When Ayurveda meets apothecary: Presenting Arjoon Mehra’s ‘green’ body and skincare brand
Greenberry Organics, a 100 per cent chemical-free brand, has grown through word of mouth and the 27-year-old founder is now chalking out expansion plans.
To 27-year-old Arjoon Mehra, a self-confessed job hopper, the idea of working for someone never really worked.
So in November 2016, he decided to set up Greenberry Organics, a 100 per cent natural, cruelty-free and vegan body and skincare brand.
“While I was studying the market, I realised that most branded cosmetics have preservatives that make them last longer, sometimes for even five years after they are opened. But I was keen on introducing more natural products; I was thinking Ayurvedic principles with a touch of a modern-day apothecary in small batches,” Arjoon says.
The Greenberry Organics range was launched with five products, including the 3-in-1 Mud Ash Face and Neck Cleanser, Scrub and Mask, the Juniper Berry and Orange Body Wash, Strawberry Shea Butter Body Wash and Body Butter. The USP of all the products was clear: They were all paraben and phthalates free.
“After people started using our products, we got references and our product sales went up to almost 1,600 units a month from an order a day. The company started making Rs 4-5 lakhs in the first month and that gave me the confidence to expand,” Arjoon says.
The Greenberry Organics range is currently available on Amazon and Arjoon has plans to expand sales through other premium online marketplaces.
Work on other formulations is on as well.
“This monsoon, we are launching a special shampoo, conditioner and a hair serum along with a men’s grooming range," Arjoon says.
It was an event at XLRI Jamshedpur where the wheels of Greenberry Organics were set in motion. Arjoon was pursuing his post-graduation at the college and chanced upon a stall selling organic cosmetics put up by an NGO.
Arjoon’s interest was piqued and he travelled to the village where the NGO was located to connect with the founder and observe the process of making cosmetics.
When he was formulating the Greenberry Organics plan, Arjoon was keen to tie up with the NGO in Jamshedpur but logistical challenges made him look for strategic partners in Delhi.
He had no background in cosmetics or Ayurveda and approached the Ayurvedic and Unani Tibbia College in New Delhi to access their library. A chance meeting with a chemist made him enrol for a short course in Ayurveda on essential oils and their usage soon after.
"As I delved deeper into the field I learnt the power of Ayurveda; our conventional over-the-counter products are just bypassing that. We decided to create a brand for skin and body care products, focusing on essential oils, fruit and vegetable oils, and extracts,” Arjoon reveals.
Currently bootstrapped, Arjoon invested Rs 80,000 from his savings to start Greenberry Organics. He scouted the market thoroughly to tie up with certified manufacturers who would be able to produce small batches as per his recipes and formulations. Having tasted success in his first venture, Arjoon is now gearing up to expand Greenberry Organics and is looking to raise funds for the next phase of growth.
Greenberry products are made with Fair Trade certified ingredients and are free of sulphates. The products have a natural shelf life of 5-6 months once opened and each batch is certified by a dermatologist before it reaches customers.
“More than 70 per cent of my products are made with pure herbs like Manjishtha, Raktachandan and Wild Turmeric, which are also eco-certified. This year, we will seek international certifications like MadeSafe that will help gain wider acceptance and enable us to compete with international-standard products,” Arjoon says.
Greenberry products are certified and licensed under Ministry of Ayush and Arjoon is now focusing on expanding sales into the United States and Canada through Amazon.
Working on the “lean” principle, the young entrepreneur has kept production control in his hands. He is now expanding his portfolio to about 17 products this month, including a range curated for men, and overseeing the production process at a partner location.
Arjoon’s leap of faith seems to have paid off big time. Barely a year into the launch of Greenberry Organics, 40 per cent of the brand’s sales are from repeat buys. The pure, vegan ingredients combine to create cruelty-free, natural toiletries that your body – and the earth – will thank you for.