Ahasan Parvez Khundker
Vini Cosmetics for Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar
Vini Cosmetics is best known as the maker of Fogg brand deodorants. Established in 2009, the Indian company in a relatively short span is riding a wave of huge success through its flagship Fogg products. Vini is regarded as the pioneer of the ‘no gas’ concept in the body fragrance market which all other brands have been following in the recent years. Starting with the production of 18+ body spray in 2011, the company now has an extended portfolio comprising different types of cosmetic products. Recently, Ahasan Parvez Khundker, country manager of Vini Cosmetics for Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar, was in Kathmandu for a visit. In an interview with New Business Age, Khundker talked about the presence of Vini in Nepal and plans of the company, among other things. Excerpts:
How is the market of Vini Cosmetics in Nepal?
The products of Vini Cosmetics were first launched in Nepal in 2011. Since then, we have been known here for our flagship Fogg fragrance series. We have 20 to 25 percent of the market share in Nepal. We rule the body spray market and are currently number one in the segment. We are also doing well in other categories. Vini Cosmetics products are available in 64 store keeping units (SKUs), and all of the products are available in Nepal.
How was the start of Vini Cosmetics in Nepal? What were the difficulties in the beginning?
We entered Nepal in 2011 by introducing the premium 18+ deodorant which had a MRP of Rs 400. That time was very challenging for us as a lot of cheaper body sprays were available in the market. To compete with cheaper deodorants during the initial phase was very challenging for us. Normal body sprays were available at Rs 100 to Rs 250 at that time.
Fogg body spray was launched in Nepal in 2012 by our authorised distributor Access Nepal Trade Link. Since then, it has emerged as the top body spray brand. Our partner in Nepal has worked really hard for the success of Vini in Nepal making Fogg the most renowned brand in our portfolio.
What are the USPs of Vini products? What makes Fogg different from other brands?
Our unique selling proposition (USP), ‘No Gas’, has received an encouraging response from the customers. ‘No Gas’ is a pioneer concept of Vini Cosmetics and these days other brands have been following this particular concept. All Vini products are different from other brands in the market. For example, the White Tone powder mixes with the skin to give an instant glow. Currently, there are no other products in the market like the White Tone. We are a consumer-driven company and we know what the consumers want. Our products offer great value for money to the consumers. We work with the slogan ‘Smell Good, Feel Good, and Look Good.’ We have varieties of products in categories of roll-on, body perfumes and deodorants, among others. Similarly, despite being a relatively new brand, Fogg has achieved a tremendous success leading the markets in Nepal, India and Bangladesh and lately in Myanmar. The brand is present in 45 countries of the world. In the Middle East, we are available in 17 countries. Despite the competition, we are the third most popular brand in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
How do you see the present scenario of cosmetics market in Nepal?
Nepal is a high potential market in terms of the purchasing habit of consumers and in terms of buying lifestyle products like perfumes and deodorants. It is very encouraging that despite having a 30 million population, the penetration of perfumes and deodorants is higher in Nepal compared to countries such as Bangladesh and Myanmar.
What do you think are the challenges for cosmetic brands in Nepal?
The illegal import of cosmetic products is the main problem here. Most of such products are very cheap and are of low quality. The products brought through illegal channels have destroyed the authorised sales of many brands. We have also seen copies of our brands in the local market. Such imitations are low in quality and are cheaper compared to the genuine products. The fragrance of such products does not last long and using them can cause skin irritation and allergy.
How is Vini working to make its products more affordable?
Nepal is a big market for cosmetic products. Chinese, Thai, European and American products are also available here. Since there is a lot of option for the consumers, cosmetic brands can only establish themselves by supplying quality products. Meanwhile, the widespread availability has created confusion among the consumers in terms of purchasing of products. Due to this, many low-end brands are also doing well here. Sometimes reducing the price of the products doesn’t translate to the affordability of the brands. Manufacturers won’t be able to maintain the quality of the products if they engage in price-cut wars. Vini Cosmetics wants to be a manufacturer of quality brands rather than a producer of low-quality cheap products.
What are your company’s plans for expansion?
We will work towards establishing a manufacturing unit in Nepal. We have plans to open a plant in Bangladesh next year. We will also be launching more cosmetic products in the Nepali market soon.