How not to be Super Smelly? This personal care brand for teens has the answer

In 2018, Dipali Mathur and Milan Sharma co-founded Super Smelly, a toxin-free personal care brand for adolescents. It is now witnessing a month-on-month sales growth of 70 percent.

With a variety of fragrances, innovative branding, and easy-to-carry packaging, India’s perfume and deodorant market segment has grown tremendously in the past few years. According to a report by Techsci Research, the market stood at over $970 million in 2019, projected to grow at a CAGR of over 13 percent to surpass $2 billion by 2025 on the back of rapid urbanisation.

The deodorant sector is also making progress in the baby care segment. However, there are hardly any options made for teenagers or adolescents, who have to rely on either using baby care products or those meant for adults.

Dipali Mathur, Cofounder, Super Smelly

Dipali Mathur was on a quest for a deodorant for her teen daughter and realised the lack of age-suitable toxin-free personal care products for adolescents.

In a conversation with SMBStory, Dipali says, 

“Adolescence is the formative years of life, and there are needs and demands of teenagers that we cannot ignore. While understanding the needs of my own daughter, I found that there is no brand catering to this age group. I was already running a business, and decided to research this segment.”

In 2018, with her friend Milan Sharma, Dipali launched Super Smelly in New Delhi, a Made-Safe, 100 percent toxin-free products brand, under Natturel and Kool Pvt Ltd

Tapping the untouched market

Super Smelly was launched to offer healthy and toxin-free alternatives in personal care products to adolescents. With no brands specifically catering to this age group, Super Smelly aims to further the toxin-free movement, building a healthy future for the next generation.

But why Super Smelly?

Dipali says, “We wanted a name with a high recall value. There are many deodorant brands with a fancy name lying on shelves. We didn’t want to be one of those. We wanted teenagers to connect with our range of high-end fragrances.”

Thus, the duo handed over a list of names to 20 teens, who chose ‘Super Smelly’. 

At present, Super Smelly has around 18 SKUs across deodorants, face masks, face washes, hand rubs, moisturisers, lip balms, and more. The company secured its first round of funding within a year of its launch, led by Singapore-based Lyte Investment Bank. 

Making toxin-free products for teenagers

As the brand is still too young to have its own manufacturing setup, Super Smelly products are manufactured at third-party facilities located across Baddi, Manesar, Ahmedabad, and other parts of India. However, the R&D is done in-house. 

Dipali explains, “We start with the list of all negative ingredients, which we do not approve of in our formulations. Then, tentative and safe formulations are made and sent to Safe Cosmetics Australia, which grants approval based on certain parameters — Made-Safe, 100 percent toxin-free, vegan, and allergen-free.”

Once the brand gets these four certifications, it sends the formulations to a French lab to get them tested for suitability for its target customers, and other tests like pH balance, etc. This is to ensure that the products are not only safe but also effective. 

Super Smelly's product range

After these tests, manufacturing is initiated. When it comes to adding in fragrance, the brand uses IFRA-compliant fragrances. The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) is an international body, which checks every fragrance for toxicity. 

“We only use fragrances that are completely free from any toxins and allergens. The outcome is that the product is not only effective but also 100 percent toxin-free,” says Dipali. 

Super Smelly is available across all major ecommerce channels, including Purplle, Nykaa, SMITTEN, Bigbasket, Amazon, and others. It is also available in modern trade stores in Delhi, including Modern Bazaar, Krishna Mart, and WHSmith. The brand also serves US and UK customers through Amazon and is growing 70 percent month-on-month.

Challenges and the way ahead

According to Dipali, Super Smelly’s target market size is worth Rs 1,200 crore.

About challenges in the business, Dipali says that the brand’s target group (teenagers) has never been directly spoken to, and has never had a formal platform to voice their opinions to the brands they use. Thus, to reach them (convincing the parents) has been a selling challenge for Super Smelly. 

But, the fact that this generation cares for animals and the environment has helped the brand resonate with it and gave Super Smelly an audience with them.

COVID-19 has also brought in new challenges for its offline sales. But the brand’s D2C strategy and online presence helped it compensate.

Super Smelly aims to be a D2C brand and building an online presence will be a priority for the next four years. However, the company understands the advantages of being omnipresent to achieve scale. It plans to now focus on expanding online and offline across the country.

Super Smelly also wants to expand its horizon to Canada and Dubai this year through Amazon, and launch a range of hair care products.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta