Meet 5 women entrepreneurs who are acing the beauty and skincare business

From Ayurvedic recipes to long-forgotten ingredients from a family’s soap-making tradition to sourcing organic products from the hinterland, these five beauty and skincare entrepreneurs have created their own niche in the market.

Organics is the only way forward. In fact, the global skin care products market size is projected to reach $183.03 billion by 2025 expanding at a CAGR of 4.5 percent. Popular ecommerce portals such as Nykaa, Amazon or Flipkart are at the forefront of the market for organic, natural or chemical-free brands. And there is a plethora to choose from.

L-R (clockwise): Dolly Kumar, Freny Jariwala, Upma Kapoor, Kruthika Kumaran and Chhavi Singh

While the Ayurveda sector in the country has a gross market size of $ 4.4 billion, or roughly Rs 30,000 crore as of 2018-end according to a CII study, the Indian skincare market stood at $1.6 billion. It is also projected to grow at a CAGR of 9 percent to reach $2.7 billion by 2023.  

The growing demand for natural products is due to the spread of awareness, more disposable income and consumer consciousness about using chemical-free products. Many startup entrepreneurs have come into this space and each of them have their stories. One quit a job, another lost a parent to skin complications, and another wanted to keep age-old family soap recipes alive. These five women entrepreneurs started up in the natural beauty space and are selling great products and seeing huge turnover. 

Kruthika Kumaran, Founder, Vilvah 

Kruthika Kumaran started Vilvah in 2017 after losing her mother to complications arising from a skin condition. Seeing her mother suffer for almost a decade, she decided to make skin products safe. 

An engineer who went on to do a diploma is natural cosmetology online, she started experimenting with soaps which led her to startup Vilvah. Based out of Coimbatore, Vilvah makes natural, chemical-free products using goat milk. The products are available on popular ecommerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart, and Nykaa. Product range includes haircair, skincare and bath and body products. 

What she started with an investment of Rs 10,000, is today seeing a turnover of Rs 15 crore. 

“We are looking to launch more innovative products that will be suitable for all skin types and great for the environment to adopt more sustainable practices. We want to be a pioneer in goat milk skincare,” says Kruthika Kumaran. 

Upma Kapoor, Founder, Teal & Terra 

Upma Kapoor started Gurugram-based Teal & Terra, an organic beauty brand in 2017. Bootstrapped with Rs 8 lakh, the startup has clocked a revenue of 2.4 crore in two years. 

An MBA in finance, she quit her corporate career when her son was born. A few years later due to personal issues, she walked out of her marriage and worked as a consultant till she started up in 2017.  

Teal & Terra is completely natural without any chemicals, with ingredients sourced from cities like Panchkula, Delhi and Gurugram. The products are available on popular ecommerce portals such as Amazon and Flipkart, and the product range includes hair care, skin care, masks etc. 

“I figured that the basic difference was with the ingredients. So I decided to do something trustworthy and genuine, and give customers a local option instead of them having to import much more expensive products,” says Upma.

Freny Jariwala, Founder and Managing Partner, the Secret Ingredient 

Freny wears multiple hats - she heads a preschool, is on the board of a chemical manufacturing company and runs The Secret Ingredient. 

The art of soap-making has been passed down generations in Freny’s family - from her forefathers who were in the same business. With The Secret Ingredient, she brings some of the family recipes to the shelves for customers. 

A one-stop shop for all things natural, the company has a range of organic body care products consisting of handcrafted, natural soaps, serums, scrubs, baby soaps and lip balms. They are without toxins, and are paraben-free and cruelty-free. 

Dolly Kumar, founder, Skinella 

Launched in 2017 after three years of extensive research, Skinella is a skincare brand that offers products made of superfoods. The target audience of the brand is people in the age group of 15 to 25 years. It’s parent company is Cosmic Nutracos, founded in 2007. Cosmic Nutracos manufactures skincare products, health food products and nutritional supplements with its two brands GAIA and Skinella. 

Dolly, who is also the founder and director of Cosmic Nutracos, holds a degree in B.Tech in cosmetic engineering from Nagpur University. She previously worked with leading brands like Colorbar Cosmetics before she took her entrepreneurial leap.  

Skinella’s product range includes lip, skin, face and body care products also containing superfoods. 

Chhavi Singh, Founder, Sacred Salts 

Founded in 2018 by Chhavi, Sacred Salts is a premium Ayurvedic skincare brand. With about 20,000 customers in a year, and 1 crore turnover, Chhavi’s decision to quit her job and startup has been fruitful. 

With over 10 years of experience in retail, working with Arvind Mills, she started a home decor brand in 2016 and then a skin care brand. Sacred Salts was started with a 5-crore funding from a Singapore-based company which also mentored her and the team to manage operational challenges and helped formulate market entry strategies. 

“Sacred Salts was launched to bring lesser-known skin elixirs to the fore through products that are rich in nutrients and high on luxury. It all started when I travelled across the length and breadth of India exploring the heritage of Ayurveda. I wanted to ensure these sacred recipes of India reach and benefit everyone,” says Chhavi.

Their skincare products made from essential oils from Uttarakhand are manufactured at a third-party manufacturing unit in Gurugram. 

(Edited by Suruchi Kapur Gomes)