Maura Chari, Founder, www.wellnessocean.com
“Unique range of wellness and health products “
Finding a complete range of wellness and health products at one location is unheard of in India. Whether it is because the segment is relatively new or because no one else has thought of it yet, Maura Chari has beaten everyone to it. Her venture www.wellnessocean.com is an online retail store which has a unique range of wellness and health products.
Yourstory learnt more from her on how her entrepreneurial journey has been so far and how she came up with the business idea for Wellness Ocean Products
What does wellnessocean.com have to do with better health?
Our mission at wellnessocean.com is to enhance the sense of well-being through quality and natural products and to bring preventative and restorative lifelong health solutions to our customers. We believe in providing essentials for a healthy body and mind, both from within and without, using natural products that are chemical-free and allow the consumer to take responsibility for their own health.
We specialize in online retail of high quality therapeutic products with a balance of holistic approach through a perfect blend of classical Indian, Eastern and Western systems of indigenous healing traditions. Wellnessocean.com offers a synergy of unique products for health and beauty from across the globe. The idea was born from the growing awareness and demand among Indian consumers, for chemical free, natural and organic alternatives and for new avenues of wellness in line with their proactive approach.
Does your business have any limit to its outreach?
Being an online shop, we reach consumers all over India. There is scope to extend to India’s neighboring countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal Bangladesh etc in the near future. We have been able to serve customers from Indian metros, cities and even smaller towns in far away corners of the country, where availability of such products is nonexistent.The converging economic and demographic trends in India have laid the groundwork for favorable circumstances in the wellness market. Today the opportunities are plenty, there is vast empty space in the market, the consumer is hungry for products, the market forces are openly welcoming the new entrants, the competition is not yet tense and the growth drivers are in place.
The opportunities for growth are a growing wellness market, changing trends & lifestyle, increased awareness on toxic substances in consumer products, unavailability of specialized products, growing internet penetration and growth of e-and m-commerce.
How is Wellness Ocean a truly different business idea from its competitors?
Wellness Ocean has existing competition from a small number of online shops in India, who basically sell either only Ayurvedic products alone or any kind of product (from cell phone to toothpaste etc). Substitutes are available in retail shops or online shops, but do not offer a specialized focused range. A wide range of products, the convenience of online shopping combined with educational and informative articles published on our blog as well as personalized advice define wellnessocean as one of its kind in India.
We emphasize on product quality and uniqueness, look and feel of the product presentation on the website, easy web-functionality and navigation, value added customer services and offer products in different price levels, therefore making it affordable for any customer to shop with us.
Our customers order online and pay via the payment gateway by credit or debit card, net banking or PayPal. Customer, who are not comfortable with online payment have the option of paying by cash. We have tied up with ICIC bank and payment can be made at any ICIC branch in India. The orders are then door delivered to the customer’s address.
We are very particular in choosing our business partners. Our suppliers are from India, Germany, USA, Morocco, Jordan, Turkey, Taiwan etc and we take great care to ensure that the products we source from them promote environmental sustainability, social empowerment and preservation of traditional knowledge and skills. In addition most of our products have national or international organic certifications.
We have also tied up with an NGO based in Bangalore, through which village women get the opportunity to become economically independent and socially empowered and we offer their products for sale on our online shop without any added profits.
How has your business been received by consumers? What are you doing to increase your base?
We have had a very positive response and gradual increase in sales since we have started 7 months back. We are planning to invest now mainly in online as well as offline marketing, to increase our sales and build our brand. Funds will also be used for extended research and product sourcing and expansion of the product range. We are considering at this point an investment partner to enable us to fully utilize the opportunities offered to us by the Indian market.We aim at occupying a larger office and warehouse area after 3 years of operations and also consider opening physical retails stores in India’s major Metros in the future.
What made you chose the entrepreneurs path in life?
Wellnessocean.com is my second business, which I have financed through funds from my first successful and still running business Linkers Buying Service, a company providing sourcing and quality control services to foreign companies.
I have always been an entrepreneur because I enjoy the excitement of creating something new and the feeling of a roller-coaster ride that comes with it. It is mainly a creative pursuit that offers me the chance of multitasking in diverse areas like planning, design, technology, finance, research and sourcing. Passion has been my driving force, vision my guiding force and my husband and business partner as well as my team have been my sustaining force.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as an entrepreneur?
My greatest challenge initially has been the fact that I am a foreigner doing business in India. From getting used to the new environment, food, language etc to adjusting to a different infrastructure has been difficult. Also dealing with regulatory bodies can be very time consuming and de-motivating. Other challenges are finding the right personnel and keeping up with constant innovations in the market and industry.
Has wellness Ocean been feted for its work?
The story of wellnessocean was featured in a book on women entrepreneurs called “A Tryst with Women Entrepreneurs” by Sharika S Nair, published by NSRCEL at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.
What inspires and motivates you to stick with entrepreneurship?
I enjoy all the joys and pains of being an entrepreneur but what keeps me going is the impact I can have on somebody in a positive way and contributing to somebody’s happiness or wellbeing, which gives me a great sense of satisfaction. There is also a lot of freedom in doing your own business and being your own boss because I can experiment and work in unconventional ways.
What have you planned for Wellness Ocean in 2012?
Apart from increasing our sales and growing our team we also plan to develop our own product ranges under the wellnessocean brand, such as Aromatherapy products and Ayurvedic products. Already in the pipeline is our own Yoga clothing collection and Yoga accessories, since we noticed a great demand for specialized Yoga attire from our Indian customers.
What is your take on entrepreneurship and how to approach it?
As an entrepreneur you need a great deal of patience as well as confidence in your idea and vision. But even if an idea fails, it does not mean you have failed as a person. Try to be objective and don’t get attached to the results, but just keep going. Embrace the learning experience on your journey as an entrepreneur, which is also an experience for personal growth and development.
Yourstory wishes Maura and Wellness Ocean a long and fruitful entrepreneurial journey. We hope to hear more on her own product range and wish her success with developing it.