Panchkula startup Green Loom is making a mark in the crowded natural skincare space

Green Loom is a D2C skincare brand that offers 31 products, with a prominent presence across regions based on its ‘simple and transparent’ product philosophy.

Twenty-eight-year-old Seeza Bhardwaj had just delivered a baby girl in February 2018 when she decided to heed her long call as an entrepreneur. Within the next 50 days, she launched her D2C skincare brand—The Green Loom

Today, the Panchkula-based startup has curated a range of 31 ‘quality natural’ skincare products, starting from face packs and creams to cold pressed oils. The startup has presence in both the online and offline space across India.  

It wasn’t an overnight call. The mompreneur had been mulling over the idea to make “simple, transparent, and fit-for-all” skincare products for long, as she looked at the overcrowding D2C skincare market, particularly “organic”. 

“The most over abused word in skincare today is organic. Everyone is selling something or the other based around that. It has become a status symbol of some sort. In reality, people do not want to be lied to and want uncomplicated products,” says the founder. 

The term ‘organic’ refers to how an ingredient is farmed (must be prepared and grown without pesticides) while ‘natural’ means that the product has not been chemically treated, but may not have organic ingredients. Hence, all natural products need not or necessarily be organic.  

Retreating on this thin line, Green Loom has picked up on being ‘quality natural’ i.e., free from anything artificial like parabens, petrochemicals, sodium lauryl, synthetic colours, and dyes. 

It particularly refrains from generalising its products as ‘organic’, but only the ones that get the relevant certification.  

“Half the products in the market are labelled organic and are anything but that. You can’t have a long-term play with dishonesty. You must tell people what you sell,” says Seeza. 

The average shelf life of a Green Loom product, which is mixed with plant-based preservatives, ranges between 6 to 18 months, depending on the type of product. 

Well-informed clients   

The founder makes sure that all her clients are well informed about the composition of the product besides what suits them, even if it leads to suggesting zero Green Loom products. 

“Sometimes clients get enthusiastic and pick up multiple products. We try to help them understand their skin type and needs, and then make a purchase. There are times when I myself discouraged people from buying my own products. Try one and then take another,” quips Seeza. 

This philosophy of “not pushing out products” for large but short-term gains, and keeping everything transparent has won Green Loom a dedicated community of over 800 regular clients. 

Engineer, activist, & entrepreneur

Born and brought up in Pathankot, Punjab, Seeza, an engineering graduate, was always inclined towards sustainable agriculture/farm practices, farmer’s rights and issues around soil depletion, among others, and donned the educationist-cum-activist role after her graduation.  

She also went on to do a course in organic farming with renowned environmental activist and author Dr Vandana Shiva at Navdanya in Dehradun, besides organising various workshops (around sustainable farm practices) in Punjab. 

“The idea of starting a skincare brand was developed much later. I wanted to be an agriculturist, but couldn’t take it up or be a part of the farm community in some way or the other,” says Seeza. 

In 2018, Seeza, a certified formulator, bootstrapped Green Loom with Rs 1.5 lakh, and hasn’t withdrawn a single penny from the business to date, and has continued investing. 

During the initial days, she operated as a one-man army and carried out all the activities--from designing, procurement, marketing, packaging, and so on.

In 2020, she faced heavy losses as rains damaged almost 90% of its stocks. “I had to rebuild everything. The financial numbers went for a toss,” she says. 

Business and future plans 

At present, the startup, with a 10-member team, operates in both online and offline space. It has its own website and is listed across ecommerce platforms like Flipkart, while it has shelf presence across stores like Gormetgarh across the local region. It plans to push the offline reach on a larger scale in the next few months. 

While there are hosts of big names in the natural skincare space, including the likes of Khadi, Biotique, Kama Ayurveda, and Mamaearth, Green Loom faces head on competition from local brands like Just herbs, Tvakh, Betty’s Holistics and Skincare, Hanoor, Pahadi Local among others who are dabbling in the ayurvedic, organic, and natural space. 

Green Loom is making an average revenue of about Rs 3-4 lakh per month from its channels and has clientele in the tricity region (Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali), Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and parts of Gujarat.  

The founder conducts micro-DIY workshops and exhibitions as part of hyperlocal marketing strategy and research. With this, the startup has created a small yet significant community of DIY skincare enthusiasts that has helped in adding to the brand’s value and recall.

The brand outsources the manufacturing of about 10-11 products (units in Punjab and Faridabad), out of total 31, and the rest are formulated in-house by the founder at her office-cum-workshop in Panchkula. The ingredients for in-house products are directly sourced from farms and labs. 

Also, the packaging of the products has been kept 100% plastic free. 

While manufacturing is an altogether different ball game for the founder, she plans to do it herself in the future. 

Currently experimenting with oil serums, Seeza says, “It’s a never-ending learning curve. We are always adding and scrapping products, collecting database through hyperlocal meets, understanding consumers, educating them and ourselves, and keeping everything transparent from ingredients and their effects to labels and sourcing.”

“This is the only reason why we have been able to make a mark in this crowded D2C market and will continue building around the same thesis. A strong foundation is important to create a scalable brand,” she signs off. 

Edited by Megha Reddy