Romita Mazumdar worked as a banker, but she was very interested in skincare. The call led her to research the market and find a gap between efficiency and affordability.
In 2021, she decided to bridge that gap with the launch of Mumbai-based D2C skincare brand, Foxtale.
“I worked closely with a make-up brand during my early days as an investment banker in India. I found that the personal care industry appealed to me and understood it much better than any other category. So I did my research and tried to understand the dynamics of the Indian skincare market,” said Founder and CEO Romita. His history.
“The deeper I dived, the more I identified it as my calling and decided to create a brand that understands and meets the needs of Indian skin,” she says.
Romita says she founded Foxtale “as a reaction to my own experience buying skincare products.”
“The Indian skincare market is huge and our fundamental goal was to understand Indian demand and create products that resonate with it. Since my primary interest was in understanding how businesses operate and succeed, I naturally transitioned from investment banker to entrepreneur at Foxtale,” she says.
The skincare brand launched in December 2021 with four commonly used staple products: cleanser, vitamin C serum, moisturizer and sunscreen.
After “perfecting this four-step routine,” the startup is now ready to launch more targeted solutions for specific skin concerns.
“We will make personal care accessible to everyone and affordable prices are one of the many ways to achieve this. At the same time, we made sure not to compromise on quality for the sake of profitability. We thrive on our manufacturing technology and R&D team,” she says.
The startup sources ingredients from labs around the world to create quality products at competitive prices. “Our manufacturing infrastructure, coupled with smart and efficient formulations, helps us do just that.”
The Foxtale product range is available across India through its website. The products are also available on Amazon, Flipkart, and Meesho, and the startup is seeing increased demand for its products in metros compared to Tier II cities.
Romita earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from UCLA and worked as an investment banker at Bank of America. Her career started in tech investment banking and she used to watch startups like Airbnb, Pinterest, Fashion Nova, etc.
In 2019, she moved to India because Bank of America was expanding its tech banking vertical in India.
“It was then that I worked closely with a makeup and personal care brand. I went from a banker to an entrepreneur focused on a skincare brand tailored to Indian skin sensitivities,” explains- she.
Foxtale, which started with four team members, is currently a 25-member team and plans to expand to 40 by the end of the year.
Romita believes foreign beauty standards have had a significant impact on us for generations, making it difficult to select the best products for Indian skin types.
“We needed to find the best combination of ingredients to suit the over 200 skin types in our country. We believe in three principles, simplicity, efficiency and safety, and our products are made with our customers in mind,” she says.
The founder believes that their products help address a variety of skin issues faced by Indian women and women of color in general.
“Foxtale is synonymous with efficiency. We also wanted our packaging and branding to look as natural as possible and connect in a fun, attractive and functional way,” adds Romita.
The D2C startup has its own R&D laboratory and all product formulation is done in-house. The brand claims to be the first in India to pioneer and master the concept of lab-approved tester sampling. All products have gone through FDA and clinical trials, and are paraben, sulfate and cruelty free, and dermatosis tested.
“We started by chatting with our target audience and refined our product line through participatory feedback. Our USP listens to our consumers and provides them with the products they really need. Through our lab trials, we’ve reached over 250 women trying our products and over 1,000 people signing up to be part of the movement in the future,” says Romita.
The path to follow
According to a RedSeer report, the beauty and personal care industry was valued at $16 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow 12% annually to reach $28 billion by 2025.
“There is competition, and it’s difficult with so many brands. But not all brands are our competitors. Foxtale emphasizes product experiences and sampling through various touchpoints. The experience and efficiency of our products set us apart; our users realize this after a few tries,” says Romita.
The Indian D2C market is booming and Foxtale is competing with Nykaa, Purplle, Plum, WOW Skin Science, Mamaearth, SUGAR Cosmetics and MyGlamm (The Good Glamm Group).
The startup raised seed capital of Rs 5.5 crore ahead of its market launch from investors including CRED founder Kunal Shah, Kae Capital and Rohit MA, co-founder of Cloudnine Group of Hospitals. It also recently secured $4 million in a pre-Series A investment round led by Matrix Partners India, with participation from existing investor Kae Capital and several top angel investors.
“We increased our round in August 2021 and launched products in December 2021. There was an early adjustment in the product market, with a repeat rate of over 50%, which led to rapid investment in pre-Series A. This round of funding will be used to expand the product line, recruit top vertical leaders, and scale the business across multiple touchpoints,” says Romita.
Foxtale, which declined to disclose sales details, expects to reach one million Indian women in its first year of operation.