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NEW DELHI : Skincare and beauty brand Kama Ayurveda is looking to expand outside India and plans to start with the UK as a “test market" in 2023, co-founder and chief executive Vivek Sahni said. Later, it will look to expand to other locations in Europe and the US.

Within India, Kama Ayurveda Pvt. Ltd will add 10 stores this fiscal year to its existing 57. These include the one in Gwalior that opened earlier this week; one each in Bareilly, Thiruvanathapuram, Ranchi, Siliguri, Jodhpur, and two in Goa. The company also works on a shop-in-shop model and has 70 such outlets with retailers like Shoppers Stop. It shut down eight stores during the pandemic in cities like Raipur and Amritsar where the outlets were present at airports.

In 2019, Spanish perfume maker Puig, known for brands such as Prada and Paco Rabanne, invested 100 crore in Kama for a minority stake. “The reason we partnered with them—they are a strategic partner too—was that we could take the brand abroad. Of course, then the pandemic hit. But now that things are coming back, we have a timeline that by spring next year, we will have opened our first store in the UK. This will be a standalone store and it will also have an online sales platform," Sahni said.

The company has also received funding of an undisclosed amount from Lighthouse. In July 2021, it started production at its two-acre pharma-grade factory in Coimbatore.

Sahni said net sales in FY22 were 135 crore and that the business had fully recovered from the setback of the pandemic. Business was up 15% from FY21, he said. The company is now two decades old. “We started with 10-12 products but grew at 55% from 2015-2019 when we started to expand our product range. Today, we have about 112 SKUs or products in our stores," he said.

According to Union minister of Ayush Shripad Yesso Naik, the market for ayurvedic products stood at about $2.5 billion in 2015 and was to reach $8 billion by 2022. According to a ResearchAndMarkets.com, the Indian Ayurvedic products market reached a value of 515.5 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach 1,536.9 billion by 2027, at a compound annual growth rate of 19.78% till 2027.

Sahni said almost 85% of its entire covid sales came from the online business, which has now reduced to 35-40%.

Out of this, half is from its own website and the other half is from aggregators like Nykaa. Last year, its competitor, Estée Lauder-backed luxury Ayurveda skincare brand Forest Essentials said it was looking to expand its footprint rapidly to its first international market, the UK, in the next three years.

 

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