The organic and natural products market is considered niche and nascent in India. However, with a flock of startups which has chosen this industry as a launchpad to kickstart their entrepreneurial journey, the market is growing at a rapid pace with a CAGR of 30 per cent and is set to touch USD one billion in 2015. 24 Mantra, Phalada, Conscious Food and Organic Tattva are some of the startups that have given new identity to the organic products industry.
Vinod Kumar, CEO, Naturally Yours, says,
We understand customer pain points and continue to address them. We have built over 100 products with the help of farmers and processing companies across India.
Naturally Yours was started in February 2010 by Vinod Kumar and Priya Prakash to make wide range of organic and natural products available to customers in one single location. The startup has evolved from a brick and mortar one to an e-commerce company with over 100 products which includes rice, dal, oil, millet pongal mix, kheer mix and many more.
When Vinod returned to India after finishing his MBA in UK, he realised not many retail outlets were selling organic products. This gave him a push to kick start Naturally Yours with the intention to offer a 360-degree range of products under one roof. Initially, the company was set out in the brick-and-mortar format in a small 150-sqft store in Mumbai with an investment of Rs five lakh.
Gradually, Naturally Yours expanded to three stores in Mumbai but the fortune was not in their favour at that point of time, so the store sales got stagnant and it led the company to get stuck with huge inventory and high operating costs.
So in April 2014, Naturally Yours has been given a new shape with the launch of the website www.naturallyyours.in and made its presence in every State and Union Territory.
Naturally Yours has tied up with farmers across India to provide them an access to the market. The startup buys products from the farmers and sells them under the brand of Naturally Yours.
Vinod cited one example of a farmer group based out of Anantapur, which produces millets. So he approached them and asked for a fair price for their millets and started out with small batches. Gradually, their products started gaining significant traction among consumers which helped the farmers to make decent margin on that.
Both Vinod and Priya have had to face lot of challenges in terms of quality assurance and product authenticity to end consumers. It is imperative for a startup to learn how to connect the dots in a seamless fashion, starting from understanding consumer behaviour, amalgamating all resources, to proper execution of the business strategies, in order to build a brand.
Vinod said that at a young age of 26 he learnt how to handle different business functions. Before starting Naturally Yours, he used to work with Global Group and played different crucial roles handling three departments with 300 people reporting to him. Co-founder Priya used to work with Anthem Biosciences as a scientist and was part of the drug discovery team.
Naturally Yours has a small team of eight members including the co-founders. Priya takes care of the new product development and maintaining relationship with vendors and farmers, whereas Vinod looks after the strategy, sales, marketing and finance portion.
Vinod says, "The best part of the Naturally Yours team is its ownership quality. Probably this is the reason that in the last five years we have had almost no attrition at all”.
Vinod claims that in the last fiscal year the sales number of the products was Rs 1.4 crores and this year they are looking to cross over Rs 5 crores. Monthly, they ship 2,000 orders via their website, Amazon, Flipkart and other e-commerce portals. And in the next three to four months, the startup plans to take the order numbers upto 10,000 per month.
After experiencing success from the online business model, Naturally Yours is now heading towards creating offline presence by launching modern and general retail stores in four to six cities across India.
"Over the next two to three years we plan to grow to over Rs 100 crores in revenue and increase our product base to over 200 numbers." adds Vinod.