Most startup ideas originate with college students, second-time entrepreneurs or to solve a pain-point. Lovely Lifestyle was born from a mix of the above. Vaibhav Mittal, a Computer Science Engineer and an MBA graduate from the Global Strategic Management programme from Babson College, Boston (US), was in Los Angeles working for a retail company that sold musical instruments and part-time as a musician. While there, he developed a taste for organic products and he decided to start Lovely Lifestyle.
After returning to Jalandhar in 2014 to join his family business – Lovely Group – Vaibhav got the idea of starting an organic products business. “While in the US, I was a part of world’s most mature market for e-commerce business and was competing directly with Amazon for the top market position. Interestingly, I had no idea that the e-commerce business in India had grown exponentially since I left in 2010. That’s when I decided to marry my professional experience of e-commerce with my love for organic and natural products,” says Vaibhav.
When he started researching the market for the demand and supply of organic products Vaibhav found that there were hardly any big sellers of real and genuine organic products in the Indian market.
It was then he started to work on his idea for an e-business to provide the most real organic and high-quality natural products, especially in Tier II and III cities where demand was significantly high but supply minimal.
Lovely Lifestyle works as a curated marketplace with 10,000 products from 150 Indian and international brands. The platform provides a range of real and earthy organic products. After the initial research, the other problem was finding the right recruits, but with the help of friends and family, he was able to build the core team.
Team and growth
The core team comprises people from different backgrounds. The team has category managers who signup brands; content writers to put appropriate content on the platform; an IT Team of about 10 people including developers; and product specialists to recommend products to customers. As a part of the Lovely Group, Lovely Lifestyle raised a fund of Rs 50 million.
The team claims to have grown at about 200 percent since its inception in 2015. They claim their growth rate is approximately 20 percent MoM and they expect to take at least 5 per cent of the total market share in coming years.
The space and future plans
The market reports suggest that the organic skincare market in India is estimated to grow two-fold in next five years and cross the mark of Rs 1,000 crore by year 2020. A KPMG Wellness Sector report released in April 2015 states that the beauty and wellness industry, which is growing at 15-20 percent annually would nearly double to Rs 80,370 crore by 2018.
The organic skincare market is expected to cross Rs 1,000 crore by 2020 in the next five years. There are several players in the space that look at organic skincare and wellness, many of these are in the men’s grooming segment as well like – Beardo and The Man Company.
Some of the other players are Coimbatore-based Juicy Chemistry, Soul Tree, and Organic Harvest. “As we are developing a platform based on customers' needs first, it helps to drive business from real needs,” says Vaibhav.
Apart from just being a marketplace for organic products, Lovely Lifestyle also curates content on the different organic products available and their uses. The team is currently partnering with complementary service providers such as beauty services to drive sales and develop institutional partnerships.