Success Story Of Plum: Veganising The Cosmetic Sector Of India


In this post-COVID era, people have become more vigilant about their healthcare benefits. It is no longer something that is advised for middle-aged people who are looking to secure their children’s future. Adaptation of a healthy lifestyle has now become a need of the time for everyone. And plant-based items are the biggest instigators when it comes to promoting a healthy lifestyle. Many people are now switching to veganism in order to be more fit and active. If all our habits are changing, why can’t our daily-use skincare products? Keeping this in mind, Shankar Prasad launched India’s first vegan, cruelty-free and toxin-free cosmetic brand – Plum. Let’s  delve deeper into the success story of this amazing startup. 

How did it begin

After spending 13 years as a professional in several prestigious brands, Shankar Prasad decided to become a businessman and so, he took the plunge to start his own venture. The IIT Bombay alumnus worked for eight years at Hindustan Unilever in the manufacturing and product development department. He also pursued MBA from ISB, Hyderabad and attained the much-envied gold medal. After completing his MBA, Shankar joined the FMCG and financial services clients and became a management consultant for two years. 

During his stint with those companies, Shankar was also a part of the founding team for FACES Cosmetics in India. When Prasad used to travel abroad for official purposes, he enjoyed researching the wide variety of consumer brands available there. And that’s how he realized that India’s beauty market was missing transparency. In order to bridge this gap, Shankar Prasad came up with an idea of a 100% vegan beauty brand which combines science and sustainability. 

For him, this venture was an amalgamation of his values, his knowledge as an engineer, and his overall experience from working in the personal care space. The brand was created in a London design studio with most of its products designed in Europe. In 2013, Prasad launched Plum as India’s first vegan beauty company. 

Obstacles In The Road

A journey to success is incomplete without some obstacles in the road. Plum founders too dealt with several hiccups while establishing a vegan cosmetic brand in the Indian beauty sector. In the beginning, managing smaller production volumes was a big struggle for them until they reached a much larger scale. The company has always been conscious about the ecological footprint of its business. The startup uses only recyclable packaging, avoiding the use of PVC (Polyvinyl chloride). Although, it is difficult to say if Indian customers are actively seeking such lifestyle, they understand and are willing to be part of it.

Success of Plum

Despite not having raised external funding, Plum became profitable in 2016. All thanks to their unique business model and smart marketing strategy of using word of mouth, social media, and product innovation to gain traction. Plum founders wanted to make their clients feel good about their skin. They made such products which take care of people’s skin with just the best that nature has to offer. Its offerings include skincare, cosmetics, body care, and bath needs. Plum’s products are completely free of harsh chemical substances and adhere to strict global norms. As a member of the global non-profit “One Percent for the Planet,” the business donates 1% of its sales to environmental causes. 

Now, if we talk about the success, Plum’s biggest achievement so far is being able to stay in the business while sticking to its core values of not promoting chemical-based products.

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