Beauty business: Here's how certified organic brand Juicy Chemistry aims to rejuvenate during the lockdown
Have you ever tried a number of beauty and cosmetic products on your skin, only to be let down time and again? Are you unable to control breakouts, oily skin, and dryness, and do you feel the suppleness and natural glow of your skin being sucked away by heat and humidity of summer?
Or at times, are you burning a hole in your pocket by buying expensive premium products, that come with even costlier post makeup cleansers and face wipes that get over in a flash.
Juicy Chemistry, a home-grown brand, which aims to provide, simplified and healthy skincare is the way to go. It is stress free, additive free, and takes into account the most important factor: your skin.
A certified organic cosmetic company, started by husband and wife duo Pritesh and Megha Asher, the products are crafted with care, taking into account consumers needs and using 100% natural ingredients, no preservatives or synthetic oils, while staying completely sustainable.
Pritesh and Megha Asher Founders of Organic brand Juicy Chemistry.
In collaboration with Ecocert (France) and COSMOS V3 Standard, Juicy chemistry has a 100+ products that range from face washes, scrubs, masks, dry shampoos, lotions, deodorants, aromatherapy to lip care products amongst others.
In an exclusive interview with YS Weekender Pritesh Asher, co-founder of Juicy Chemistry talks about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the beauty sector, the products that will be trending in the upcoming months, and why going organic with cosmetics is the way to go.
YSW: How do you feel the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown is affecting the beauty industry/sector currently?
PA: Being an essential commodity, personal care products will not take that big a hit. Skincare and hair care products provide a therapeutic effect, so the idea of ‘revenge buying’ will not be surprising. The pandemic does, however, put the focus on home-grown brands that need the support of consumers.
This feeling of shopping local (Juicy Chemistry is proudly Made in India) is a great push towards our economy and is unlikely to die away anytime soon.
YSW: How do you feel the sector will change in the months ahead and years to come?
PA: Products such as surface cleansers and hand sanitisers will definitely be in greater demand. The pandemic has really hammered down the concept of hygiene and that will make a huge impact.
There is also the matter of ensuring contactless delivery and making sure there is no contamination of the product. Manufacturing units will also have to follow social distancing norms and follow much more stringent guidelines and directions.
Organic Green Apple water mist and Tea Tree peppermint powder.
YSW: What is Juicy Chemistry doing currently to ease the situation for clients, and how are you selling your products?
PA: We began operations just after the lockdown was initially announced. We were able to procure a licence to manufacture hand sanitisers and, as responsible corporate citizens, we have been providing the same to frontline workers, healthcare personnel, police personnel as well as other first-responders.
We strongly believe that, even though these are tough times, it is our duty to extend our support to the brave men and women who are combating this pandemic and keeping us all safe. Since the 4th of May, we’ve been taking and fulfilling orders online.
We have experienced some difficulties since our courier and delivery partners are not operating at full strength. Our customers are our top priority and to that extent we are actively communicating with them, keeping customers constantly apprised about the status of their orders and what the problems we’re facing are and what sort of delivery delays can be expected.
Through our mobile app, consumers can check whether their pin codes are serviceable or not and what sort of delivery date they can expect from us.
Presently, our products are being sold online through our official website and through our official distribution partners. Being in an orange to green zone, we have also opened up our retail stores and are accessible through them as well.
YSW: Since you currently have a vast product range, what are some of your best sellers?
PA: Our face care and hair care products are doing quite well. Our facial oils are big fan favourites. They can be used to treat problems such as hyper pigmentation, sun damage, acne scarring, dryness, signs of ageing and acne-control amongst other things.
Our lip butters, particularly our Blood Orange Lip Butter, as well as our toners, particularly our Bulgarian Rose Water Toning Mist, and our shampoos and masks are a big hit with consumers.
Our Chilly, Black Seed and Horsetail Hair Oil have done particularly well. We’ve received great feedback from our consumers on the positive results they’ve experienced from consistently using the hair oil. The top 40 of our products make up 80% of our revenue.
Try the Grapefruit and Patchouli deodorant stick or the plantain and Bamboo shampoo during the summer months.
YSW: Since Juicy Chemistry is a sustainable brand, and you believe in using natural ingredients, can you elaborate on special ingredients used in your products?
PA: We are 100% certified organic by ECOCERT in accordance with COSOMOS standards. The ingredients we use are also certified organic and the farms providing these need to be able to show the necessary certifications confirming the organic claim.
We also have a scope certificate that indicates clear traceability back to the farm from which an ingredient has been grown. We don’t compromise on quality in any terms. Our primary manufacturing strength lies in the fact that we source from the source.
We don’t use any lab-derived chemicals and are thus completely reliant on the goodness and efficacy of the organic ingredients we source. Every ingredient earns its spot in a formulation after careful research and deliberation. We believe that produce growing in its natural habitat, without any artificial additives, pesticides, fungicides or insecticides, has maximum benefits in terms of its nutritional values, fatty acid profile and minerals.
It is precisely due to this reason that our customers are able to see results with our products.
