sephora Fashion

Sephora India finally gives Hyderabad a makeover

Sephora India, COO, Vivek Bali talks about India’s beauty industry at a pre-launch meet with The Hindu at Sephora in Forum Sujana Mall in Kukatpally in Hyderabad on Friday.   | Photo Credit: G Ramakrishna

Browse either Instagram or YouTube — or both if you’re into the Internet that much — and you’ll be met with the wildest of make-up looks and the most exhaustive of skincare regimens. Do you see how much our world is mediated by the beauty industry? Disruptive to the core, beauty is one of the cultures which has had natural pull across all communities and minorities with natural progression.

This year, Sephora as a global entity will be 50 years old, its genesis having been in Paris. Funnily enough, its name is a melding of Zipporah, the wife of Moses, and the Greek word sephos or ‘pretty.’

Sephora India finally gives Hyderabad a makeover

Four years ago, Sephora India came into being and it was like every make-up artist and beauty influencer in the country found their paradise. But that changed quickly. For the longest time, Quora forums and Twitter were inundated with questions of ‘how do I order Sephora stuff?’and ‘what’s the best way to get them and not worry about bootleg products?’ These questions were from the curious and the novices. The store is finally glowing up and opening its doors at Forum Sujana Mall in Kukatpally on Saturday evening, with another store at Sarath City Capital Mall in Kondapur coming soon.

At a pre-launch meet with Sephora India COO Vivek Bali at Forum Sujana Mall store, we’re surrounded by excited Sephora staff who are either taking inventory, stocking shelves, adjusting lighting or levelling out shelves. At the time of my chat with Vivek, the store is still barricaded off from curious eyes who have long been spending their flight miles, heading to Mumbai or Chennai for their beauty purchases.

Evolution and revolution

Over the past few years, the country’s beauty IQ has certainly evolved. But it was more than that; the growing consciousness about self-presentation was given a very different all-in-one destination. Vivek agrees, “10 years ago, a lot of women and men were only using beauty and skincare at a certain age. But now that starting point is so different. See, the longest trend we’ve seen in India is a greater emphasis on lips and nails. The first interest in cosmetics for many started with these two products. But what Sephora has done is introduce the face and eyes to the frontline. In skincare, men and women are going by the CTSM (cleanse, tone, serum, moisturise) technique, and it’s very natural.” The emboldened use of these products is clearly indicative of the upwards of $8 billion value of the industry itself.

Sephora India finally gives Hyderabad a makeover

Vivek, who’s been in the beauty industry for over 20 years, shares that the DNA of the store is also their staff. Ultimately, how you invest in these products is a reflection of the in-store interaction you may have had. And that’s what make-up and skincare does, inexorably; it unites people. Additionally, with the growing consciousness, it won’t just be the store staff teaching customers how to use a certain product, there will be a real convergence in conversation as well.

What’s remarkable is, with the progression of beauty discourse, dies the intimidation to have a conversation about skincare and beauty. It’s finally no longer faux pas for a man to indulge in a little metrosexuality or full-on-glam without their sexuality questioned. This is thanks to digital media such as YouTube channels of those of Patrick Starr and James Charles who’ve been pulling off eyeliner towards which many of us strive.

Sephora India finally gives Hyderabad a makeover

Scared of the potential price tags? Some see beauty and skincare as an investment while others look for great deals; and Vivek insists Sephora offers both with some products costing as little as ₹100 and others as much as ₹25,000 — there’s something for everyone.

While not exactly a vast store, design elements unique to Sephora have been implemented to ensure a thoughtful flow of shoppers’ movements through the store — linger as much as you want, but some shoppers are all about efficiency! There are allocated sections for premium and luxury skincare, perfumes, make-up brands, travel-sized and more. Vivek, who wants customers to have tangible in-store experiences, points out the Beauty Studio set up in the store as a centrepiece. This offers 15-minute makeovers with pre-set looks which can be adjusted as per skin tone, type and even gender.

Trendy and happy

So let’s talk product; it doesn’t make sense not to.

As per exclusive launches, there’s Ouai Haircare by Jen Atkin who’s best known for creating some of the most relatable hairstyles on the heads of almost every Kardashian. From the Hair And Body Shine Mist infused with diamond powder to the Rose Hair And Body Oil, Ouai is one of the pioneers in the ever-lasting glow-not-glitter movement.

Khloé Kardashian in a campaign for Becca Cosmetics BFFs Collection

Khloé Kardashian in a campaign for Becca Cosmetics BFFs Collection  

Speaking of Kardashians, Becca Cosmetics’ BFFs collaboration with Khloé and Mallika — to the horror of many — won’t be available here... yet. According to the team, they should be available in the next quarter. But that’s not all for which Becca is known; their highlighters and foundations have been accoladed by the upper echelons of the make-up industry.

Back to basics, skincare from South East Asia and Australia have their own nests in Sephora: Klara Cosmetics, Olive and more. Sephora India also houses luxury Forest Essentials. What’s the future for Indian-made entities in the company’s clearly strict curation? Vivek replies, “We have so many Ayurvedic brands in the country; what Forest Essentials has done is bring in that luxury touch.”

Forest Essentials’ Soundarya Radiance Cream with 24 kt gold

Forest Essentials’ Soundarya Radiance Cream with 24 kt gold  

Pretty soon, you’ll be seeing the city’s hoppers sporting the trademark black-and-white striped bags which are synonymous with the beauty curation giant. Are you going to be one of them?

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 1:03:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fashion/sephora-india-comes-to-hyderabad-to-open-its-19th-store/article26290809.ece

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