Meet the co-sisters from Indore behind vegan wellness startup Kimirica
Kimirica Lifestyle, a luxury and 100% vegan self-care brand, offers a range of products, from premium bath and body products to plant-powered skincare and candles.
Wednesday March 22, 2023,
6 min Read
- Launched in 2019, Kimirica Lifestyle is a luxury and 100% vegan self-care brand.
- COVID-19 pushed Co-founders Rica Jain and Kimi Jain to focus on Kimirica Group’s retail venture.
- Today, Kimirica Hunter International (the parent company’s JV with Canada-based Hunter Amenities) and Kimirica Lifestyle together record a turnover of around Rs 600 crore a year.
Like thousands of other businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic tanked sales of, an Indore-based startup manufacturing premium hotel toiletries since 2012.
Co-founders Rica Jain and Kimi Jain, who are also co-sisters, saw an opportunity amid the chaos and decided to focus their energy on Kimirica Lifestyle, a retail subsidiary of the Kimirica Group.
Launched in 2019, Kimirica Lifestyle is a luxury and 100% vegan self-care brand. It offers a range of products from premium bath and body products to plant-powered skincare and candles.
Rica says the idea to launch Kimirica emerged when she visited a hotel with her husband, Rajat Jain. The duo noticed that the single-use toiletries provided in the rooms were all imported. After much research, they found an opportunity in locally-made custom self-care products in India.
Rica and Rajat partnered with Mohit and Kimi Jain to launch Kimirica, which later signed a joint venture with Canadian hospitality product manufacturer Hunter Amenities in 2017, from where it gets its complete name, ‘Kimirica Hunter International’.
Initially, Rica and Kimi wanted to start a retail venture but decided to focus on the B2B business due to insufficient funds.
When the B2B segment took off, Rica and Kimi pursued their dreams and launched Kimirica Lifestyle.
“Guests used to call us to ask if we provide the same products at their own place. That feedback really motivated us to not let go our dream to enter the retail space someday,” Rica Jain recalls.
Today, Kimirica Hunter International and Kimirica Lifestyle together record a turnover of around Rs 600 crore a year.
All in the family
Kimi says she lived in a small village near Indore and learned the ropes of running a business after watching her father trade with farmers
After her primary education, she shifted to Indore with her mother in 1991 as her grandmother was determined to send her to the city for proper education as she could not get the same.
“I have always been surrounded by hardworking women like my grandmother or my mother and that has inspired me a lot,” Kimi says.
Rica was born and raised in Indore by her grandmother. She says her father worked in a textile mill, and later her parents opened a bakery, where she learned the basics of running a retail business.
In 2009, Rica married Rajat, and Kimi married Rajat’s younger brother Mohit in 2011. The co-sisters’ common passion of running a business drove them to soon become business partners.
While Kimi has an MBA in E-Commerce, and heads the brand experience, Rica holds a Master’s in Pharmacy in Medicinal Chemistry and is the head of Quality Assurance, System and Process Optimisation at Kimirica Lifestyle.
The brand offers 100% vegan bath and body products such as shampoo, shower gel, lotions, conditioner, and soaps, and vegan skincare products like serums, face water, face creams, sunscreen, and more. The brand also offers a wide range of vegan soy candles. So far, it has more than 250 SKUs.
Kimi says the startup has 600 workers, out of which 80% are women.
With almost 75% of sales generated online, the brand is present on online marketplaces like Amazon, Nykaa, Flipkart, and Myntra, alongside its own website.
The brand currently has retail outlets at the airports of Mumbai, Indore, and Hyderabad. It recently opened the doors to two stores– its flagship store in Phoenix Citadel, central India’s largest shopping mall, and its first store in Delhi NCR, located in Select Citywalk, Saket.
Kimirica has 15+ stockists in cities like Kolkata, Guwahati, Ahmedabad, Siliguri, and Bengaluru.
The brand's tie-ups with Shopper’s Stop and Nykaa has helped it cement its offline presence in metro cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Indore. Kimirica's offline presence account for 25% of its sales.
The brand sources and develops all its primary products within 100 kilometres of its Indore manufacturing plant which has encouraged local suppliers and small partners, developing an efficient supply chain.
Kimirica lifestyle shares the same space as Forest Essentials and Kama Ayurveda in the Indian market. But the co-sisters believe that the array of products and the international touch the brand brings makes it stand out amongst competitors.
“We take utmost care of the quality of products because our name is attached to it. It does take a lot of energy, persistence and passion to create something that you love,” Kimi says.
With a successful B2B company, the co-sisters were aware of the hurdles in setting up a venture. However, establishing a retail arm was still a challenge.
Rica recalls being doubtful if the business would work as they had never sold their products directly to customers. “After four or five months of starting the brand, we just had 2,500 customers and the numbers made us more doubt our decision of the retail venture but the good thing is we never lost hope,” Rica says, adding, “We had too unlearn a lot and start from scratch to build the brand.”
The brand, in 2019, had set up a kiosk in hotel Mariott and a retail store at the Indore airport when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, leaving the brand with only online marketplaces to sell. However, the duo believes that the lockdown lent them some time for extensive research to understand the market correctly and create an online presence.
The duo also believes that the lack of exposure to premium products in the Indian market, especially in Tier-II cities, was a roadblock to getting many sales.
The way ahead
With a customer base of over 5 lakh customers nationwide, the co-sisters plan to take the brand global in the coming years.
Kimirica Lifestyle aims to expand its offline presence to 100 stores and kiosks by the end of FY 23-24, many of which will be in Tier-II cities. It also plans to open a new large-scale manufacturing plant in Indore.
Kimirica Hunter International is a global brand, with 1500 hotels like Marriott, Hyatt, Weston, Sheraton Hilton under its belt. It is present in 22-plus countries and the founders aim to expand the business to the Middle East this year.
Kimirica Hunter International is self-funded but has a joint venture partner, Hunter Amenities, whereas Kimirica Lifetsyle is looking forward to raising series A funding in the coming months.
“Passion is the key to unlocking your potential. Decide to pursue your dreams and take small steps towards them, for the world is truly your stage,” Kimi says.
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti