Authentic, No-Fuss Indian Girl Friendly Makeup

Sonali Kuruvilla and Preneetha Balachander have launched a fresh approach to cosmetics through Sommer Beauty. In a segment crowded with brands jostling for space and attention, they’ve introduced a fuss-free range especially curated for Indian skin tones. Just 8 months since its release, the brand is already garnering spots in reputed retail outlets. But the founders have never had any experience in the area of beauty or cosmetics ever, before they started this venture. In fact, Sonali was working as a PR professional for 6 odd years and Preneetha had studied fashion. The shift happened due to the Covid lockdown. We at GoTN have come to recognise those years of lockdown as a period of churn, that has thrown up many new ventures. Some have faded away but some like Sommer Beauty are just beginning to bloom

Sonali Kuruvilla, Co-Founder | Preneetha Balachander, Co-founder

Mad about makeup

“Growing up, I was one of those enthusiastic kids who was always wanting to do makeup for my sisters. I would watch these videos all the time. There was an obsession to do something with makeup but I wasn’t sure what,” says Sonali. She went on to finish college and joined a publicity firm where she worked until the lockdown brought things to a halt. “I started working quietly on my idea for a new product range. That’s when I called Preneetha, who I went to college with. I asked her if she’d like to work with me on this and that’s how things started,” she shares. With a Masters in Fashion Management, Preneetha was working with handlooms and weavers when she got this call from Sonali. “I had always been interested in starting a business of my own and I was also interested in branding. So I agreed to get into it full time!” she says

Ready in minutes
Ready in minutes

On a mission

So with no knowledge of the industry, Sonali and Preneetha started to learn and experiment. “It is a crowded, cluttered market. There were a million products to try and the makeup routines being shown were so elaborate. It affirmed our belief that we needed to create products thad simplified makeup! It need not be so hectic, complicated and overwhelming,” states Sonali. “But the product had to work for those who wanted the glam look as well as those who were used to the no-makeup, makeup look. We were on a mission to create an inclusive brand that will help people feel true to themselves. So we went about designing the product, reaching out to formulators who could understand our brief and deliver it,” she adds. Find a good

Shades to suit Indian skintones – Tropic, Palm and Sunset

Creating the product

Finding a good lab came with its own challenges. As two young girls starting off with no experience in the field, it took them sometime to find the right outfits that took them seriously. Many did not even bother to get back to them. They were fortunate to find a lab within India to work on their product finally. “We spent two years working on the formulation to create a multipurpose product that one could use on eyes, cheeks and lips. Though there are many products out there that are multi purpose they come in very different formats,” explains Preneetha. “Some are watery and leave a tint behind. Others come in pots as a waxy formula. But none of the products we tried multitask while giving a soft matt finish. And that is what we were working towards,” elaborates Sonali.

Everyday essentials

Makeup free from – Fragrance, Paraben, Mineral Oil, Sulphate and Phthalate range

They shared the experimental products with family and friends for trials and incorporated changes based on feedback. After much back and forth they were finally ready with their vegan, cruelty free, fragrance free consciously made products. They then geared up to package and promote the product range for Sommer Beauty. They named them Huesicles with 3 shades – Tropic, Palm and Sunset. The products are all designed for an easy-to-use, clean makeup experience that elevates the user’s mood to feel authentically beautiful. “When you pick up a Huesicle you can apply it as an eye shadow, blush and lipstick, finish your makeup in three minutes and be out of the door!” they assure

Authentically beautiful

Brand at the centre – always

Sommer Beauty sells online and also through very select popups, apart from a few retail outlets. They sell gift sets, pouches and bundles of their products. They are making their presence felt and are organically building a community on social media through authentic customer testimonials and promotions.I was lucky enough to be a part of their shoot that included women across age groups – twenties to over 50, with diverse skin tones. The team had the shots well planned and it was great to see the discussions between the various professionals to arrive at a consensus when there was a need. The products and brand were always at the centre of these chats and it was such a relief to see that egos did not derail the focus as they are wont to do at such creative consultations.

Shades to suit Indian skintones – Tropic, Palm and Sunset

Staying relevant and true to their beliefs

Though their journey has just started, in order to stay relevant in the space it is critical to keep innovating and introducing new products which is what they are busy with now. When we at GoTN held our first meet up in Chennai, Sommer Beauty was one of the interesting participants and it was exciting to see firsthand how the women in the group responded to the samples shared. “We’ve been blessed to have received good feedback for our products so far,” say the duo. Three cheers to Sommer Beauty and the belief with which it’s been launched. Here’s to their success in championing authenticity and being true to oneself in the beauty space.

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What is

GOTN is a platform that aims to bring together entrepreneurs from around Tamil Nadu to form a creative community by offering inspiration, information and facilitating connects.