How this woman entrepreneur survived a Rs 1 Cr loss and led her eco-friendly baby care brand to Rs 3.5 Cr turnover
Rishu Gandhi, Founder & Head Brand Strategist, Mother Sparsh
Rishu Gandhi was working with Infosys in 2015 when a lunch-time discussion with a colleague changed her life path. The 29-year-old entrepreneur is an IT professional by studies, however, a grievance by a mother for her child developing rashes through wipes made Rishu took a turn in her career path.
“I belong to a business family and always had a desire to start something of my own. One day, my colleague was complaining about the polyester wipes that resulted in rashes on her child’s skin. That led me to research the baby products market,” she says.
For the next year, Rishu thoroughly researched and analysed the baby products market and found a huge gap in the segment. She soon realised that there was a dire need for baby care products that were eco-friendly and organic.
Hitting the baby care products industry
Coming from a business background, Rishu decided to discuss her plan with her father and close relatives who were already in the same segment.
“I wanted to do eco-friendly products, but I did not have any clue on how to begin. My father was the first person I approached and he supported me. I told some of my relatives about my plan and they introduced me to a third-party manufacturer. That was when my new journey began,” Rishu recalls.
In 2016, Rishu launched Mother Sparsh brand as a bootstrapped, in Mohali, Punjab and put forth her first offering: one of India’s first eco-friendly, 98 percent water-based wipes that are biodegradable. The zero-polyester wipes claimed to offer the purest and most gentle care to babies.
Rishu says Mother Sparsh’s products are skin-friendly and Ayurvedic in nature, crafted to protect a baby’s sensitive skin from redness, rashes, rashes, boils, allergies, dryness, and various other problems.
She says, “A baby’s skin is delicate and sensitive, and doctors advise against using strong perfume and chemical-based products. Mother Sparsh’s water-based wipes are made of natural plant-based fabric, purified water, and are velvet-soft.”
The products, at present, get manufactured in a third-party manufacturing unit in Ludhiana, and raw materials like the fabric for the wipes are sourced from Gujarat and other places.
The downfall and the bounceback
Rishu planned to hit the retail segment soon after the launch of Mother Sparsh. However, she didn’t realise that it would be a mammoth endeavour in a market where major brands like Himalaya, Johnson & Johnson, Chicco, and others were dominating.
She says she deployed around Rs 1 crore on marketing her products and occupied shelf spaces in Gujarat and Rajasthan but to no avail.
“I jumped into the retail industry with full confidence in my product, and that was the biggest blunder I made. I forgot that there were other dominating brands too who wouldn’t let me survive. I wasted almost Rs 1 Crore and that was the biggest lesson I learned,” she says.
After suffering this huge loss, Rishu switched her marketing model and decided to try product sampling. The company provided free samples to target customers and educated them about their products. In the same year, Mother Sparsh was also recognised by market research source researchandmarkets.com as one of the first brands to launch water-based wipes; this rekindled the spirit of entrepreneurship in her.
Product range by Mother Sparsh
Since then, in a span of 2.5 years, the company now sells products worth Rs 40-45 lakh per month through on-counter sales and online orders on Amazon, Flipkart, FirstCry, Paytm, and more. The company records an annual turnover of Rs 3.5 crore.
Diversifying the product portfolio
After taking this big leap, Rishu decided to diversify the company’s product portfolio. The brand launched tummy roll-ons (a concoction made of heeng, which is traditionally used in India to tackle stomachaches in babies), insect repellents, cooking oil, and more. Last year, the brand also launched 99 percent water-based wipes.
There’s no brand that has launched a cooking oil for kids. We thought to innovate, and launched a blend of olive and rice bran oil for kids. It possesses high nutritional value and is good for their health,” Rishu says.
The company’s product portfolio also includes laundry detergent, liquid cleanser, massage oil, and more.
In the future, Rishu has plans to diversify by launching more products. The brand has plans to launch 15 more products in the next 45 days.
“We are also planning to hit the retail segment in the years to come,” Rishu says.