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Five Times Women Saved The World, One Beauty Brand At A Time

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$532 billion. That’s the global estimate of the organic beauty industry for 2020. It’s a no-brainer that the Asian Pacific sector’s going to dominate, which invariably puts India Indian women entrepreneurs on the pedestal.

Closely follow the business behind the beauty industry in India, and you’ll know what we’re talking about. It’s not conglomerates or beauty brands that’re calling the shots in organic beauty but earnest, go-getting women that’re changing the narrative. Collectively, they’re all trying to disavow pretentious, misleading marketing jargons that harmed you more than helped you. Individually, they’re letting you in on their personal debacles of finding-the-right-product-for-your-skin-type. Argh, tell us about it!

These female entrepreneurs chose to stop succumbing and started their own journey. Each journey equally lucrative, compelling and inspiring. And each woman a hero in her own right. Guess it’s not just beauty with brains anymore. It’s beauty with brains and a business acumen, these days.

Meet the five women dynamos of the hour.

1. In The Lead: Kruthika Kumaran

Stairway To Success: Vilvah

Losing your mother turns your life upside down. For daughter and now entrepreneur Kruthika whose mother suffered skin problems for a decade, the products she used worsened matters. And so, with her diploma in natural cosmetology and agricultural background, Kruthika worked towards creating soaps that are 100% naturally sourced and farmed. Then came the hiccup of her daughter’s eczema. Which invariably led her to the goodness of goat milk. “We started out with two or three goats on our farm. Now there is a huge herd of healthy goats that provide the milk that’s used to make goat milk-infused products,” she informs. Her brand has expanded to creating a plethora of skincare products with the right mix of agricultural produce, and full disclosure on ingredients.

2. In The Lead: Shubhika Jain and Sangeeta Jain

Stairway To Success: RAS Luxury Oils

Twenty years of research and development, 200 acres of farmland and woodland in Chhattisgarh, and a serious passion for plants and gardening – led to the inception of this ‘farm to face’ bootstrapped startup. One that’s free from every beauty baddie: sulphates, parabens, silicones, phthalates, fillers, preservatives, mineral oil, SLS, synthetic fragrances, additives, and alcohol. But all wasn’t peaches and roses for the mother-daughter duo who as founders, were entering a new, untapped segment in the country. Of face oils. Ever since its launch in 2012, what began with retailing with the hotel industry, expanded to an online presence and has gone global since. Their 80 percent women workforce has expanded to a comprehensive portfolio of 25 SKUs. All this in under 8 years. Kudos!

3. In The Lead: Mauli And Grishma Teli

Stairway To Success: Iba Halal Cosmetics

Globally, halal is a widely misunderstood term. Closer to home, India houses the second largest population of Muslims in the world. This gave birth to an opportunity for the Teli sisters. The success of their parent company, Ecotrail Personal Care, instilled the confidence to offshoot into the halal cosmetics industry (an international niche that’s absent in India). Iba Halal Cosmetics – India’s first halal cosmetics and vegan beauty brand, is the result of two years of hard work and research. For them, halal is, ‘a way of life that benefits an individual in their physical and spiritual well-being’. As a price and faith-sensitive nation, the Jain sisters have successfully gratified both demands. Six years later, the pioneering label is lauded for its purity, safety and efficacy. Among non-Muslims too!

4. In The Lead: Dr Neena Chopra

Stairway To Success: Just Herbs

According to CEO, Arush Chopra, “we don’t need a fancy name.” No marketing ploys can touch the genius of science. Just Herbs is backed by a gold medalist and award-winning biochemist, Dr Neena Chopra. The brand’s formulations are rooted in ancient Indian wisdom and the purest of herbs and plant extracts. He says, “Our journey began when my mother quit her baking job to study Ayurveda, the subject she had felt a calling towards all her life… Mom is not a marketing person. She and numbers can never fit inside the same frame in harmony. But you must see her in her lab! She radiates such inspiration. Identifying herbs, plants and flowers in Ayurvedic texts and turning them into easy-to-use modern-day products that are safe, pure and effective, she makes it seem so simple.” They’ve come a long way – from struggling with their first product that’s now a bestseller, crowdsourcing India’s first beauty product in 2018 and launching India’s first Ayurvedic micellar water in 2019.

5. In The Lead: Shivani Kapur

Stairway To Success: Mirah Belle Naturals

A relative’s fight against cancer, her struggles towards finding an all-organic brand that was affordable and accessible, and the fact that EWC and OCA continually bust the ‘natural’ label on many products; got Shivani thinking. “The doctors rejected reputed Indian brands, stressing that the products should be Authentic and Certified apart from being Sulfate & Paraben free. That’s when I identified a gap in the market, for Certified Organic products which were also affordable. We strive towards creating awareness about the long-term ill effects of using chemical-laden products. Working with a team of scientists and formulators, we aim to provide a safe alternative for people,” she says. Toda, her company offers 200+ luxurious, certified by ITC Labs, hand-crafted products, all made in Gurugram, India. The founder’s quest to educate and spread awareness among Indian consumers has now made Mirah Belle the first Indian brand selected by Kevin Harrington in 22 years for launch in America.

More power to these women we say!

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