Creating a Vegan Beauty Care Culture in Sri Lanka
Updated: Mar 26
Today on BusinessLoungeLK’s journey to bring you the voices of industry leaders and up-and-coming business professionals, we are honoured to be in discussion with Ms. Kausha Madhumali, the founder of Summer Luv Skin.
1. Who is Kausha? How would you describe yourself?
I’m Kausha Madhumali, I work for a Japanese multinational company for international projects whilst also studying for my master’s degree at Tokyo International University which specialises in digital business innovation. However, on top of that I am also the owner of my own company called Summer Luv Skin.
2. When it comes to entrepreneurship whilst also working, what are some of the difficulties that you have had to overcome?
The most difficult thing for me is time management. Allocating time for office work as well as finding time to complete my assignments and sitting exams for my university was something I found to be challenging. However, I try my best to manage it all. Whenever I want to do something, I always start off by making a schedule and I plan my schedule for the week, and this helps me manage my time wisely.
3. How did Summer Luv Skin begin?
Summer Luv Skin began based on my own experience with skincare. When I was in my early twenties there was a huge hormone imbalance in my body and that resulted in my face suffering damage from scars and acne.
That was a very difficult time for me because whilst I was busy battling these issues, my early twenties were slowly slipping out of my hands. I had gone to many dermatologists at the time, and I tried a lot of natural remedies as well, but nothing seemed to be working for me.
That’s when I discovered a brand called Alya Skin. First, I tried their pink clay mask and I started to notice a huge difference in my face, so that encouraged me to try some of their other products as well. After about a month I saw an amazing difference in my face and my acne was completely gone.
That’s when I discovered that I need to bring this product to Sri Lanka (as it wasn’t available here at the time) and distribute it amongst Sri Lankans.
The product is also cruelty free and vegan. Cruelty free skincare is generally healthier and less toxic for the skin, and they are not tested on animals which means that animals are not harmed in the process of making the product. It’s important that we consume cruelty free products because we are actively protecting animal rights as well.
4. Cruelty free beauty: How is the concept picking up worldwide?
This concept is going viral in Europe. In Europe if people are buying products they always check if those products are cruelty free, and this doesn’t just apply to skincare products, but it applies to make up items as well.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case here in Asia. In my experience, I have even had to describe what the term cruelty free means to some Sri Lankans because they don’t know what the concept entails. In Asia not many of the products are cruelty free, but things are slowly picking up here as well. For example, in Sri Lanka there are some brands who are starting to adopt the label of cruelty free products which is a good trend to see.
5. Did you see a change in behaviour for cosmetics usage in Sri Lanka as a direct result of the pandemic?
There was a lot of change. The main change came in the form of marketing as social media was used heavily to promote skincare and beauty brands.
On the consumers side, people have purchased more beauty and skincare products during the pandemic. When I was doing my university research, I found out that there was a lot of statistics which proved that many people have used more skincare items during the pandemic.
6. How popular is veganism in Sri Lanka and what has the response been to vegan beauty care?
In terms of eating habits, that is very popular here in Sri Lanka, but in terms of skincare it isn’t as popular. None of my customers ask me specifically whether the products are vegan. Sri Lankans are still focusing on buying popular beauty products as opposed to vegan beauty products.
However, I think that will change day by day as people gain awareness about vegan beauty products.
7. We see that a lot of these beauty products are based in foreign markets. Are Sri Lankan cosmetic makers behind the innovation curve in that sense?
No, I don’t think that innovation is the problem. I think that Sri Lankan products are ready-made products with very good quality, and they have proven results. The main issue I see is marketing.
Europeans and other foreigners use many smart ways to market their products. Even if their product quality is low, they still make use of a huge marketing campaign to gain consumer attraction.
For example, I used to work for an export company, and I used to be in charge of sending a popular brand’s product overseas to Australia and Europe. These products were really good quality in terms of its smell and results, but their branding (such as their packaging) wasn’t as striking. So, the product wasn’t behind in quality, but it was behind in terms of marketing.
8. Do you have any words of advice for Sri Lankan professionals who plan on starting their own venture while working?
The first thing I would say is that you can do it. Plan yourself and choose the field that you want to be involved in and don’t be influenced by what others are doing. There might be a particular field that you are interested in, and you can find it within yourself.
It’s also important to do your research on the industry. Do research about the products, search for global trends, and make sure to read many things about the industry. Even if it takes two years, that’s not a problem as it’s important to understand your industry and invest your money wisely.
There will be many obstacles, for example when I started my business, I failed three times, but still, I am here. So, no matter how many obstacles come your way, learn from them, and don’t give up.
- Follow Summer Luv Skin on Instagram with the Instagram handle summerluvskin
or check out their website at www.summerluvskin.com
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