Launched amid the pandemic, this clean beauty D2C brand is betting on sustainable products

Delhi-based D2C brand The Switch Fix, a clean and conscious personal care brand that promises safe, sustainable products, is targeting Gen Z and millennials.

Launched amid the pandemic, this clean beauty D2C brand is betting on sustainable products

Thursday January 20, 2022,

5 min Read

Delhi-based friends and colleagues Rhea Shukla and Abhishek Kumar found the capital’s pollution problem tough to deal with. Abhishek would go for a run every morning wearing a pollution mask and Rhea, ironically, did yoga in a polluted area. 

“Our obsession for wellbeing was inevitable. It wasn’t a single Eureka moment, but a series of them: ‘how can we expect to be healthy if we continue to degrade our surroundings?’, 'how can we expect the product to be safe if it comes packaged in something unsafe?’, ’how can we expect the product to work if it doesn’t consider the effects of climate change on our scalp, hair, and skin?’,” Rhea says.

These questions and the quest to seek answers led the duo to launch led the duo to start D2C skin and beauty care brand The Switch Fix (TSF). 

Switch and Fix

The Switch Fix is a clean and conscious personal care brand that promises safe, sustainable products to its “Gen Z and millennial” tribe. All products are plant-based, toxin-free, cruelty-free, and environmentally-friendly, and claim to be effective against new-age stressors such as pollution, heat, and humidity.  

The D2C brand began its journey a little before the pandemic and gained much love from its early customers. However, the first challenge was finding existing manufacturers in India to create truly sustainable products or, at the very least, conduct thorough research. 

The team soon understood that they had to get involved in R&D and manufacturing themselves. 

Rhea’s background in chemistry helped lay the foundation for their own lineup. It took them two years of extensive research on ingredients, formulations, and concerns to arrive at their present range. 

Abhishek Kumar

Abhishek Kumar, Co-founder, The Switch Fix

The COVID challenge 

“We were about to launch when the pandemic hit. The sudden shift in conversation from climate change and action to the pandemic made it challenging for us to encourage individuals to focus on sustainability,” Rhea says. 

“Our agility enabled us to quickly bring attention back to the immediate benefits of our range: solving hair fall and dandruff caused by pollution, frizziness caused by extreme heat and humidity, etc. By offering customers fixes that actually worked, TSF showed resilience through the pandemic.” 

Rhea says the sustainability concept is very vaguely and insufficiently defined in the beauty industry.

The challenges turned out to be opportunities to build a brand that claims to be true to its claims – offering clean, conscious, and effective products against new-age stressors. Over a year, the team has grown the product range from eight to 30. 

“While TSF satiated the desire for clean products, it has also tapped into a much more intrinsic desire that the conscious consumer has - the ability to secure their and their loved one’s future. Gen Z and millennials know what climate anxiety feels like; they understand that there is a link between the rising pollution, heat, humidity, and stress that has affected their scalp, skin, and hair. TSF makes three promises to their customer; clean, conscious and effective products even in the face of new-age stressors,” Rhea says.  

Market and the future

As a digital-first D2C brand, TSF sells through their online store, which offers their entire range including products co-created with Blue Tokai, Goodmylk, Tea Trunk, and other brands. The products, priced between Rs 450 and Rs 800, are also available on other ecommerce platforms. The average basket size is Rs 1,000. 

An Avendus report says India’s D2C business will be worth $100 billion in the next five years. 

India has as many as 600 D2C brands – a number that will significantly grow in the next five years, and more than 16 brands with an annual turnover of more than $60 million. Some of the D2C startups in the beauty segment include Juicy Chemistry, Mamaearth, Piligrim, Plum, Earth Rhythm, etc. 

But the founders believe the market opportunity is huge. 

The team raised a pre-seed round through friends and family in 2020 to establish the product R&D “on the back of which we launched our first range of products”. 

In 2021, they raised $230,000 in seed funding to expand their range and build further traction, with Venture Catalysts and 9Unicorns leading the round. This round also saw investments coming from some stalwarts who have been actively rooting for sustainable businesses. 

“Apoorv Garg, ex-Tesla and a mentor to various sustainable businesses; an d Ajay Yadav, Founder of Roomi and Co-founder, Simplified from NYC; are just some of the few actively mentoring us to scale up,” Rhea says. 

TSF  is now planning to come out with a never-seen-before product category in the Indian clean beauty landscape - hair Mask bars. 

“This is just one of many product innovations we’ve planned for this year. We plan to actively collaborate with mainstream brands to bring sustainability into the mainstream,” Rhea says. 

The D2C brand is available on many online and offline channels, and further plans to expand their distribution channels to make sustainable products more easily accessible to a larger audience. 

“One of the ways we aim to do this is by tapping the B2B space and helping other brands from various industries also take a step towards being sustainable,” Rhea says. 

Edited by Teja Lele