This homegrown laundry brand addresses all your sustainability and cleanliness requirements
Delhi-based KIKGERM is a laundry detergent brand that claims to shun harmful ingredients, while staying affordably priced and promising clean and long-lasting clothes.
Monday March 28, 2022,
6 min Read
There has been a sweeping change in consumer behaviour in recent years. This is evident from the growing acceptance of sustainable, eco-friendly products and increased denouncement of harmful chemicals and unethical practices like animal-testing.
Delhi-based entrepreneur Divya Arora awoke to these concepts when she was a student in London, doing her own laundry for the first time. Her experience led her to launch her laundry detergent brandin 2020.
“I’m asked this question a lot - why Laundry Detergent? The truth is I’m obsessed with clean laundry. While studying in London, I started doing my own laundry and experimenting with various options available in the market. Some made my clothes softer than others, some were better smelling than others, some took the stains out better but were laden with harmful chemicals - there was never a product that gave me everything I needed," shares Divya in a chat with YSWeekender.
"When I moved back to India, I struggled even more. My clothes wouldn’t even last 5-7 washes and would lose their colour, fit, etc., where in the UK, I could get 20 washes or more for my clothes. I would bring back packs of laundry detergent to India from my international travels. That’s when I decided, if I’m not happy with the quality of laundry products in India, why not make one of my own?” she adds.
Love for clean clothes
With a master’s degree in Innovation Management from Central Saint Martins at the University of Arts in London, Divya describes herself as a design thinking and trend analysis expert. She spent over five years with a leading global publication headquartered in Milan before embarking on her entrepreneurial journey.
She shares, “I have always had an aptitude for being creative and have used that approach in all my professional dealings. I founded KIKGERM towards the end of 2020 with an aim to create a superior laundry experience for Indian consumers, at par with global standards. My specialisation in the field of marketing, trend analysis, and consumer insight has helped me grow my brand.”
KIKGERM stands for clean living and clean laundry and germinated from Divya’s “obsessive need for fresh, clean, and hygienic at-home laundry, that also promised to keep kids, family, and the environment safe.” The core team consists of ten people.
Sustainability has been a key focus of the brand since inception. KIKGERM’s products use ingredients that are not harmful to users or the environment in any way. This eco-friendly focus also sets them apart from their competitors, that include established names like Surf and Ariel. Divya asserts that KIKGERM has created its own USP through its anti-bacterial and safely formulated laundry solutions.
“I had a few things in mind when I was formulating these products. They must ensure soft and long lasting clothes, protect from harmful germs, remove tough stains, protect colours, allow the user to enjoy the benefits of natural essential oils and the fabulous fragrance that leaves clothes smelling fresh all day long, elevating the wearer’s mood. Fragrances have a direct impact on emotions and mood, and when we smell great, we also feel great,” says Divya.
What’s on offer?
Currently KIKGERM’s product line-up includes top load detergent powder; front load detergent powder, and advance care detergent powder -- suitable for top and front load.
Divya asserts that every product provides germ protection, is made with natural essential oils and is SLS, SLES, and paraben-free.
“We will soon be launching our range of liquid detergents, including baby specific laundry products. Since our inception, all the products have been designed keeping the needs of children and their sensitivity towards various ingredients, in mind. Further, we wanted to provide safe cleaning solutions for babies too, for which the formulations are carefully designed using plant-based ingredients and safe anti-bacterial ingredients to remove harmful germs,” she says referring to plans in the pipeline.
KIKGERM products are available at all leading retailers across Delhi-NCR, Kolkata, Lucknow, Haridwar, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Ahmedabad, Kochi, and Jamshedpur.
They also cater to clients across India through their D2C website and ecommerce platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart.
Growth and challenges
According to data published in theinsightpartners.com, the Indian detergents market was valued at Rs 42,827.4 crore in 2019 and is projected to reach Rs 73,660.4 crore by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 7 percent from 2020 to 2027. Hence, KIKGERM’s entry into the market is at an opportune moment.
Currently bootstrapped, the business has seen significant growth since its launch 1.5 years ago. Divya highlights that they have catered to approximately 10,000 unique customers and are growing steadily.
Their presence on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook has helped them grow, as has the word of mouth endorsement of many influencers and customers. KIKGERM’s team of in-store promoters also work on educating customers about their products.
However, as with setting up any business, KIKGERM also faced challenges. Divya explains, “One of the biggest challenges was to create a safe and effective formulation that did not pinch a hole in our customer’s pocket and was affordable for everyone. It took months of hard work and collaboration between our team of scientists and the people who were responsible for ingredient sourcing to design the perfect product. We wanted to dispel the notion that sustainable products come at a high cost. For us, clean does not equal expensive and we believe that everyone should have equal access to sustainable products in order to be able to inculcate sustainability in their lifestyle.”
With their specific formulations, Divya believes her team has successfully managed to overcome this particular challenge. The biggest proof of this, she feels, is the approval and trust of the customers in the brand.
“It is a wonderful feeling to see repeat customers in stores asking for KIKGERM products, while huge multinationals who have captured this segment for decades, sit on the same shelf. This reminds us as a team that we are doing something right. It also proves to us that people have wanted to choose safer cleaning practices for a while, but needed someone to make it affordable for them,” she says.
Edited by Megha Reddy