Juicy Chemistry aims to expand globally, enter American & European markets
Faced with a hyper-sensitive and acne-prone skin, Coimbatore-resident Megha Asher consulted almost every dermatologist she got to know of, but to no avail. Finding no relief in any of the products suggested by the skin specialists, she thought of trying organic products. “We went to a store selling natural products in a mall. But when my husband Pritesh looked at the ingredients, he was shocked to notice these were the same chemicals that were being used as raw materials at his petrochemical manufacturing unit,” she says. “The front of the label claimed all natural ingredients, but the back of the box was hushing parabens, sulphates, artificial colours, fragrances and mineral oils amongst other chemicals,” she adds.
That was the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back. The couple decided to create their own natural skincare products. And was born Juicy Cemistry, in August 2014.
“Our products do not contain any harmful chemicals like parabens, phthalates, and sulphates; they do not cause harm to waterways, and marine life. Our’s is the first-ever Indian brand with a complete certified organic products range by Ecocert (France) in accordance with COSMOS V3 Standard,” informs Megha. From a revenue of 17 lakhs in 2014, to 25 crore by March 31st 2021, Juicy Chemistry has had an incredible journey. In conversation with Life & More, Megha tells us more:
What were the major challenges that you faced, and how did you overcome those?
One of the biggest challenges we faced was finding our footing and understanding where it was that we wanted Juicy Chemistry to fit in in the Indian beauty market. We researched and explored options for months on end and finally concluded that the Indian beauty market needed disruption. Consumers needed products that were what they were supposed to be.
The next big challenge was lack of consumer awareness. For our consumers to be able to appreciate the organic and rich nature of our products and ingredients, they needed to understand how our products were different from the rest and why. To spread awareness, we leveraged the power of social media to create a community that resonated with our mission of organic wellness.
How did Covid impact your business?
When the pandemic first struck, we took a hit. As a brand that sources 20 per cent of its raw ingredients from across the globe, our supply chain was disrupted. Due to the lockdowns, our delivery timelines were impacted and our customer support infrastructure came under a lot of stress. Gradually, the situation improved and we experienced a 150 per cent jump in orders in May followed by a 350 per cent jump in July.
We also doubled down on our digital-first approach and revamped our website, enhanced user experience and strengthened our social media capabilities. As people took to the comfort of their phones and social media, we conducted multiple campaigns, collaborations, and lives to keep our community active and engaged.
Organic and sustainable – there are scores of such skincare brands. How do you make yourself stand out?
We have always believed in championing the ingredients. Our focus on sourcing quality, certified organic ingredients, grown in the right climatic conditions and in a nutrient-rich environment, which makes us stand out from the crowd.
We follow a backwards integrated approach, sourcing directly from small-scale farmers, whom we closely work with, and this ensures our ingredients retain their bioactivity and the products are efficacious on application.
Which are your hot-selling products? Any reasons you can ascribe to it?
Our facial oils (Saffron and Red Raspberry Facial Oil, Helichrysum and Rosehip Facial Oil, and Kakadu Plum and Pomegranate Facial oil) and our cold-pressed Hemp Seed Oil are consumer favourites. The effectiveness of these oils is what makes them successful. For example, we’ve clinically tested our Kakadu Plum and Pomegranate Facial oil to determine that it will brighten your face by 38 per cent when used over 28 days.
Any new products?
We have recently launched two new products: Moisturising Daily Use Shampoo and Frizz Perfect Hair Serum. The shampoo is made with rice water and Argan oil to keep hair smooth and silky. The serum is made with organic jojoba oil that prevents moisture from escaping your hair, and oat oil that prevents split ends for as long as possible. We are also launching our own cosmetic brand called Color Chemistry!
Both you and Pritesh are managing this business. How do you share your work responsibilities?
This is a question we get asked a lot! As far as Pritesh and I are concerned, we’re very happy to say that we work well together. What really works in our favour is that we’ve known each other since high school and have been together ever since – we even went to Australia to study together. Having spent over 20 years together, it is safe to say that we share a deep understanding and are well aware of our strengths and weaknesses. This sort of awareness and understanding is the key to making any relationship work – be it business or professional or both.
Each of us plays according to his/her strengths. We have our roles and work cut out: I am good at day-to-day operations, customer services, social media, communications and marketing etc. really well, while Pritesh looks after production, supply chain and operations. While we do have one-on-one discussions to talk about how work is going, we don’t interfere in each other’s work.
How do you divide time between work and family?
I often take short breaks and take out some time in the day on my hobbies – painting, cooking, and reading. I always make sure I spend some quality time with our daughter, Meera, every day.
What are your future plans?
We are working towards expanding our global presence. We intend to enter American and European markets – particularly France and capitalise on our existing growth in Australia as well.
At present, we service over 20,000 pin codes in India and export to 20 different countries. We even have seven distribution channels in countries such as South Africa, Nepal, Australia, France, the US, Singapore. Empowered by our funding and the faith our investors have placed in us, our next target is to grow to a 100 crore revenue in the next 18 months.