Meet 10 women entrepreneurs who have found their niche in the organic beauty space
Organic, natural, vegan, parabens free, toxin free are some of the labels that define retail beauty brands that cater to an audience that prefers Ayurvedic, natural and organic products. These women-led ventures bottle organic and natural beauty products.
Beauty in India now has many addresses, especially when a large part of the population is spending on beauty and healthcare. With so many cosmetics brand flooding India and beauty marketplaces like Nykaa making them super accessible, the industry seems to be booming.
According to a report, the Indian retail and bearauty cosmetics market currently estimated at $ 950 million is pegged to reach $2.69 billion by 2020.
Years ago, when Shahnaz Husain launched her eponymous brand and Vandana Luthra started VLCC, they had to work hard to get their concepts and brands across markets.
In recent years, brands like Forest Essentials by Mira Kulkarni and high end luxurious Ayurveda brand and Biotique by Vinita Jain have made a mark in this space. With rising incomes and affordability, small brands are vying for market attention too.
Here are some women-led companies who have become big names in the organic beauty business.
Shubhika Jain and Sangeeta Jain, RAS Luxury oils
Started in 2017 by Sangeeta Jain and her daughter Shubhika, this Raipur-based venture has a range of wellness products made from natural, plant-based ingredients. It was while creating concoctions for personal use that they thought of creating a line of natural products.
Other than selling their products online they also cater to demands of luxury hotels and spas. They are a farm-to-face venture where everything from cultivation, oil extraction, formulation, bottling, packaging, shipping, marketing is done in-house.
Megha Ashar, Juicy Chemistry
Co-founded by Megha Ashar in 2014, Juicy Chemistry is a Coimbatore-based brand that looks at effective skincare solutions. She started the company with her husband when they realised there was a need for authentic and chemical-free products in the market. In the past five years, they have grown their business and have customers across 22 countries.
They have also focused on sustainability and empowering small scale enterprises. While all their packaging is recyclable, they have been sourcing all their materials locally.
Radhika, Jagriti and Deepika Choudhary, Skin Yoga
Started in 2013 by three sisters, Radhika, Jagriti, and Deepika Choudhary, Skin Yoga has products for face, hair, and body. The three sisters were raised on a farm where they grew their own vegetables and lived a simple and organic life. Even after studying abroad, and later returning to India, they realised that their skin care routine and their lifestyle was different from others. This led them to start Skin Yoga, based in Ahmedabad.
In the first two years, the company saw a 20 percent growth and has continued to grow since. Though it has a limited range of products, it has a wide reach and is sold in 29 countries. Quality is key, with the founders ensuring that their products meet the highest standards and approvals.
Rashi Bahel Mehra, Alanna
Raised in a business family, entrepreneurship was a given for Rashi, though she took the plunge only after an eight-year stint in the corporate world. Rashi started Alanna in Mumbai from her kitchen and her early experiments were with a charcoal soap. Initially, she got friends and family to try out her products.
She launched Alanna in 2015 with 28 products and 20 orders. And in the next two years this scaled to a massive 2000-2500 orders. Attracted to the FMCG industry, she realised there was a need for safe vegan and natural products and more importantly at affordable rates. She claims her products are 100 percent vegan.
With international shipping it caters to customers outside India too.
Sneha Daftary and Vasavdatta Gandhi, SOVA
Mumbai-based SOVA was founded in 2018 by Vasavdatta Gandhi, a bridalwear designer, and her niece who own a chain of salons in Mumbai. Vasavdatta’s father-in-law, HI Gandhi, who started his own Ayurveda medicines company- Millenium Herbals, has brought in his expertise to SOVA products and is the brain behind all the formulations.
When Vasavdatta realised that her father-in-law’s formulations worked so well for her, it made sense to take them to the world. SOVA means “one’s own” in Sanskrit. They have 15 products. The products are available across 50 outlets of the beauty and wellness brand Health & Glow. The founders claim that the company has seen 50 percent growth month-on-month.
Pooja Karegoudar and Tanushree Das, Body Cafe
Friends turned co-founders Pooja Karegoudar and Tanushree Ishani Das started Body Cafe in 2016 to offer affordable and 100 percent natural skin care to home care products. Over a lunch, both discovered common interests and their love for organic products, and decided to pursue their interest. They started with research and then things got rolling and soon launched Body Café. They invested their savings in the venture. The duo claims that all their ingredients are handpicked. They source ingredients from abroad and also travel across India to source them.
Body Cafe products are available all over India and though it has a niche market, it is also scaling up to meet increased demand and more markets.
Divya Dinesh, Asha Dinesh, Vedaearth
Divya Dinesh and her mother Asha Dinesh launched Addvantis Enterprises LLP. Under this entity, they launched ‘Vedaearth’ products which use only natural and vegan ingredients, in 2015. Divya’s sensitive skin and the irritation caused by most products available in the market drove her to start her own range of personal products. After learning aromatherapy she started blending her own oils etc. and positive feedback from friends and family pushed her to take the plunge.
Based in Bengaluru, Vedaearth products are available across multiple ecommerce platforms and in a market where there is a lot of competition.
Dr Neena Chopra, Just Herbs
A former banker, certified naturopathy professional and a biochemist, Neena Chopra started her journey with organic products way back in 2000 when she got into research. In 2002 she started a company that was certified by the department of Ayush.
However, her brand Just Herbs was launched in 2010, and has over the years, expanded across multiple cities in India and increased its visibility online too.
Shivani Kapur, Mirah Belle Naturals
Gurugram-based Shivani Kapur is not new to the startup world, having been a part of two earlier. She started Mirah Belle in 2017 for people to have access to good to affordable, pure organic products. This is why only certified and organic ingredients are used to make every Mirah Belle product.
To ensure that the products are top notch, Shivani believes whatever go into the products have to the best, and claims the company only uses certified and organic ingredients.
Nishi Bhuvandas and Uttara Ramkumar, SoulPure
SoulPure was started in 2016 by friends Nishi Bhuvandas and Uttara Ramkumar because of a common fascination for organic and vegan health and beauty products. Uttara started making soaps at home and invariably they took the plunge and turned entrepreneurs. Available through online channels in India and the Middle East SoulPure offers chemical-free bath and body skincare formulations.
Nishi is based in Abu Dhabi, UAE while Uttara is based in Bengaluru. They started with a single product and then went on to add more. According to them, their USP is that all their ingredients are sourced from the US and are USDA-organic approved and IFRA (International Fragrance Association) compliant.