Entrepreneur Swati Maheshwari on her venture Rustic Art, a brand of organic, natural and handmade products.
What is Rustic Art all about?
Rustic Art is a brand of Organic, Natural & Handmade products. We have a range of creations that are of everyday use and are free from chemicals. People don’t realise that most soaps, shampoos and even laundry products that they draw on consist of toxic elements. Rustic Art is completely safe and exotic too!
How do you market your products?
Currently, we retail our products through Organic Stores and Health Food Stores in various cities like Pune, Mahabaleshwar, Bangalore, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, etc. The response is over-whelming. I think word of mouth has been our biggest brand promoter.
How do you deal with competition?
In our space, technically there are not many competitors. Rustic Art is made of certified organic ingredients, which is our USP too. Not many have that to boast about. Also, our motive is to spread the “organic” word. Even if there are competitors, we wish to co-exist in harmony with them.
How did you fund this venture?
We invested our own capital to start with, there was family support of course. Plus, we did a lot of things in-house, so did not have to give huge professional fee for designing the logo, website, packaging and even product photography.
What are the challenges you faced while starting up?
Reaching out to the market with the offering was difficult initially. We had a great product range which was very reasonably priced, an attractive website and a wonderful support team, but we didn’t know how to hit the market. We slowly made inroads even though it took us some time, it all seems worthwhile now!
What is your USP?
Rustic Art is made of certified organic ingredients, which makes it truly organic and natural. A lot of other brands claim to be organic and people believe them because of lack of awareness. Also, in the organic space, Rustic Art products are far reasonably priced than any other brand even closely related.
What is your product range like?
Rustic Art offers Organic Soaps, Natural Soaps, natural laundry range, organic hair oil, chemical free shampoos, paper soaps, Aloe Vera Gel, organic massage oil, etc. Some of these products are specially designed for babies and kids.
Do you manufacture the products yourself?
We outsource the manufacturing to Puducherry, based on our specification. However, we are already working to start in-house production. We should be able to announce that soon.
What is your team like?
My aunt and I started this venture out of our sheer love for natural products. She has a Master’s in Sustainable Development and is a die-hard environmentalist. I am a Communications Consultant by profession. Apart from us, we have our friends who help us in designing, marketing, etc.Where are you based?
We are based out of Satara, Maharashtra however, I work from Pune.
How long have you been operational?
We started conceptualizing in August 2010 and by January 2011 we were set to launch.
What are your future plans?
We have huge expansion plans. We will be adding more products to our existing range and even start in-house manufacturing here, in Maharashtra. Since the market response has been good, we are quite confident about the future.