Oriflame, a Swedish beauty brand, in India. Founded in Sweden in 1967, the brand was conceptualised by two Swedish brothers Jonas and Robert af Jochnick and their friend Bengt Hellsten. Inspired by Scandinavia’s natural beauty, the brothers envisioned a brand that would combine nature and science to deliver high-quality products. Today, Oriflame India is amongst the first direct selling brand to complete 25 years in India, which also contributes significantly to the Indian manufacturing sector and the economy at large. More than 70% of the products sold in India are manufactured locally. Below is an excerpt of the interview with Frederic Widell, VP & Head of South Asia and Managing Director, Oriflame India, and Naveen Anand, Senior Director, Regional Marketing, South Asia, Oriflame.
Q: Please tell us about Oriflame’s inception and journey in India.
Frederic: The founding brothers of Oriflame were eyeing both China and India in the 1990s. While many American companies were entering China, there was no company going to India then, and so the brothers decided to venture into India as the first social selling company. With a portfolio of over 100 products, Oriflame opened its first factory in India in 1996. The business was challenging in India since it is a large and extensive market with various levels to explore. This economic diversity is as challenging as it is exciting for a global brand such as Oriflame. This is why India has been one of our six key strategic world markets. While the business was challenging, we encountered more success than failure. Even as the Indian consumer continues to evolve, we now have a deep understanding of the market and, with the support of our very knowledgeable staff, we have grown magnificently in the country. We have over 500 beauty and wellness products in our portfolio and have empowered millions of individuals with our unique business opportunity.
Q: India’s cosmetics market is projected to grow to $20 billion in the next 5 years. Take us through Oriflame’s adaptability and expansion plan for India.
Frederic: Having established our presence as the leading social selling beauty brand in the country, we have deeply understood the Indian market and the needs of Indian consumers. We are 100% digital and allow our brand partners to create flourishing businesses from the safety of their homes. Currently, we are seeing massive shifts in consumer preferences as more people are inclined towards health and wellness products. Thus, we will look at expansion in terms of the health and wellness category in India. Products that bring about overall health and well-being, boost immunity, and help people look and feel good will be our focus in the next phase of growth. Of course, Oriflame will also continue to introduce beauty products that are inspired by nature and powered by science.
Q: The balance between nature and science has been a part of Oriflame’s product philosophy. Would you say that Oriflame has, therefore, always been ahead of the curve with the rising calls for sustainability in brands?
Naveen: As a Swedish brand, Oriflame believes in a different and unique idea of beauty. Beauty by Sweden is not just about how you look about feeling beautiful and acting beautifully. With this holistic approach towards beauty, Oriflame creates products that are inspired by nature and powered by science. Speaking of sustainability, between 2015 and now, our carbon footprint is down 48%. We have also re-engineered manufacturing to ensure we use 18% less water. Our factory in Roorkee was also LEED Gold certified. The printed product catalogue, which our brand partners rely on for selling, is also printed on paper that comes from certified sources.
Q: Please elaborate on the quality standards of Oriflame.
Naveen: Oriflame believes in caring for the world around us, the brand’s products are inspired by nature and powered by science. All its ingredients undergo a strict eco-ethical screening to ensure they are ethically sourced, safe to use, and of high quality. Oriflame never uses ingredients from endangered sources. The products also conform to strict European standards and are 100% free from GMOs.
Oriflame uses 100% natural-origin exfoliants like almond shells in their scrub products that do not pollute the earth’s oceans. It also chooses to use biodegradable ingredients in its Love Nature rinse-off products and masks to further the cause. Finding inspiration in nature and respecting the environment is key to the brand’s philosophy and this truly gets reflected in its sustainable practices and products.
Q: Where do you see Oriflame in the next 5 years?
Frederic: I see Oriflame moving forward swiftly, adapting to new technologies, reinventing ourselves, both from a product and a business point of view.Naveen: As much as we are present in many towns in India, I see us expanding to even more towns. We are going to touch more lives as we build our business in the future. The pages slugged ‘Brand Connect’ are equivalent to advertisements and are not written and produced by Forbes India journalists.
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