Along the colourful facades of Notting Hill, London, a new red and white candy stripe store has just popped up. This is India-based Ayurvedic beauty brand Kama Ayurveda’s first brick and mortar store outside the country.
Apart from the brand’s bestsellers, the two-storey store also features two treatment rooms where clients can try the signature facial and head massage, and a floor dedicated to tea and a tridoshic (balancing all three doshas) menu.
The formal launch of the store is scheduled for November. Noticing the importance of in-store experience, Vivek Sahni, founder of Kama Ayurveda, says, “We started our R&D in 2017 but the pandemic set us back a few years.” After its launch in 2002, for the first 10 years, the brand followed the shop-in-shop format. In 2012 it finally opened its first standalone store in Delhi’s Khan Market. Now there are 64 stores across India and 75 shop-in-shops.
Kama Ayurveda has also entered a partnership with British retailer Harrods, where it will launch a counter on the fifth floor of the iconic luxury departmental store in October.
To begin with, the London stores will have 32 products on display, including their “pure Ayurvedic heroes” such as kumkumadi, bringadi, urjasura, and amarrupa.. “Some of the products have even been boosted keeping in mind the UK weather. The night cream for example is thicker and heavier,” says Vivek.
Explaining why he chose London as the venue for the first overseas store, Vivek says, “The UK is a very good test market because it’s multicultural, a great tourist hub all through the year with people from all over the world. It is also a business capital. You are looking at multiple ethnicities and skin types, so it’s a good place to start.”
While not everyone in the UK may know about Ayurveda, it is a highly developed market in terms of affinity to natural organic products and it is important for us to go to a market like that that is already receptive, concludes Vivek.