Chemical-based skin care products have been a hot topic of discussion for a long time. Finally, people understood the need to go for herbal and organic products along with naturally made skin care products. Delhi-based group The Natural Wash caters to this growing industry. It prioritizes capturing the essence of the earth and natural abundance in a bottle using innovative processes and a scientific approach.
The Natural Wash is renowned for drawing attention to the benefits of Ayurveda and herbal ingredients linked in a unique formula patented by The Natural Wash. The range is created with raw, nourishing and cruelty-free ingredients and reassures its users with a claim of the products being natural. Founders Akshit Goel and Shivangi Goel talk about their vision for the company and share their views on how the company has emerged as a go-to destination for all-natural cosmetics and wellness products.
What were the first challenges you encountered when starting the business?
We firmly believe in “Nothing is right if you don’t face difficulties.” It was a challenge, starting with The Natural Wash (TNW). Nonetheless, I would like to say that we (Shivangi and I) both faced it all with grace. The initial phase was difficult. The ingredient suppliers denied working with us because no one was interested in working with such small amounts. I used to carry cartons and bags of about 20-30 kg on my head in order to save 50-70 rupees in transport costs.
We dried the herbs in the sun, even in the scorching summer heat. We couldn’t afford to buy an herb dryer or hire someone who can do it for us. After the first two months of our stay, we almost gave up. But “never give up on attitude” kept us from backing down and we continued.
Now when we look back, everything we have done is fascinating and equally commendable.
How do you think things will go for the skin and hair care field after COVID?
We analyze a lot of data to understand customer behaviors and patterns. Current trends tell us that the main focus of customers has shifted from beauty treatments to wellness. It is indeed a good thing that people are focusing more on their diet, intake and exercise. People are taking on new habits to be in good shape. The younger generation teaches the older ones the benefits of yoga and more.
However, I don’t think there will be any change for companies like us that provide quality products to their customers. Beauty care is an integral part of everyday life, as it should be, and COVID has not affected sales in any way.
Share something about your past and that of your business
United by similar thought, education and passion, the two founders joined hands and delivered products that are profitable, chemical-free and useful for people. That’s why many of their products are blends of age-old recipes into everyday essentials.
Inspired to raise awareness and move on to a natural, chemical-free life, this Delhi-based local startup was started by the founders at the age of 21. As we started to work on our idea, we first started with handmade soaps. It was family members and friends who were on their list of early customers. The startup started with soaps like charcoal, potato rice, oats and honey, neem, ubtan soap. Other than that, we had rose water and lip balm back then.
What are your sales figures and how many products have been sold since launch?
Personal care brand Natural Wash achieved sales of over 10 Cr in the first full year. We invested Rs 2 lakh as an initial investment in the business. Growth came from reinvesting profits. Every rupee we earned was reinvested in the business itself. Our target turnover for fiscal year 2021-22 is 40+ Cr. Currently, we sell over 2,500 SKUs on average every day.
You launched in 2019, and COVID hit India. Has it been difficult to survive the past six months?
Ours was a new business. It hit us like it hit other companies. When the first lockdown happened in March 2020, it was all about protecting us from the crown and keeping our spirits up. We did not get any support from the employees. The business was closed. Sales were nil. Our cash flow was hit hard because we couldn’t stop recurring costs like rent, maintenance and salaries. It was very difficult to get back on track after containment for the obvious reasons mentioned above. However, we started again in a good mood, and there is no going back.
During the second confinement, it was quite normal. Our sales were normal and deliveries went as smoothly as possible at that time.
Offering natural products drives up prices; how to fight against this perception when Indians are still price sensitive?
For us, it is about setting up a brand accessible to all kinds of customers. This is why we do not play on high margins. We play more on customer satisfaction and customer acquisition.
Plus, we don’t need to question perceptions. People are more aware these days when it comes to taking care of yourself. Ours is a company that provides top quality products in a normal range. So for every party involved, us or the customers, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
How do you want to sell the “honest luxury” factor and what characteristics do you want to emphasize?
In addition to providing quality products, we also focus on providing our customers with attractive packaging. Every time a customer receives their order and unboxes it, the first thought that comes to their mind upon seeing the packaging is, “It was worth buying this TNW product.”
And later when they use the actual product, they should be able to order it again without hesitation, and that’s where our focus is.
What are your plans for expansion in India? How do you plan to diversify the brand?
Our baby care and healthcare lines are expected to launch by this year. We plan to enter the B2B market and make a foray into international markets by next year. The Natural Wash plans to launch fifty to sixty new products during the current year. The new product line will extend from healthcare, baby care and the men’s line.
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