This woman entrepreneur’s skincare brand grew 5X during the pandemic and won Rs 75 lakh on Shark Tank India
Aishwarya Biswas has lived in five countries, working at senior management levels before launching her own skincare brand, Auli Lifestyle, in June 2017. She completed her graduation with a double major in marketing from University of Bridgeport in the US, and followed it up with an MBA at SP Jain Institute of Management alongside a short stint at the London School of Economics.
A trained image consultant from the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, Aishwarya is a well-known face in the beauty industry, and was the winner of Lakme Sananda Tilotamma. Once she started her skincare line, she also completed cosmetology diplomas online to understand the field better.
began as a small business at home and has now evolved into a full lifestyle line of skincare, hair care, body care, and wellness products sold all over the country. She says the products are a combination of Ayurveda and active modern science.
The letters of the word Auli are coined from the words, aﬀordable, unique, lush, and Indian – the tenets on which the brand is based. It is a cruelty-free, and an anti-harmful anti-chemical skincare brand, that concentrates on sustainability.
“After living in five countries I wanted to come back to where my mum and dad were, in Kolkata, and I quickly realised I could be living anywhere but my business won’t suﬀer. I started with superior quality Ayurvedic extracts, internationally trending ingredients, emulsiﬁers, harmless preservatives, and made a few formulations, which were an instant hit,” she tells HerStory.
“I started making quality educational content, which made people buy into the brand. After trying, they kept coming back. For the ﬁrst time they knew what they were applying on their skin and why. They understood the importance of discipline in skin science. For once they saw real results. And our journey began… changing the skincare game, one person at a time,” she adds.
With Auli, Aishwarya has worked to curate the six steps of skincare, focusing on the challenges of the environment, lifestyle, the sun, and other factors that affect the health of the skin.
Changing the face of skincare
Running a single-founder business, Aishwarya says she saw the pandemic as an opportunity to change the face of skincare.
“When the lockdown started, we instantly focused on conducting educational Facebook and Instagram Lives, interactive workshops with the founder and other professional mentors. Auli takes pride in building relationships, and online consultations became the topmost priority. With struggles, came solutions, and our enthusiasm to make a diﬀerence helped us to take the business volume up by 5X during pandemic times, and we hope to grow even further,” she says.
The brand is run by a team of women and Aishwarya says they are proud believers of ‘vocal for local’ with part of the profits going to families of Honey Hunters in the Sunderbans.
The skincare range targets men and women between the ages of 22 and 45. Its revenue comes from online sales, marketplaces, retail outlets, B2B, gifting and white label.
Auli, which began with 10 customers, now claims to have over 50,000 customers worldwide for its skincare, haircare, and overall wellness products.
“Our products have been received very well. Our customers depend solely on the Auli range of quality organic products for their skin care, hair care and overall wellness.”
While Aishwarya agrees it’s a crowded market with many new brands, she believes the size is also large enough to make a mark.
“Our strategy is to convince customers to actually live through the entire journey of each jar of skincare and understand the beneﬁts so that they can keep coming back. We already have a repeat customer rate of 75 percent + and that is an unheard-of number in this industry. We plan to continue that spree,” she adds.
In 2019, Auli raised Rs 1 crore but then had to face the pandemic.
“Our goal then was survival. But we not only survived; we grew 5X from 2019 and now our ARR is Rs 2 crore-plus for this ﬁnancial year,” she says.
Surviving the Sharks
Aishwarya also pitched on Shark Tank India and received Rs 75 lakh funding for 15 percent equity from investor Namita Thapar.
She describes the pitching experience as phenomenal.
“I think the minute I saw Namita (we were literally wearing identical clothes), I knew I had my soul sister. When she tried the products and understood what I had come there to do, I thought come what may, she would support this little dream of mine to take the value and necessity of skincare to all women and men out there.”
This round of funding will help Aishwarya to “be seen and be available”.
“Nykaa and Amazon will be the primary place of focus. We will also slowly move into retail distribution. Our aim is for a 10X growth in revenue this year so that we can live up to our promise to shareholders,” Aishwarya says.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai