This serial entrepreneur went from home testing a hair fall remedy for himself to building a D2C personal care brand
In 2015, Prashant Parikh was working for a medical tourism firm as a regional head when the company shut shop, and he was forced to think about alternate sources of income.
He pondered about starting up, and since hair fall was an issue that he personally faced, it spurred him to find a solution for it.
“It seemed like there was no end to my hair fall issues despite using so many products,” recalls Prashant. “I knew that this was a common problem, so I researched different hair growth products and ingredients to develop a solution in the form of hair oil.” The hair oil was the genesis of Prashant’s personal care brand, launched in 2016 from Delhi.
Satthwa is a D2C brand with around 25 skincare and haircare products including hair growth oil and serums, essential oils, shampoos, anti-acne gels, and supplements. From self-experimenting his homemade oil to marketing on Facebook, Prashant has come a long way by building a successful D2C brand, but he stays true to his humble beginnings.
“If you go to Satthwa’s official website, you might see my bald head on one of the pages,” quips Prashant. Satthwa’s products are priced between Rs 300 to Rs 700, with the average basket price being around Rs 625 to Rs 650. As of now, the products are available online only.
Yet another innovation in the garage
Prashant founded Satthwa in his garage. He took his mother’s help to develop the proprietary oil solution using nine different oils made from raw materials like grapeseed, jojoba, amla, and almond oil.
“At the beginning, my mother and I were the only ones working. We used to procure the raw materials from a vendor, make the oil solution and pack it at home. We did not even have a brand name then and our batch size was as small as 50 units per batch. As the demand grew, I roped in my driver to help me out,” Prashant recalls.
Within six months of marketing the oil on Facebook as a minimum viable product, its demand increased from five units to 40-50 units per month. Once they hit 100 units, Prashant bought a manual bottling machine and registered his brand. He also signed a contract with his original vendor for the supply of raw materials. By the end of 2016, about 600 units of hair oil were being shipped across the country.
Prashant claims that in just one year, without any active marketing, and with only two employees working for Prashant from his garage, the brand clocked Rs 1 crore with the hair oil alone.
After this massive success, Satthwa introduced essential oils in 2017, followed by an argan oil shampoo in 2018.
“People are inquiring about using our pre-mature hair greying products on little kids. While on one hand, it shows the demand for Satthwa products, on the other hand, we really need to study how food and lifestyle can cause these problems at such a young age,” says Prashant.
Today, the team has expanded to 13, with personnel for social media, graphic designing, content, ecommerce, and operations. Prashant does most of the research for developing new and old products. He says Satthwa’s products are made from natural ingredients and without the addition of harmful chemicals, however, he is quick to add the brand cannot claim to be 100 percent organic in all its products.
What started as a mother-son team, Satthwa now has 13 employees across social media, operations, ecommerce and more.
Prashant began his career by launching a web hosting company called SpeedHost, which was sold to Directi in 2011. Post this, he launched a company called Pyjamachap.com, which had to shut shop. He then moved on to medical tourism.
Despite his experience in such diverse fields, he says running a product-based D2C company was completely new to him, and he found advertising and marketing especially hard.
Finding the right mode of shipping for his newly launched products, across the country many times, was a task too.
“At that time, there were only one or two companies shipping oil-based products across the country, that too at a very high cost. Logistics companies avoid such products because they are highly inflammable. I went to online forums and found out that this was a common problem for many other brands that developed oil-based products like Satthwa,” says Prashant.
Despite the initial hiccups, Satthwa states it is profitable with a year-on-year revenue of Rs 3.5 crores. With an initial investment of around Rs 10,000, Satthwa started making sales within the first three months, says Prashant.
What lies ahead
According to Allied Market Research, the organic personal care market is projected to touch $58,615.6 million by 2031, registering a CAGR of 5.3 percent from 2022 to 2031.
The team of Satthwa is planning to tap into this potential and plans to scale up responsibly in the coming years. Prashant also plans to raise the first round of funding in the coming months to bump up the bootstrapped brand’s growth by five times.
With almost 300,000 customers in India, Satthwa is competing with the likes of Juicy Chemistry, Mellow Herbals, Vedix, MamaEarth and many other D2C brands. Prashant is firm his brand will continue to stay true to its tagline - pure to the core.
“While many skincare and haircare brands diversify to cosmetics, we are avoiding doing so. We are trying to find solutions to a problem. When I began with the hair growth oil, it was a necessity for me and many others. So, our goal is to research further on common problems related to skin and hair, and create better products,” concludes Prashant.