Diagnosed with PCOD, this woman entrepreneur quit the aerospace sector and started a range of natural food mixes
A couple of years before 24-year-old Vibha Harish started CosMix, a range of natural food mixes, she was diagnosed with PCOD. She admits that she never cared for her body at that time until her mother warned her to do so.
“My mother was a homeopathy doctor and asked me to treat myself with a lot of discipline through natural means than resorting to surgery,” she recalls.
Vibha took the advice seriously and began researching different kinds of herbs, roots, and fruits. She also made sure she slept well and got some basic exercise every day. Soon, she says, her PCOD improved; she continued her research into herbs around the world.
“The more I studied about plants and their powers, the more I realised there was something to share with the world. I started to look for products in the market but sadly found only weight-loss powders or things that promised spotless skin and serums to make your hair smoother,” she says.
She began to hate the idea that companies would use people’s insecurities against them and decided to create something completely natural, something that put health first. And thus, the idea of CosMix was born.
The beginning of CosMix
Vibha lived in Australia until she was nine years old and later moved to Bengaluru. After completing her degree in industrial engineering she worked in the aerospace sector for a few months. She got frustrated within a short time and joined Itsy Bitsy, her parents’ online craft supplies company where she led ecommerce and social media, scaling the company by 300 percent in three months.
While working at Itsy Bitsy, Vibha would come home in the evenings, work on formulations, study herbology, do market studies, and product development.
“Once the product was in its first prototype stage, I conducted a test on 60 participants, who had positive results to show. After some changes to the formula, we were good to go to market. I launched CosMix in December 2019,” she says.
CosMix is a range of 100 percent natural food mixes made from plants, herbs, and berries, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They fulfil nutritional requirements, which Vibha says, regular diets do not.
The products are in a powder form, and can be mixed with a teaspoon with milk, water, or any other food and consumed.
“I realised while doing my research that a lot of the food we eat wasn't giving us enough nourishment. Herbs, plants, and roots, however, have healing properties that hadn't been properly tapped into. After massive amounts of research we have formulated six functional mixes - Healthy Hair, All-day Energy, Happy Gut, Feel-good Skin, Sleep like a Baby, and Strong Immunity,” Vibha says.
Each mix offers different benefits. She gives the example of an insomnia patient who moved to using a mild natural alternative with CosMix and got better sleep.
'Happy Gut', one of CosMix’s most popular products, is a combination of probiotics and prebiotics, and aids in creating a strong gut biome.
“The product range contains roots, fruits, berries and herbs sourced from across the world. We like to source a particular plant from its native region so the quality is optimised. They don't contain any added preservatives or extra sugar, and are priced from Rs 520 to Rs 550. I wanted to make sure they would be affordable,” she adds.
A thrilling journey so far
CosMix works on a direct-to-customer sales revenue model, with sales done mainly through its website. The company has just started retailing the product in select stores, and is hoping to break even in February this year.
Right now, Vibha and a helper pack and dispatch daily orders, but the founder hopes to hire a full-fledged team soon. She also has on board a web developer, a lead doctor, nutritionist, web designer - all of them are women.
Vibha believes that being a woman entrepreneur in India is a privilege.
“There are so few women in our country who have the opportunity to get out of their homes and get to work, let alone work for themselves. There have been instances where men have said to me ‘Oh, look she knows so much tech, that too for a girl’! Of course, statements like this can be annoying, but they only push me forward. I hope no girl ever looks at her gender as a disadvantage in the Indian business sector. We are empathetic and compassionate, and these things can come in handy while building teams and businesses.”
Vibha says her journey so far has been thrilling and she’s waiting to see “how far we can push the limit”.
“I'm focused on creating new products this year and make sure people in need can access the product,” Vibha says.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)