[Startup Bharat] This MP-based couple is promising toxin-free baby products
New to-be parents Sanidhya Pareek and Shuchi Sharma were worried about what products to use for their newborn. Like most new parents, the couple was looking for baby care products that were chemical-free and wouldn’t harm the baby in any way.
Sanidhya says, “We observed one thing while talking to parents - with changing time and technology, parents have become more conscious about their child’s well-being. We also became more reluctant and worried about all the aspects involved in raising our child.”
This led the couple to start Mtoto in Shujalpur, Madhya Pradesh, in 2020. The startup offers chemical-free baby care products like shampoos, moisturising lotion, diaper rash cream, etc., and claims its products are free from harmful chemicals like SLS, SLES, parabens, and mineral oil.
The couple also roped in Sanidhya’s sister, Saloni Pareek, to be part of the core team.
The right manufacturing
“After a detailed market and product research for a couple of years on each of the materials required for production, we concluded and went ahead with the process of manufacturing the products with a third-party manufacturer in Ahmedabad,” says Sanidhya.
He explains the manufacturer had to focus on using the right raw materials. Sanidhya says the team was particular about the raw materials used and the core manufacturing processes.
Saloni Pareek, Core Team member
“We need to be extremely careful and cautious when it comes to do anything with babies. Our standards were high. We were sure we didn’t want any SLS, SLES, or any other chemical that can harm the baby in any way. Thus we focussed on trying different manufacturers, testing them, and only then finalising the right third party manufacturer,” says Sanidhya.
Product and COVID-19
Being bootstrapped, the company had to focus on important products that were needed for new parents, they settled on four products - Mtoto Super Calming Head to Toe Wash, with neem and aloe vera; Mtoto Baby Diaper Rash cream, with aloe vera, almond oil, and zinc oxide; Mtoto Truly Gentle Baby Shampoo; and the Mtoto Perfectly Moisturising Baby Lotion, with shea butter, licorice extract, sweet almond oil, vitamin E, and aloe vera.
The biggest challenge hit the team during the pandemic when they were about to launch their products in the market in April 2020. The pandemic and its ensuing lockdown meant that factories had to be shut. However, by October 2020, the team was able to restart the manufacturing process, and they went live online in November 2020.
Sandhiya says the sales of the brand are slowly growing. The products are priced between Rs 300 and Rs 400 per unit. The team is currently focussed on online sales and marketing. The products can be shopped for on their website and on ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, and FirstCry.
The Indian market for baby care products is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15 percent between 2020 and 2025. While there are several established brands for baby products like Johnson & Johnson, Pampers, and others, there is a growing need and awareness in the market for chemical-free products for babies.
There are several notable Indian startups that are in the space like Mother Sparsh, Mamaearth, Priyanka Raina’s Maate, The Baby Atelier, and BumChum to name a few.
Speaking of their products, Sanidhya says,
“Mtoto baby care products are Made in India for baby’s soft and delicate skin to keep it healthy and safe. It cleanses baby’s skin and keeps them moisturised and healthy throughout the day.”
The team has close to 10 people now who are focussed on expanding their reach. The startup is also looking to launch new products soon.