As Delhi reels under smog cover, we bring the story of a one-stop shop that is helping residents fight against toxic pollutants.
As winter sets in, the national capital is in the news again. Since the start of this week, the city has been covered with a thick blanket of smog as pollution levels breached permissible standards. Schools have remained closed for the week — a measure taken by the government to protect children from deteriorating air quality. News reports highlight that the sale of air purifiers has doubled since the dust blanket engulfed the city.
One such brand that has witnessed a high turnout in sales this week is Nirvana Being, which offers a range of premium quality masks and other anti-pollution products. Jai reveals that this week, the sales of masks have gone up from 300 per day to over 10,000 this week.
Jai Dhar Gupta (45), an alumnus of Wharton School of Business, founded Nirvana Being in 2015. It has gained popularity among Delhiites as a specialty mask brand for its Vogmask. With its high filtering technology, it claims to be the only certified reusable and washable anti-pollution mask available in India.
“At the store opening in Khan Market, everyone said that I was crazy. There is little awareness and a general apathy towards health, as people tend to accept chronic problems as a part of life, rather than seek solutions or work on prevention. Still, the store opened, and after Diwali we had customers waiting in queues outside the shop,” recalls Jai.
Talking about the eureka moment, Jai highlights that the idea struck him while he was training for a marathon in 2014. While preparing himself for the long run in Delhi’s morning air, he got a lung infection.
“What started as a gentle wheeze, became a patch on my lungs — soon I had compromised lungs that led to a serious shift in lifestyle. I had no option but to find safe solutions to protect myself, both indoors and outdoors,” adds Jai.
Since then, Jai has been the first customer of everything Nirvana Being promotes. “So, it has to be technologically advanced and deliver high value for money,” he smirks.
The brand offers a range of innovative anti-pollution products and solutions:
Vogmask – The brand offers two types of Vogmask: single valve and double valve. Vogmask is both NIOSH approved and CE FFP2 R certified as a personal protective equipment. The multilayered mask has an N99 rated filter that removes PM2.5 and an activated carbon filter that removes gases, odours, and ozone. The price for the double valve masks starts from Rs 2,200, whereas for single valve ones it starts at Rs 2,000.
Laser Egg – The smart air quality monitor – Laser Egg allows you to track the invisible pollutants hidden in indoor air. The handy device provides air quality readings in real-time; measurements are taken every 0.1 seconds and displayed on the LCD screen. Air quality can be displayed as PM2.5 concentration.
PuraCar – It is a car air purifier with HEPA, Carbon, and Microorganism filter.
Airgle – It is a room air purifier, which the brand claims has cType medical grade HEPA, heaps of carbon and a titanium dioxide to filter 40 times more than a regular HEPA air purifier.
Besides anti-pollution products, Nirvana Being also offers two solutions/services for commercial air purification – Re-charge and Pure, which treats indoor air quality (treatment of air) and indoor environment quality (treatment of air and surfaces). The solutions are aimed at creating indoor environments that meet international acceptable standards of ventilation and air quality at centrally air-conditioned spaces like offices, schools, homes, hotels, hospitals, gyms, among others.
For Nirvana Being, the biggest challenge during its initial days was to make people aware of the harmful effects of air pollution.
“We inhale about 12,000 liters of toxic air in a day as opposed to a few liters of water – while we spend endless amounts of time filtering our water, there is no consciousness/awareness about the largest raw material our body consumes, that is air,” Jai remarks.
In order to overcome the challenge, the Nirvana Being’s team donned the hat of environmental activists to disseminate information and knowledge. Jai highlights that it was an uphill task, since most individuals don’t see an obvious link between their ailments and air pollution. To strike the right chord, the brand collaborated and sought help from a number of environmental activists, NGOs, parents, lawyers, citizens suffering from chronic problems, health professionals, educators, RWAs, media, pharmacies, wellness gurus, schools, and also thought leaders who brought momentum and ideas to the awareness campaign.
Backed by a team of 30 people, the company has been bootstrapped since inception.
“Our revenue has doubled year on year, in spite of demonetisation that happened at the time we had our peak demand in 2016,” reveals Jai.
Nirvana Being has a simple revenue model. It is monetising from online sales through its website, and from offline sales through its three outlets in Delhi-NCR, and from distribution and direct sales through B2B and B2C channels.
The company has no plans to raise funds in future. Going ahead, the specialty mask brand wants to expand its product portfolio with additional solutions and spread its reach beyond Delhi NCR.