From struggling to earn Rs 25,000 to a turnover of Rs 200 Cr, the story of Nature's Essence

Started by husband-wife duo 20 years ago, Nature's Essence got a funding of Rs 200 crore from Samara Capital, which bought a majority stake in it.

In the global market of cosmetic products (expected to reach a market value of $805.61 billion by 2023) despite giants like L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Revlon Inc, and more, it is interesting to see many smaller Indian brands thrive in the Indian market. 

The consumer is spoiled for choice when it comes to personal care and cosmetic products. (Image: Shutterstock)

India is the fastest growing market for cosmetic products and is all set to explode to $20 billion by 2025.

It is estimated that the annual retail sale of cosmetics and other personal care products is growing in the range of 15 to 20 percent annually, placing the domestic demand as one of the fastest growing in the world. 

According to Goldstein Research, this demand is driven by the “high personal disposable income of people, rising awareness towards body aesthetics, coupled with increasing demand for herbal cosmetic products.”

And satiating this growing demand are scores of local brands that compete with the biggies in the market. 

Started from the dining table of Raj Kumar Nanda and his wife Neelam Nanda 20 years ago, Nature’s Essence is going places today. Last year, venture fund Samara Capital bought a majority stake in the Delhi-based company by investing Rs 200 crore in it.

Marketing hack

SMBStory met Neelam Nanda in Delhi at an exhibition where she had set up a stall. Recalling the early years when she and her husband started the business, Neelam says she did not know a thing about marketing.

Neelam Nanda

However, she says she picked one aspect of marketing and that was keeping a stall at exhibitions. She remembers starting out with a stall space of nine meters, “and we then came to a stage where we took 200 sq meters,” she adds.  

Interestingly, she feels when the company managers started travelling by air instead of taking a bus or a train, it was then that she knew they were sorted as a company. “Jab mere managers havai jahaj mein sair karne lage tubh mujhe laga aab yeh apne pairo par khadi ho gayi hai,” says Neelam. 

Besides continuing to sell through various exhibitions across the country, Nature’s Essence products are sold in over two lakh retail outlets and 40,000 salons through a tight network of distributors.

According to the company statement, it generates sales of Rs 150 crore and is growing at 15 percent per annum. At present, the company has four manufacturing units and employs around 1,500 people. 

Sharing revenue numbers, Neelam says their annual turnover is Rs 200 crore, but when they started 20 years ago, they would wonder whether they would even get Rs 25,000.

Slow and steady

Nature’s Essence manufactures face care products, including facial kits, face washes, creams, gels, and lotions.

Neelam says before their business journey started, both her husband and she were working in different jobs. “First, my husband left his job and then when I saw that it had gained momentum, I also quit mine to support him in the business,” says Neelam.

Raj Kumar Nanda is an MSc in Chemistry and worked in a marketing role. Neelam says he had the experience in both the manufacturing of beauty products as well as marketing, and hence he decided to start Nature’s Essence.

The company today exports to Sri Lanka, Nepal, Dubai, and there are plans to cover a few more countries.


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