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Purplle Success Story - India's No 1 Beauty Destination

Company Profile is an initiative by ListMyStartUp to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Purplle.

Starting from clothes to medicines, everything is within our reach with just a few clicks now in the digital era that we are living in. The same goes for skincare and haircare products, cosmetics, and fragrances.

The skincare, haircare, cosmetics, beauty products, and the markets for all of them are growing at breakneck speeds. Thus, more and more companies are taking a dive into the beauty industry with their unique offerings. Purplle is one such example of an e-commerce beauty brand that is growing in its unique rapidly rising to compete with the bigger players in the industry.

Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, Purplle is an Indian multi-brand beauty retailer selling cosmetic and wellness products.

With the help of its online store and an ever-growing list of cosmetics, fragrances, skin, and hair care products, Purplle is fast becoming a favorite. It gives an online space to beauty and wellness needs that showcase beauty brands and products. Purplle aims to take the shopping experience to a different level. The Nykaa competitor is already a unicorn, joining the prestigious club of unicorn companies on June 9, 2022.

Here we bring you the success story of Purplle, where you can learn about the Brand, Founder and History, Mission, Vision, Team, Business Model, Competitors, Challenges, Future Plans, and more.

Purplle - Company Highlights

  • Startup Name-Purplle.com
  • Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Industry -Online shopping, Cosmetics
  • Founded -2011
  • Founders-Manish Taneja and Rahul Dash
  • CEO-Manish Taneja
  • Area Served-India
  • Valued at-$1.1 billion (June 2022)
  • Revenue-$16.97 mn (Rs 128.2 crore in FY21)
  • Funding Raised-$294 mn (June 2022)
  • Website-www.purplle.com

Purplle - About and How it Works?

Purplle is an operator of an online beauty shopping store created to buy skincare products based on people's hair and skin type and other personal choices.

It is an online portal with a large collection of cosmetics, skincare, haircare & fragrances. It showcases some of the best products from the leading brands in the world at the best prices. Purplle cosmetics aims to take the users' shopping experience to a completely different level by enabling the consumers to have a personalized shopping experience taking skin and hair type into account. They also have a brilliant customer service department that can be accessed via their customer care number.

Purplle.com has a large assortment of products across over 650 brands with 50,000+ SKUs and 300+ beauty-specific sellers. Purplle provides all warehousing and logistics services to sellers to ensure that the quality of products and the delivery of them are well-maintained.

Besides, Purplle also has a tie-up with over 6,000 salons with detailed pricing information on the platform for customers to make a choice for the right service.

There are three major categories around which Purplle has built its website. The first is the Beauty Product Marketplace, where products catering to make-up, skincare, haircare, etc., are listed. The second is the Salon Booking Marketplace, where they list and accept bookings for salons and spas near you. The third is Purplle Salons, which is their chain of Premium Economy Salons, through which they aim to create a great salon experience for customers.

Purplle - Industry

India has seen quite a growth in the personal care and cosmetics space. This can be pointed out due to the improved quality of life in India to the point that the estimated growth of the sector was 9.7% between 2018-2023, before the pandemic. However, this growth has certainly been slowed since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.

It was noticed that growth happened at a rate of 2.3% between 2019-2020, which helped the industry achieve a market value of a little over $15 billion in December 2020. The forecast for growth was 2020-2021 is 1.7%. However, it is deemed to improve from 2022 onwards, when the revenues are expected to increase by +2.8%.

Purplle - Founders and Team

Purplle is founded by Manish Taneja (Co-founder and CEO), Rahul Dash (Co-founder and COO), and Suyash Katyayani (Co-founder and CTO), in 2012.

Founders of Purplle

Co-Founders of Purplle - Manish Taneja and Rahul Dash (Left to right)

Manish Taneja

Manish is an IIT Delhi alumni, who completed his Bachelor's and Masters in Electrical Engineering from Delhi IIT. Taneja then went to the CFA Institute, where he completed Level 3, Finance. The Co-founder and CEO of Purplle started as an Intern at Ittiam Systems. He then worked as an Analyst at Lehman Brothers; an Analyst and Associate at Avendus Capital, and eventually as an Analyst - Private Equity at Fidelity Growth Partners India. Manish Taneja finally decided to found his own beauty firm, Purplle. Manish Taneja was a second-time entrepreneur when he started Purplle.

Rahul Dash

Rahul Dash is the Co-founder and COO of Purplle, who previously worked as a Senior Manager - Strategy and Business Development at the Tata Power Company. Furthermore, he was also appointed as a TAS Manager at Tata Chemicals Ltd after serving as a TAS Manager at Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. and Tata Motors. Rahul was a Mechanical Engineering student at IIT KGP, who completed his Bachelor's degree from Kharagpur IIT. Dash then went on to obtain a PGDM in General Management from IIM Ahmedabad.

Suyash Katyayani 

Suyash Katyayani is known as the Co-founder cum CTO of the brand. Katyayani had been a student of DPS Bhilai and is also an alumnus of Kharagpur IIT, from where he completed his BTech. in Chemical Engineering. Suyash had earlier co-founded VidyaCenter, which makes Purplle his second attempt at entrepreneurship. Katyayani started his career as a Software Engineer at OnMobile.  

Pooja Acharya holds another key designation of Purplle, who works as the Chief Beauty Officer of the company.

Purplle - Startup Story

The foundation of the Purplle cosmetics brand can be described as a pure business call to enter the beauty segment. The beauty, personal care, and cosmetics sector isn't something that leaves much room for customization in contrast to the furniture and home decor space. On the other hand, when it comes to getting electronics, footwear, furniture, and apparel online, most of the customers already have a certain comfort level with the horizontal marketplaces and mostly tend to land on eCommerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart.

The founding trio was all set to establish a business but debated a while between furniture and fashion. However, while furniture needed a comparatively higher initial investment, fashion was a segment, which had players like Myntra and Jabong who had a great, early start, and were emerging to be quite competent. This was how Purplle started.

Purplle was initially started with Rs 40 lakhs of savings, which resulted in Rs 45, 000 of sales in the first month from the friends and families. However, this helped them gain momentum, which resulted in 30% Month-on-Month growth after the first month. Purplle tried to figure out ways to scale the business and increase its sales till 2015. The year 2016 was even more crucial to them, which they dodged anyway, but this made them realise they had to do something new as 5 years have already passed. When they felt the need for change, the founders had only 50 lakhs in their bank accounts, in 2017.

Though the new move, which needed to plan the business plan anew and big decisions needed to be taken, involved numerous risks too, the founding team was confident then. Their biggest strength came from their data stack. This data that they have accumulated all this while, spanned across numerous categories and helped them understand the consumer behaviour, which turned into their USP.

Purplle now decided to be omnipresent, and this led to Purplle opening their first physical retail store at Phoenix Market City Kurla, Mumbai in January 2017. Purplle clicked here because while other offline beauty brands with physical stores cannot store many products and they tend to stock them randomly, Purplle stocked products after analysing the consumer behaviours, thereby customising their stocks according to them. Besides, Purplle used an efficient and quick technology, and also used to ask numerous questions to the buyers about their skin tone and problems.

Purplle then started to make good profits again, and their gross margins was also good. The company then added salon booking services to their offerings, but their products remained central to the business. According to the latest FY21 updates, Purplle is seeing 80% Y-o-Y growth.

The company retails products for skincare, make-up, haircare, body care, and beauty appliances from across more than 600 Indian and international brands. It showcases some of the best products from the leading brands in the world. Purplle aims to raise the bars of the users' shopping experience.

Purplle - Mission and Vision

Purplle's mission statement says, "Purplle gives an online space to your beauty and wellness needs. We showcase some of the best products from the leading brands in the world. It aims to take your shopping experience to a completely different level. We know shopping infuses an incomparable high."

The vision of the company is to grow as one of the most popular brands in the cosmetics and beauty industry as an online retailer.

Purplle - Business Model

The Purplle brand of cosmetics started its journey as a D2C beauty products retailer brandishing its eCommerce website and app in 2011. The company, much like other market leaders including Flipkart, Amazon, Nykaa, etc., has also forayed into the private label space. Purplle entered the private label space by subsuming the in-house brand StayQuirky, which was launched in 2015.

Purplle - Revenue Model

Purplle is a beauty and cosmetics D2C eCommerce brand that derives its revenues mainly from product commissions and marketplace fees. Furthermore, a major chunk of its revenues also come from the advertisements on its app as well as on the website.

Purplle - Growth and Revenue

The last two years have been really good for Purplle except for the days of the pandemic, where things really looked haywire but that was for a few months. Purplle is currently growing at around 80% y-o-y, as updated in October 2021.

"We are right now at Rs 100 crore of monthly gross merchandise value (GMV) and this is an all-time high", remarked Taneja.

The company further revealed that it has scaled its annualized gross merchandising volume to $180 mn in FY22.

Some more growth highlights of the company are:

The net sales of Purplle clock around Rs 65 crore a month.

Purplle has 7 million monthly active users who sell 60,000+ products from more than 1,000 brands on its website and app.

The company has witnessed around 90% growth year-on-year.

The Purplle operating revenue grew from Rs 91.4 cr in FY20 to Rs 128.2 cr during FY21. Though the company revenue grew by 40.2%, Purplle has failed to improve its EBITDA margins during FY21, which worsened from -19.80% to become -31.37%. The annual losses of the company also increased by 114% from Rs 24.4 cr to be Rs 52.2 cr in FY21.

Purplle - ESOPs

Purplle expanded its ESOP pool size, making it worth $40 mn, as of May 13, 2022. The Purplle board has passed the resolution for the expanse of its existing ESOP pool to include 6,806 ESOP options, where each option will be converted into equity shares, as per the regulatory filings of the company with the Registrar of Companies. With this expansion of the Purplle ESOP pool, the company joins the list of other Indian companies including Pine Labs, Ather Energy, Ecom Express, Ninjacart, LEAP, and more.  

Purplle - Acquisitions

Purplle acquired FACES CANADA on December 18, 2021. This is the first major acquisition of the Mumbai-based beauty products marketplace. After the acquisition, the latter is to operate independently and expand its portfolio.

Purplle - Competitors

The top competitors of Purplle today are:

  • Nykaa
  • MyGlamm
  • Myntra
  • Scentials
  • NewU
  • Lusso Liv
  • SUGAR Cosmetics
  • Make Up Shades

Purplle - Challenges Faced

Speaking on the days when Purplle was started, Manish recalled that in 2011 there were only a few brands that targeted the online space for the cosmetics and beauty products in the country. Beauty stores were quite less than it is now, and B2B transactions were done only by the salons. The co-founders claimed that they started their company, Purplle with about Rs 40 lakhs from their personal savings.

Purplle has seen its fair share of successes and failures since its inception. Manish Taneja and his co-founder, Rahul Dash, along with CTO Suyash Katyanani, however, believed in only one philosophy which is:

“Customers have to be the centre point of the conversation and sale. And the aim of a beauty ecommerce portal should be to provide solutions for their needs. A hard sell based on discounts is a big no."

Purplle - Future Plans

Purplle hopes that social media will influence India’s middle-class to get more into beauty products, along with the increase of the purchasing power of millennials. The company further says that with AI in the market, it won’t be long before e-commerce platforms became significant sources of people’s cosmetic products.

"We want to focus on Purplle Salon for bringing the best salon experience to our customers. Our next step would be to bring international brands to India and introduce our own brands in the market." said the CEO and co-founder of Purplle, Manish Taneja.

FAQs

Is Purplle an Indian company?

Yes, Purplle is an Indian company.

What is Purplle?

Purplle is an online store that sells cosmetics, fragrances, skin, and haircare products.

Who is the CEO of Purplle?

Manish Taneja is the current CEO of Purplle.

Are products on Purplle genuine?

Purplle claims that it has products, which are 100% genuine.

Who founded Purplle cosmetics?

Purplle is founded by Manish Taneja and Rahul Dash.

Is Purplle a unicorn Indian company?

Yes, Purplle has turned into a unicorn Indian company by raising $33 mn via its extended Series D round that came in on June 9, 2022.