Tying up with a 100-year-old pharmacy, Kama Ayurveda clocks a revenue of Rs 110 Cr

Started in 2002, Delhi-based beauty and skincare brand Kama Ayurveda is well-known for its use of natural ingredients and chemical-free products.
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After running a graphic design firm for nine years, Vivek Sahni decided to start a brand that incorporated Ayurvedic formulations and fit them into a modern lifestyle.

He felt that modern society was sitting idle on the science of Ayurveda and Indians were practising very little of its ancient teachings and learnings.

In 2002, along with his existing business partner Dave Chang and two new partners Rajshree Pathy and Vikram Goyal, Vivek launched Kama Ayurveda, a popular personal care brand known for its use of natural ingredients and chemical-free beauty products.

A natural approach

To manufacture its products, Kama Ayurveda tied up with 100-year-old Arya Vaidya Pharmacy of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, using the pharmacy’s unadulterated formulations and natural ingredients from local gardens.

Vivek Sahni, CEO and Co-founder, Kama Ayurveda



“The philosophy behind Kama Ayurveda was to provide authentic, time-tested and effective Ayurvedic beauty solutions, sans chemicals and added fragrances. Today, we are a family of around 340 employees and have recorded close to Rs 110 annual turnover,” Vivek tells SMBStory.

Arya Vaidya Pharmacy and Kama Ayurveda work with local forest communities, small-scale farmers, and artisans to source the natural ingredients.

Initial challenges

Kama Ayurveda started with nine personal care products, and was relatively unknown in the market. It was retailing at Good Earth, The Oberoi’s beauty salons, and The Taj Khazana stores, but its numbers weren’t huge.

“We decided to address our initial hiccups by expanding our product line and reaching more people. We began making Ayurvedic products for skin, hair, and body, and initially promoted them through word-of-mouth,” he says.

It took 10 years of brand building and hard work for Kama Ayurveda to get to a stage where it could open its first exclusive store for its products in Khan Market, New Delhi.

“Next, we wanted to ensure our presence was felt digitally. We launched our website in 2014 and created accounts across social media platforms,” Vivek adds.

A Kama Ayurveda store display



Rapid expansion

Since then, Kama Ayurveda, riding the resurgent wave of Ayurvedic products in the market, expanded rapidly by opening stores across the country. It also landed multiple collaborations and events to reach a wider audience.

“Puig, the Spanish fashion and beauty conglomerate, invested in Kama Ayurveda in 2019. We also won acclamations for our products such as Kumkumadi Miraculous Beauty Fluid, Bringadi Intensive Hair Treatment Oil, Pure Rose Water, and Rejuvenating and Brightening Ayurvedic Night Cream,” says Vivek.

At present, Kama Ayurveda retails out of 56 standalone stores, 45 shop-in-shops as well as hotels and spas. It also sells online on its website and through ecommerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, etc.

While its primary customers were women, the brand is now seeing an increasing number of men and teenagers forming a sizable portion of its target audience.

Kama Ayurveda's Kumkumadi Scrub, Rose Jasmine Face Cleanser, Pure Rose Water and Rejuvenating and Brightening Night Cream



Ayurveda’s comeback

Over the last few years, the ancient healing ways of Ayurveda have re-entered the wellness and beauty space, spearheaded by several brands besides Kama Ayurveda. Others like Himalaya Herbals, Khadi Natural, Vaadi Herbals, Forest Essentials and Biotique have also helped in the resurrection of Ayurveda.

“In addition to being a brand certified cruelty-free by PETA, we stay ahead of them [competition] by continually following our core values. We only use natural ingredients and unadulterated Ayurvedic formulas to create formulations that provide lasting efficacy,” Vivek says.

Kama Ayurveda also propagates the learnings of yoga, which helps the brand “further the learnings and ways in which everyday living can become more holistic”.

COVID-19 impact and future plans

In February 2020, a Research And Markets report estimated the Ayurveda market in India would grow from Rs 30,000 crore in 2018 to Rs 71,087 crore by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of around 16.06 percent.

Additionally, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ayurvedic sector is seeing a growing demand due to its holistic approach to healing and immunity building.

Kama Ayurveda's gifting range



However, before Kama Ayurveda could cater to this demand, it had to save itself from the immediate impact of the lockdown.

“Initially, our operations were at the bare minimum and most of our stores remained shut. We did away with testers and out-of-home advertising. Then, we moved to the digital front to communicate with our audiences,” Vivek says.

Kama Ayurveda introduced online Ayurvedic beauty consultations and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) calling systems to showcase its products.

Once the lockdown restrictions were relaxed, online orders resumed and the brand also began opening its stores.

Frequent deep sanitisation, demarcations to maintain social distancing, having a limited number of people in stores, and zero contact payments allowed Kama Ayurveda to resume its offline business.

“Kama Ayurveda will try and become as accessible to consumers as possible. We will reach them actively through our stores and online marketplaces and consultations. Our aim is to become one of the finest beauty brands in the world,” says Vivek.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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