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Will Reliance’s entry prove to be a turning point for the Indian beauty industry?

A review of the first store of Tira, the company’s omnichannel beauty retail venture

The Tira beauty store in Mumbai
The Tira beauty store in Mumbai

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From celebrities to conglomerates, many new players are entering the beauty industry to meet the demand of the Indian shopper. And the newest, big-ticket member is Reliance Retail’s Tira, an omnichannel beauty platform. 

People can shop on Tira's app, website or at the store, the first one at the company’s Jio World Drive in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex.

The name Tira, which rhymes with one of its giant rivals, Sephora (Ulta Beauty isn’t in India yet), is inspired by Rati, the Hindu goddess of love. (Here's some trivia for beauty junkies: the name Lakmé is inspired by another Hindu goddess, Lakshmi.) 

Also read: L’Oreal is buying Aesop in $2.5 billion deal

We recently visited the store to see how different it is from other similar platforms. This is what we found:

The Tira store is a 4,300 sq.ft brightly lit property, and the company plans to expand aggressively, aiming for as many as 100 stores across the country. This includes another 6,000 sq.ft store that will open in Mumbai later this year. 

There is a big difference between the store and online product curation. The store offers famous mid-range to luxury brands and K-beauty products. You can buy Etude House tints and Givenchy Beauty at the same store. There are affordable makeup tools as well, by brands like Vega and PAC. You can buy a Dyson too. 

The online shopping experience is more exhaustive and includes popular affordable brands, like Maybelline, Sugar, Mamaearth and Minimalist.

What the store offers extra is the tech beauty experience. Take a photo with their skin analyser and it will tell you all that is good and bad with your skin and give personalised recommendations. 

You can get metal and glass bottles engraved for gifting. You can also test your sense of smell and choose fragrance notes you like and then get automatic suggestions from their wide list of perfumes with their Fragrance Finder tech. Or you could simply avail their brow services at the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Bar. 

Much like other rival stores, you will find brands like Smashbox, Bobbi Brown, Guerlain, Make Up For Ever, Too Faced, Clinique, Estee Lauder and MAC at the Tira store as well. There's scope for Tira to get ahead in the game, though. It can, for instance, get counters for cult brands like Charlotte Tilbury, which so far have an online-only presence in India. This will allow buyers to match foundation shades in person before making an expensive purchase. 

But for the occasional shopper, someone who doesn’t stalk brands’ Instagram accounts for new product drops and sales, Tira’s in-store experience can be fulfilling. 

What we also like about the store is that it houses Indian brands like Kimirica, Asa Beauty and Kiro. For new brands abroad, it’s always a moment of pride, a professional benchmark when they launch at major chains such as Ulta or Sephora. 

Will Tira be able to make itself a sought-after beauty platform for indie as well as luxe brands in India? Will it be able to go international, providing a selling channel for Indian brands abroad? Time will tell.

Is the brand planning to have an in-house label of cosmetics and skincare like its other rival, Nykaa? Not for now.

Also read: Now, Good Earth launches a line of bath and body products

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