We procure Rosehip from Lesotho, Hemp from Germany, Kakadu Plum and Tea Tree from Australia, Argan Oil from Morocco, Shea and Cocoa Butters from Africa. These are speciality ingredients that are not easily available. We work directly with farmers, who personally produce batches for us.
YSW: How do you go about testing your products, and can they be used on all skin types?
PA: We have a full-fledged laboratory with three qualified technicians. This is also a requirement of the Drug and Cosmetic Authority.
As a brand adhering strictly to ECOCERT COSMOS norms, every raw material and ingredient that makes its way into Juicy Chemistry manufacturing unit needs to be tested as per BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) directives and guidelines and must comply with these as well. The supplier must provide us with a certificate of analysis, material safety data sheet and an organic certificate. All three of these reports are integral to checking and confirming the quality of the ingredients. These test reports are verified at our in-house laboratory, following which the ingredient is approved for manufacturing. Should our test report fail verification, we immediately notify the supplier of the same.
We have a separate laboratory for testing the final product and perform quality checks in-between processes as well. The packed product is also sent to an external laboratory, which is certified and authorised by the Drug and Cosmetic department. Should both our and the external report of the final product provide a positive result, we are good to go. Every single product has a unique batch code for effective traceability too.
We also follow ISO 9001:2015 standards and are a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certified organisation. Being ISO 14001 certified, we also follow proper environmentally sound practices.
Our products cater to all skin types – oily, combination, dry, and sensitive, acne-prone among others. Depending on the skin type, different products can be recommended to different skin types.
YSW: Why the name Juicy Chemistry, and what made you decide to venture into the beauty segment?
PA: The name Juicy Chemistry came up when we were working with soap manufacturers. We were working with fresh vegetable juice extracts. The result of adding beetroot juice to a soap manufacturing process gave us a completely different outcome and we remarked to ourselves that that was juicy chemistry at work! The term stuck with us and the more we worked with fresh produce, the chemistry and the results that we saw confirmed our beliefs and the name Juicy Chemistry was born!
A routine visit to the mall and a chance-encounter with a salesperson trying to sell a natural product that turned out to be loaded with synthetic chemicals made us realise that there was a huge gap in the beauty market.
There was not enough awareness amongst consumers and we wanted to change that. Terms such as ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ were not marketing gimmicks and we wanted to show consumers that a truly organic and natural brand can exist.
YSW: What is the one thing that makes you stand out from other skin and beauty care brands?
PA: We firmly believe in as open and transparent as can be. Our commitment to sustainability and organic beauty led us to pursue an ECOCERT certification. The fact that all our products are certified organic goes a long way in setting us apart from the rest; particularly during these times when ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ are seen as purely marketing gimmicks.
We cut through the green washing and provide our consumers with products that are truly organic. We don’t use any artificial fragrance or any other synthetic additives. Our products contain no preservatives and contain no water – they are completely concentrated and deliver the goodness of Mother Nature. We go to great lengths to make sure that we are environmentally responsible and are proud to be made in India.
YSW: Where can your products be found currently, Online?
PA: Presently, our products can be found on our own website and platforms such as Amazon, Myntra, MyTara, Nykaa, The Green Maven, Vanity Wagon and Purplle.
YSW: Since you make products for both children and adults, what has been the response?
PA: We have received great feedback for our junior care range that is most definitely suited for sensitive skin. We have other products as well that are suited to sensitive skin types.
Teens have responded well to our products as well. They respect our certifications and transparency. There’s a lot of awareness in the generation and teens today are very conscious of what they are putting on their skin. The quality of our products and our superior ingredient sourcing has definitely caught their attention. Our products are functional and effective and that is something our consumers appreciate – across age groups.
YSW: Are you coming up with any exciting new products in your already growing range?
PA: The lockdown has given us a lot more time to think about our product range. We have entered into manufacturing sanitisers and are looking at surface cleansers too. We want to make products that are 'certified organics' and are of daily use. We are also planning on coming out with a fruit and vegetable wash, a particularly thoughtful product during the pandemic. We’re also planning to launch organic scents, body mists and organic hair colours too.
YSW: What are your future plans for Juicy Chemistry?
PA: We have just raised $650,000 of series A round of funding from Amit Nanavati, founding member of Akya Ventures. We are looking to expand our offline presence but given the present circumstances, we are slowing down on doing so. At present we are more focussed on expanding our online presence and reach. We want to make our products available to a wider audience and are working with local and hyper local e-commerce platforms to ensure the same.
We are also looking to manufacturing units. We want to drive more emphasis on the benefits of sustainability and why natural products are the way to go. We are actively innovating and are working on giving our consumers a better shopping experience through our website and app. We are also hoping to strengthen our customer support service to help out consumers with product recommendations, delivery issues, order enquiries etc.
YSW: What do you enjoy doing most on the weekend during your free time?
PA: The lockdown has given us the opportunity to do a lot more with our lives and experiment with hobbies and new interests. Megha loves to read and we’ve been enjoying spending quality time with our 3-year-old daughter. We’ve been trying our hand at drawing, painting, pottery and crafts. Megha and I enjoy playing badminton and have been making good use of our terrace.