Shilpa Khanna Thakkar’s changes and experiences with her body in different phases of life led her to start Chicnutrix, a Mumbai-based beauty and wellness brand.
From dealing with bouts of acne as a teenager to hair fall several years ago and outbursts of emotions during and post pregnancy, and menopause, Shilpa realised most women face a number health related problems every day.
“I was running from one dermatologist to another and was prescribed various nutritional supplements. I realised that while I needed to take care of myself and not stress over my health issues, there was not a single brand that gave a clear-cut solution to my problems and I had to take supplements from different brands,” she told HerStory.
A community for women
Shilpa was already a founding member of Fullife Healthcare, a healthcare and nutrition company specialising in effervescent technology, along with co-founders Varun Khanna and Snehal Shah.
She took care of accounts, finance related work and manufacturing and logistics concerns while Varun and Snehal focussed on business development. As her son grew, she started shouldering more responsibilities.
In September 2018, she started working on Chicnutrix and launched the brand officially in May 2019.
Aimed at providing a one-stop solution shop for all women, Shilpa began by selling skin and hair products and went on to introduce a range of wellness and nutritional products. Priced between Rs 720 and Rs 1,800, the products are available on its website, ecommerce platforms like Flipkart, Amazon, Nykaa, and online pharmacy Netmeds.
After the nationwide lockdown, the brand launched dermatologist-treated Chicnutrix Happee, which cures and prevents recurrence of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).
The entrepreneur claims, “It is the only triple-action formula available in India beneficial for those who do not want to take antibiotic medication and are immune to it.”
She says that the latest product launch is also an effort to promote intimate hygiene, which many women refrain from discussing.
Products of Chicnutrix
“We want to engage women in conversations and build an online community where they can freely talk, share and discuss any subject openly,” Shilpa says, adding that all activities from product development to marketing and social media activities are approached with a women-centric focus.
With its in-house manufacturing and research and development facility in Mumbai, Shilpa pays close attention to the quality of ingredients.
Chicnutrix caters to the Indian women between the ages of 25 and 55. It is not looking at global expansion yet, despite interests from potential customers.
According to Shilpa, as the only brand in this space with a women-only focus, there is no direct competition as well. The larger picture would include other wellness companies in the market.
Challenges and growth
Shilpa says there are not many women starting up in the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industry and gender bias has been part of her entrepreneurial journey.
She shares, “I have gone to meetings at marketing companies with senior representatives to pitch for Chicnutrix. They have often questioned my company’s credibility because I am a woman.”
While people may attend meetings with preconceived notions about the company, Shilpa says she wins them over with a perfect pitch.
The B2C startup is now focussed on driving online sales in sync with needs of social distancing amidst the fast-spreading coronavirus.
“During COVID-19, we have seen an overwhelming response. It’s just been two years since the launch and a large number of women are approaching us to address all their needs and have also expressed their appreciation at the efficacy of the brand,” Shilpa says.
Chicnutrix’s operations are funded by investors of parent company Fullife Healthcare. With an impressive sales record in the current financial year, the entrepreneur is hopeful of seeing a 4x growth compared to last year. Moving ahead, Shilpa plans to increase the brand’s product offering in the market.
She claims, "We want to be seen as brand for women, by women to tell them ‘We have your back!’."