How We Created A $30K/Month Ayurvedic Beauty Product Brand [From India]
Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hi! We are Kapil Dhameja and Sanyog Jain and this is our story of how we got inspired to start a Contemporary Ayurved Beauty and Wellness brand backed by research and processed by modern technology, for the generation which is always on the move.
We aim to provide Ayurveda the rightful platform that it deserves and showcase to the world that natural remedies backed by research are as effective (if not more) than products made with synthesized chemicals. The effects of natural products are much more long-lasting as they work on healing the cause of the issue.
One of our biggest challenges was and is that Ayurvedic practices and products are perceived to be smelly, oily, cumbersome, and time-consuming to use, which deter people from imbibing Ayurveda in their daily lives.
Here is where our insights in Ayurvedic and intensive research and development helped us in making world-class products to appeal to the masses.
Our motto was to offer the goodness of Ayurveda in a contemporary manner that could be used by people in the comfort of their homes. We have attempted to maintain a fine balance between the effectiveness of traditional Ayurveda and modern sensibilities in the form of sensory feel.
Contrary to traditional Ayurvedic products, which can feel heavy and smell entirely of herbs, our range of products entices you with hedonistic aromas, lush textures, quick absorption, and promise to not leave a greasy trail. And all this comes wrapped in luxurious packaging and that too at an affordable price.
More than 150 pure ayurvedic herbs are utilized in making our products and we can proudly claim that our products have a High Herb Quotient. They are safe as they do not contain any harmful chemicals or preservatives and are effective as the products are made with carefully chosen ingredients, backed by research for their combined effectiveness to combat targeted issues.
Currently, we do revenue of $150K/month with 15,000 units. Our repeat repeats are as high as 50%-60% for some of the products like Kumkumadi Face Serum and Face Creams.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Blue Nectar is a journey of discovery and innovation of two enthusiastic IIT-IIM graduate duo (premier engineering and MBA schools in India). They loved traditions. Yet they didn’t believe in blind faith. Their love for tradition and disregard for blind faith created paradox that made Sanyog & Kapil embark on a journey that resulted in the creation of Blue Nectar in 2017.
Troubled with Weight Problem, a common issue of the millenniums, Kapil had visited Panchakarma center in Chennai in 2008 when he was based there. To his shock, the Panchakarma center asked him to drink 1 ltr of Ghee to detoxify as the first step to lose weight. The concept of drinking Ghee for detox was out of his thought realm, but that experience did create enough intrigue to explore more into Ayurvedic Sciences.
This experience offered a challenge to present something more palatable and acceptable to the younger millennials. This along with the urge to make Ayurvedic practices more acceptable, led the two to leave their cushy MNC jobs. While Kapil had a decade of experience with GSK, Sanyog, a fellow believer in Ayurveda had worked across continents with Cognizant technologies. Together they started their 1st Blue Terra Wellness Spa in 2010
Blue Terra Wellness center offered traditional Ayurvedic techniques like Nadi Vidya, Panchkarma to heal lifestyle disorders. While the guests benefitted from the various therapies, they preferred less greasy and nicer-smelling Ayurvedic oils. Initially, All Ayurvedic therapies were done on a hard wooden bed in Blue Terra centers. As winter approached in Gurgaon, customers started complaining of cold hard beds!
Not being one to disappoint customers, they started looking for ways to contemporize Ayurved. This led to Kapil and Sanyog working with Ayurvedic doctors and researching on Charak Samhita (ayurveda traditional book) to formulate less greasy & aromatic Ayurvedic Oils. They also implemented other innovative ways to make hard wooden beds mildly soft and comfortable, contemporary Steam and Shower experience with state-of-the-art fittings, etc.
This was the beginning of the concept of contemporary Ayurved - to make Ayurved more adaptable. Making Ayurved a science of choice and lifestyle, rather than being relied on at times of disease or pandemic became the motto of Kapil & Sanyog.
Show up every day with your best performance.
The first set of products was made on the special request of customers who could not visit regularly for therapies. As these customers had found the oils to be effective, they wanted to continue application in the comfort of their homes.
Very soon, appreciation and recommendation started pouring for the oils and demand started increasing. Customers started coming to the Spa via word of mouth, especially to purchase the oils and not the spa services. That is when the first avatar of Blue Nectar products formally started in the form of Oils and green tea.
What started with 4-5 products that were used in Blue Terra Spa – Pain Oils, Aromatic Massage Oils, Green Tea, Face creams in 2017 has extended to 80+ different products across four categories in the convenience of Jars and bottles that one can use with ease.
Blue Nectar originated with the firm belief that Nature holds all answers and cures and our body has the best ability to heal and nourish itself.
Blue Nectar has reconceptualized the world of beauty and wellness presenting products which are plush, lovable as well as effective. Each product has been carefully crafted and designed to have natural hedonistic aromas, silky smooth textures, and exquisite packing to transform you into a sensuous world of Luxury.
With the use of more than 150 quality herbs, we can proudly claim that Blue Nectar products have a High Herb Quotient. The Herb Quotient of a product helps to easily identify the number of pure active herbs contained in a product and give an indication of its effectiveness.
