stop in the international rollout of Anomaly, the hair care brand by actress, producer, activist and author Priyanka Chopra Jonas. Launched last week in an exclusive tie-up with India’s biggest beauty retailer, Nykaa, the brand has been creating a ripple in the country’s $16 billion beauty market.
In addition to the fact that the actress said she has grown up on hair care that included oiling and hair brushing, and her consideration of the home market as important, there is the fast-changing Indian consumer to consider.
“I think the Indian consumers are at a very interesting point and that makes it even more exciting,” Chopra Jonas told WWD. “I feel like in the last few years platforms like Nykaa have also democratized access to beauty and personal care and it is a really interesting market where women are trying different products and men are also equally interested in personal care.
“The Indian consumer is very conscious about their environment — they want to try out everything and use what is best for them. That’s what makes it so interesting to play in a market like this and provide a brand like Anomaly, which has superior formulas, is good for the environment and has taken away everything that is bad for the hair — sulphates, parabens, mineral oil — and put in ingredients from around the world that are predominantly natural,” she added.
Nykaa, which began as a beauty e-commerce player in 2012, has a strong digital retail footprint in India along with more than 120 physical stores and 3.1 million stock keeping units from more than 4,078 brands.
“Really we feel it is Anomaly’s homecoming to India; Priyanka is much loved by millions of people in this country, Nykaa is much loved by millions in this country and the synergy of the two is going to be fantastic,” Anchit Nayar, chief executive officer of e-commerce beauty at Nykaa said, adding that it was a simultaneous launch in the physical stores and e-commerce, and would be expanded over the coming months.
“We are not only the retailer here, but we are also the importer and distributor of Anomaly. We launched first on Nykaa because it is the most relevant platform given the kind of consumers that we have, but over time we will take this into more extensive physical distribution in our stores and also third-party stores. Because the reality is that this brand belongs across the length and breadth of our country,” he said.
Starting at 750 rupees, or $9.38, the pricing is key to a masstige segment.
“It is very difficult to keep the same price parity with the U.S. because of all the additional costs [in duties] that we will have to bear. But we will try to keep it as close to the U.S. pricing as we possibly can. So it is incredibly affordable, it is aspirational and still not out of reach,” said Nayar. “I think it is a perfect sweet spot for Priyanka, and for Nykaa. We always say that beauty is an aspirational category, it cannot be out of reach, and this brand nails that from a price point of view.”
Both sides appear to be clear on the synergies.
“I think what is really exciting for us is that here you have got a strong female celebrity who is making the transition into becoming an entrepreneur in her own right. And if you look at the history of Nykaa, the company is also founded by a woman who made a career change at the age of 50 and moved from finance into beauty [Falguni Nayar]. We see a lot of similarities between what Priyanka is doing and what we did,” Nayar observed.
“It also goes back to Nykaa wanting to support strong women founders with incredibly unique brands. We have a track record: first it was Huda, which we launched in India. Then we launched Charlotte Tilbury. Then came Katrina Kaif [with Kay beauty]. Now you have Priyanka and Anomaly. There are a lot of common values with Nykaa and these brands. I think they see it as a trusted partner who can do justice to their brand, [that] is what is unique about us,” he said.
Other synergies are finding the market niche, and filling in the market gaps.
“I’ve slowly got interested in the business side of entertainment. I was 18 years old when I got into entertainment, and over the years that has led to the interest of diversifying as much as possible. So, I wrote a book and I started investing in nascent companies and brands using my platform to bring attention to them and seeing their growth. That led to founding my own brand that would cater to the gap in the market, which was exactly what led to Anomaly and its unique positioning,” Chopra Jonas said.
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This includes clean formulas that contain no SLS/SLES sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, or dyes and are vegan and cruelty-free. Anomaly’s bottles feature a thin wall plastic made from 100 percent plastic trash using material diverted from landfills and ocean bound plastic, which can also be recycled after use.
As far as diversification in skin care or makeup, she is clear that the brand will stay focused: “Anamoly is going to be hair care — and hair care only. We do want to expand in terms of how many products we have. For example, this year we expanded into scalp care. We plan to keep expanding the skus of the brand,” she said.
Will Anomaly manufacture in India? “Yes, eventually buy no definite plans yet,” she said.
“We started our brand with a one-year exclusive with Target and now we have moved to Walmart, CVS and Kroger and that is a clear indication of the fact that the brand is doing really good and we are expanding…” Chopra Jonas said, talking about the U.S., and the global way forward, with India as the first stop of various global launches.
“At least that is the ambition,” she said, adding, “I’m a highly ambitious woman and my ambition is for it to travel around the world. I am very excited about Anomaly’s travel to India and I will be very involved and traveling to India myself.”