Endorsed by Vaani Kapoor and Preity Zinta, Emmbros Overseas competes with MamaEarth, Wow Skin Science
Sahil Mehta’s entrepreneurial journey began by following in the footsteps of his father, Ramesh Mehta. Sahil’s father was a Panchkula-based manufacturer of pharma products such as oils and tablets, who also had knowledge of Ayurveda, popularly known as the ‘kitchen science’.
Initially, Sahil started trading the products produced by his father to the US markets. In 2007, he named the company as Emmbros Overseas. The tipping point came in 2015 when he realised he wanted to start something of his own for the Indian market. Sahil says he was keen to explore the cosmetics industry - his forte.
“I had a vision to create natural and premium products backed by organic raw materials and Ayurveda,” Sahil says.
Today, Emmbros Overseas is the parent company and houses five separate cosmetic brands that cater to all ages, genders, and groups. The five brands are St. Botanica, Oriental Botanics, Man Arden, Mom & World, and Muscle XP.
Since Sahil’s father was not manufacturing cosmetics, he had to start from the ground level. He began by setting up a research team and tied up with manufacturing units across the country. One of the first things the company launched was Vitamin C and other natural products in the skincare and haircare segment.
Recalling the initial days, Sahil says everything was a challenge - from sourcing raw materials to production and even hiring the right people for the job.
“Panchkula is a very small city. Acquiring skilled manpower was a challenge. In the early days, I had to make efforts to train them in running the business.”
This was also a time when ecommerce was just picking steam in the country and other hurdles included setting up supply chains and streamlining operations.
Today, the company has sizable operations. It has tied up with 10 manufacturing units across India. It is present in the offline market, in Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Chennai through Health & Glow stores. The products are also available on digital marketplaces like Nykaa, Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Paytm, ShopClues, and many more.
The company offers 400 SKUs; it has tied up with Amazon for 27 warehouses and has five warehouses of its own.
Last year, the company clocked a turnover of Rs 67 crore. It is aiming to reach Rs 100 crore this year.
A consumer-driven company
“We are a customer-first company,” says Sahil. The USP of the brand lies in the fact that it has something for everyone.
“Men are looking for products that cater to their type and even want the packaging to reflect masculine sensibilities. So for them we have a brand like Man Arden. Mothers need something gentler for their babies, and we have products under Mom & World for them as well.”
Sahil says each of their brands proffers something unique. St Botanica and Oriental Botanics offer products made out of natural ingredients, including herbal extracts and cold-pressed oils.
All products are priced between Rs 300 and Rs 1,500, and the average selling price is Rs 500. Sahil says that all products at Emmbros are dermatologically tested and PETA certified.
The growing skincare industry
According to a study by Research and Markets, the skincare industry is “considered as one of the rapidly growing dynamic markets in India”. The report says it is poised to grow at a CAGR of nearly 20 percent for the forecast period of 2016-2020, with majority of the demand coming from North India.
India has seen the growth of numerous homegrown and international brands. So far, brands like Emami, Himalaya, Hindustan Unilever, and L’Oreal have dominated the market. However, with the proliferation of internet and rise of ecommerce in India, several homegrown brands across niche categories like Ayurveda and organic spaces are making a mark in this extremely crowded market.
Emmbros Overseas directly competes with brands like Mom & Co, Wow Skin Science, and MamaEarth in the Indian market. It also indirectly competes with luxury brands such as Forest Essentials and Kama Ayurveda because of the gap in their pricing, but similarity in products offered.
Further, Sahil says the trend nowadays is to support Made in India brands.
“Brands like L’Oreal, Pantene, and Head and Shoulders are also trying to switch to the silicon-free and sulphate-free ranges. They have realised that consumers are looking for chemical-free products.”
He says this is the reason for the boom in organic and herbal products, adding that much still needs to be done in the natural products space.
“Products that use neem, tea tree, and aloe vera are still scarce in India. We need to innovate and create more products using these ingredients, which have quite a demand in the market,” Sahil says.
Plans for the future
Sahil says the company was started with Rs 5 lakh investment, and has not raised any external funding till now.
He says: “My father always taught me to use my own money for expansion to avoid pressure to repay a VC or other investor.”
However, he adds they are not completely closed to the idea of funding and will look for it after six months, primarily for expansion and scaling up.
Going forward, Sahil says they want to invest 5 to 10 percent more in marketing. The company has also onboarded celebrities like Tara Sutaria, Vaani Kapoor, and Preity Zinta as brand ambassadors, and has revamped its website in the wake of COVID-19.
Emmbros Overseas plans to set up a warehouse in the US to make its presence felt in the global market. Right now, it is listed on Amazon US.
Edited by Megha Reddy