Chemical-based skincare products have been the roots of discussion for a long time. Finally, people have understood the need to go herbal and organic with naturally-made skincare items. Catering to this developing industry is the Delhi based band, The Natural Wash. It prioritises capturing the essence of earth and natural abundance in a bottle with the help of innovative processes and a scientific approach.
The Natural Wash has been reputed to garner attention towards the goodness of Ayurveda and herbal ingredients bound 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 insights on how the firm manifested itself as the stop destination for all-natural cosmetics and wellness products.
What were the initial challenges you faced when you started the company?
We are strong believers in "Nothing gets right if you don't face hardships."It was challenging, starting with The Natural Wash (TNW). Still, I'd like to say that we (Shivangi and I) both have faced all of it gracefully. The initial phase was tough. Ingredient suppliers used to deny working with us as no one was interested in working with such low quantities. I used to carry cartons and bags of around 20-30kgs on my head in order to save 50-70 rupees of freight charges.
We dried the herbs in sunlight, even in the scorching summer heat. We could not afford to buy a herb drying machine or hire a person who can do this for us. After the initial two months of our stint, we almost gave up. But 'never give up attitude' stopped us from backing out, and we continued.
Now when we look back, whatever we have done, is fascinating and equally laud-worthy.
How do you think things will unfold for the skin and hair care domain post-COVID?
We analyse a lot of data to understand customer behaviours and patterns. Current trends tell us that the main attention of customers has shifted from beauty care to well-being. It is indeed a nice thing that people are concentrating more on their diets, intakes, and exercise. People are forming new habits to be fit. The younger generation is teaching, the older ones about the benefits of Yoga and such things.
However, I don't think any change is going to be there for companies like us that provide quality products to their customers. Beauty care is an integral part of daily lives, as it should be, and COVID has not affected sales in any manner
Share something about the background of you and your company
United by similar thinking, upbringing and passion, both the founders joined hands and came up with products that are cost-effective, chemical-free and come in handy to people. This is why many of their products are blends of age-old recipes into handy everyday essential products.
Inspired to make people more aware and switch towards natural and chemical-free life, this Delhi-based homegrown startup was started by the founders at the age of 21. While we started working on our idea, we initially started with handmade soaps. It was the family members and friends who were on their list of first few customers. The startup started with soaps like charcoal, potato rice, oats and honey, neem, ubtan soap. Apart from these, we used to have Rose Water and Lip Balm back then.
What are your revenue figures, and how many products have been sold since launch?
The Natural Wash personal care brand made over 10 Cr revenue in the first full financial year. We invested Rs 2 lakh as the initial investment in the business. Growth came from reinvestment of earnings. Every rupee that we have earned was reinvested in the business itself. Our target revenue for the financial year 2021-22 is 40+ Cr. As of now, we are selling out 2500+ SKUs on an average every day.
You had launched in 2019, and the COVID had hit India. How challenging was it to survive the past six months?
Ours was a new company. It hit us like it hit other businesses. When the first lockdown happened in March-2020, it was all about keeping ourselves safe from the corona and keeping the spirits high. We got zero support from the employees. Business was closed down. Sales were zero. Our cash flow was badly hit as there was no way we could stop the recurring costs like rents, maintenance and salaries. It was very tough to get back on track after the lockdown for the obvious reasons mentioned above. However, we started again with high spirits, and there is no looking back.
During the second lockdown, it was pretty normal. Our sales were normal, and deliveries were running as smoothly as possible at that time.
Offering natural products jack up the price; how do you fight this perception as Indians are still price-sensitive?
For us, it is all about setting up a brand that is accessible to all kinds of customers. That is why we don't play on high margins. Rather, we play on customer satisfaction and customer acquisition.
Moreover, we don't need to challenge perceptions. People are more aware these days when it comes to self-care. Ours is a company that provides higher quality products at 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 are the features you want to harp upon?
Along with providing quality products, we focus on providing our customers with attractive packaging also. Whenever a customer receives their order and unpacks it, the first thought that should come to their mind seeing the packaging is, "It was worth it to buy this TNW product."
And later, when they use the actual product, they should be able to reorder the product without having second thoughts, and that's where our focus is.
What are your expansion plans in India? How do you plan to diversify the brand?
Our baby-care and health care ranges are lined up to be launched by this year. We plan to enter the B2B market and foray into international markets by next year. The Natural Wash plans to launch fifty to sixty new products in the current year. The new range of products will range from healthcare, baby care, and men's range.