This woman entrepreneur quit her lucrative job to start up in Ayurvedic skincare, rakes in Rs 1 Cr turnover in just a year
Due to the international popularity of yoga in the past decade, Ayurveda, its sister practice, has received enthusiastic global response too. The ancient healing ways of Ayurveda, with wisdom passed down thousands of years, are not just used to treat diseases and ailments. The system of ancient medicine is also finding much uptake in the skincare industry due to the natural properties of its ingredients. In recent years, beauty-conscious consumers are rejecting the chemical-laden skincare products for Ayurvedic alternatives.
Brands like Kama Ayurveda, Khadi, Forest Essentials, and more are dominating the Indian organic and Ayurvedic skincare industry. And stepping into this diverse and competitive market is Chhavi Singh, who founded premium skincare brand Sacred Salts in 2018 in Gurugram.
In an interaction with SMBStory, the 32-year-old entrepreneur explains her reasons to start up in the space.
“I personally wanted to step into the Ayurvedic skincare industry. Though the industry is already brimming with many organic brands, I felt that I can add more value to the skincare segment, understanding the demand of the consumers and delivering authentic products,” Chhavi says.
Edited excerpts of the interview:
SMBStory: Tell us about Sacred Salts and how you started the business.
Chhavi Singh: Sacred Salts is a premium skincare and accessories brand that is launched with the philosophy to bring the use of natural ingredients to our customers. The brand was founded in 2018 in Gurugram out of the passion to serve customers with authentic organic products.
I was earlier working with textile manufacturer Arvind Limited and hold more than 10 years of experience in retail. However, I decided to quit and do something on my own.
In 2016, I started a home decor brand, Nestroots, with a bootstrapped capital of Rs 15 lakh. But since I have always been interested in launching a skincare brand, Sacred Salts was born in 2018.
I started Sacred Salts with Rs 5 crore funding from a Singapore-based company, which also mentors us to handle the operational challenges that we face and helped us formulate market entry strategies.
At present, I am running both the companies and I am glad that I am contributing to the growing Ayurvedic industry in India.
SMBS: How are the products manufactured?
CS: Sacred Salts was launched to bring lesser-known skin elixirs to the fore through products that are rich in nutrients and high on luxury. It all started when I travelled across the length and breadth of India exploring the heritage of Ayurveda. I wanted to ensure these sacred recipes of India reach and benefit everyone.
The products are made at a third-party manufacturing unit in Gurugram and all the Ayurvedic ingredients and essential oils are purchased from Uttarakhand.
At present, we manufacture a total of 50 SKUs including skincare products and beauty and bath accessories. We are also a pioneer in launching milk facewash and scrub in India.
SMBS: What is the market size of your sector and how are you differentiating from the competition?
CS: Beauty-conscious people and skincare lovers are rooting for organic and vegan products as the new must-haves. They are becoming more receptive to know the importance of using chemical-free products with the right ingredients on their body.
Hence, the market is only poised for rapid growth in the coming five years, and is growing at a rate of 13-18 percent every year. The organic skincare market in India is likely to grow two-fold in the next five years and cross the Rs 1,000-crore mark by 2020.
We as a brand follow a different marketing approach and try to educate customers on how Ayurvedic ingredients can benefit their skin. We understand their problem with their existing skincare products and address them through our products. We never miss feedback from the customer because that becomes a driving force to make our brand different from the others.
SMBS: How did the company diversify into so many categories and how are you addressing the challenges?
CS: The skincare market is largely driven by big brands having deep pockets. Taking those players head-on and competing in that segment is one of the biggest challenges.
We always try to retain our customers. Within just six months of operations, we closed FY19 with Rs 1 crore and 20,000 customers.
We sell on ecommerce portals like Nykaa, Flipkart, and Amazon.in and last month we went global by selling on Amazon.com. In just a month we were able to hit a sale of 800 products on Amazon.com.
SMBS: What are your future plans?
CS: If our pilot launch in Amazon.com works, we will plan to launch our products globally by listing them on various other global ecommerce portals. Besides, we are also planning to hit offline shelves in supermarkets and pharmacies in the next financial year by onboarding good distributors.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)