With just Rs 20,000, how this homemaker started a natural, preservative free personal grooming brand on Instagram
Social commerce has increasingly become a favourable platform for women entrepreneurs to set up virtual shops. As people become more risk averse to start businesses during the pandemic, many are experimenting with online platforms like Instagram to start small businesses and create a community around it.
The ecstasy is not so different for 49-year-old Ritu Bhansali, who has been a homemaker for most of her life and donned an entrepreneurial hat only a year ago amidst the pandemic. The Jaipur-based woman entrepreneur runs a natural, preservative-free skin and hair care brand, EverythingMomMade, with the help of her daughters on Instagram.
The social commerce business receives a lot of love from its community of over 16,000 followers on the platform. More than 1,000 reviews have come in, all of which has left Ritu shedding tears of joy.
“It is a homemaker going out of her comfort and reaching out to so many people. When they comment and share their experience of using our product, our mother becomes very emotional. And every time she reads a good review, she cries her heart out because it feels like she has been able to make an impact,” says Ritu’s elder daughter Diva.
Diva says that her mother is an MCom graduate. But in the early 90s, people would frown upon women who would go out and work, and were preferred to be married off after their education.
“Today, there is a 360-degree change in the house as our mother is living her new-found identity as an entrepreneur and engaging in one call and meeting after another for business. Not that we doubt her capabilities, but nobody thought she would be so financially independent, let alone run a business,” Diva tells HerStory.
Diva is the adventurous one of the two daughters, and has lived away from home for eight years in cities like London, Delhi, and Mumbai. But now, she has switched to freelancing from her full-time job as a public relations professional to support her mother’s growing business.
The daughters had been nudging their mother to use her skills in innovating various homemade remedies to almost all kinds of problems and start a business. It was only during the pandemic that she gave in.
“We actually put up the Instagram page, created a few product catalogues first and told her there are the first five orders you have to fulfill and there is no other way. That is how we started,” Diva recalls. As the demand grew, so did their audience community who would also seek Ritu’s advice on various skin-related problems and DIYs.
Selling solely through Instagram at the moment, EverythingMomMade offers around 175 products for hair, skin, and body, all within the price range of Rs 150 and Rs 800.
The brand is not keen on getting listed on ecommerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart as they subject bigger brands and months-old small businesses to the same policy and procedure when it comes to services and delivery fees.
“This would force us to increase the price and we would much rather build a community and satisfy our customers who adore our brand. But you never know when these policies change,” she adds.
Started with an initial investment of Rs 20,000, its revenue now crosses about Rs 1.5 to Rs 2 lakh every month.
Although a relatively young brand, the trio sees huge potential in their homemade recipes when the packaged grooming products often come packed with harmful chemicals.
In FY2020, the male and female grooming market in India was valued at $208.22 million and $226.95 million, respectively, according to TechSci Research.
Products by EverythingMomMade
Challenges and the way forward
Starting a business for the first time during the pandemic has not been easy. Weathering two lockdowns and managing the vendors for small supplies on one hand and customers expecting the orders on the other has been a challenge.
“We are a young brand and do not have the power and relationships like the bigger brands to make vendors move faster for certain orders,” she adds.
They also had to work as the three-women army team out of home and not rush into hiring others as the pandemic still posed a threat.
A year into the business, they hope to grow and reach a wider audience across India in the coming years.