To further add to this, products are free from harmful chemicals, preservatives, and mineral oils. All ingredients on the packaging are displayed, helping a customer to make informed decisions.
The products have also undergone clinical testing to corroborate their effectiveness and are being shipped worldwide.
“Traditions are good. We need to revive and contemporize them”, says Kapil and Sanyog on their mission to make Ayurved practices a way of modern living.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
Despite being Contemporary Ayurved, the authenticity of traditional ayurvedic recipes was our key focus as a brand. The formulation of the product had to be correct for it to be effective.
Our quest for the authenticity of recipes, ingredients, processes, and manufacturers has been a long journey of learning, interacting with various individuals and organizations, and traveling to remote destinations.
We finally zeroed in on a 3rd generation Ayurvedic practitioner, enriched with collective knowledge of the past generations enhanced by a vast experience and owning a manufacturing facility.
Being the 3rd generation, our manufacturer has deep knowledge of Ayurveda, herbs, oils and is well versed with the correct manufacturing process.
That is how our humble beginning started from 1 platform & 1 country. We now sell on 11 platforms and 6 countries.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Our first set of products - Pain oils and Green tea, was launched specifically for our customers of the spa. Our products were appreciated by our patrons and pretty soon they started recommending them to their friends and family and we had our first experience of our customer base, specifically for products, increasing.
We started getting visitors to the spas now who specially came only for purchasing our products and not for spa services. It boosted our confidence in our products and showed us that we had a good thing going. It was clear that there was a segment of the population which understood and sought natural products, based on Ayurveda, and brimming with the potent power of herbs.
We progressed on to add multiple products for beauty as well as wellness and slowly started selling via Amazon, other marketplaces and through our website.
While Amazon is a cluttered market place, what helped was our products were developed with feedback from over 100,000+ customers from our Spa experience. As a result, we managed to get the products right in the first attempt with high repeat rates of 50-60% for some products like Kumkumadi Serum & Face Cream.
Surround yourself with positive people, whether it be family or friends who encourage, support, and guide you in the process. There are enough naysayers but precious few supporters.
What started with 4-5 orders per month from a spa have grown hundreds of folds in a few years.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Throughout our journey of growing from a few products to a global presence, we have been focused and never compromise on certain aspects of our products.
Quality is the foremost amongst them and we have consistently supplied products of superior quality made with the choicest herbs, selected by trained professionals.
Our spa services were marketed online and approx 80% of our customer base used to come from online promotions even though services were offered in the centres.
Since this type of marketing worked well for us, Blue Nectar was promoted in a similar fashion. Our customer base is primarily online and we are purely an e-commerce company and do not have any stores.
We create awareness about our products and brands through social media channels. We are trying to expand the top of the marketing funnel through the promotion of our theme campaign on Google, Facebook, and Instagram. We recently launched Indian actress - Shreya Chaudhry - as brand ambassador of Blue Nectar. In the latest campaign, she talks about how Blue Nectar products have the goodness of traditional recipes and are suitable for her modern lifestyle.
We are promoting this campaign through our Youtube and Instagram channels. With consistent promotion and effort, the view count of this campaign has crossed 3 mn in 45 days.
While on hand, we are expanding the top of the funnel, we are using performance remarketing campaigns to drive conversions from the top of the funnel audience. We are using various creative ad formats like product benefits, testimonials, User-generated video content, etc to drive conversion. With high repeat rates, we are sure that once a customer tries Blue Nectar products, they would become a regular user of us.
The campaign has also been receiving widespread coverage in print media as well as online:
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
At our current small level, our focus is to offer quality and fresh products to customers even if it means smaller batches. Smaller batches result in higher costs and lower Gross margins. But with such relentless focus on quality, we are expanding at high double-digit growth and hope to grow our business multiple times in the next couple of years.
Our brand has established a presence in the international market as well and we are rapidly expanding. New, innovative products with roots in Ayurveda and backed science are in development as we expand.
The hard work of the team on all fronts is evident in the improvement of numbers.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We rely on multiple digital platforms and tools. Our website is based on Shopify and is well integrated with Google and social media like Google, Facebook, etc. We work extensively on Google analytics to track and see our customer experience and movement on the website. We use Google Adwords and Facebook ads to promote our products on various digital platforms.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Autobiographies of sportspersons like Andre Agassi or Bret Lee and many more. These stories inspire you to work hard and be consistent in your performance and delivery.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Hang in there! Entrepreneurial journey is long and could be lonely at times. What is important is to hang in there and show up everyday with your best performance. There are going to be ups and downs with dreadful low points, but hopefully, the future is brighter and better.
Secondly, surround yourself with positive people, whether it be family or friends who encourage, support, and guide you in the process. There are enough naysayers but precious few supporters. Have a keen eye to look for them.
Thirdly, don't fret if it doesn't work out. The entrepreneurial journey unfortunately has a lot of direct cause-and-effect relationships which could take a hard toll on oneself. But there is always a macro or external factor that could influence your effort and not produce the desired output. Hence, keep giving your best and hope that your luck will swing your way to produce desired results from your startup journey.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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