Organic is the new normal and the world is quickly adapting to this idea of wholesome, sustainable and eco-friendly products. The organic beauty industry is growing at a tremendous rate, with demands for vegan, cruelty-free and natural products taking the cake. And while the global platforms have adopted these practices for a long time now, how and where does India stand? Several brands are now revolutionising the way women use make-up by introducing clean and green products. And one brand is making them specifically for Indian skin tones and textures.
In conversation with TC46, Rubeina Karachiwalla, the founder of Ruby’s Organics, talks about building the country’s first ever organic makeup line. Here, she talks about choosing quality over quantity, understanding your target market for better monetisation and spending money on research.
1. What is your educational and professional background?
I graduated with a degree in BMM, I started my career in the PR industry where I represented lifestyle and beauty brands for a few years. While working in PR, I did a certified makeup course and was absolutely smitten by the world of beauty.
2. What prompted the idea for Ruby’s Organics?
The idea behind Ruby’s was simply born out of a need for creating ‘healthier makeup’ in India. In my early 20’s, just like most girls, I was a huge cosmetic enthusiast. Little did I know that I would wind up on the receiving end of some harsh skin outbreaks. I was determined to find healthier alternatives to common synthetic ingredients found in regular makeup brands. What started as a kitchen experiment, eventually became a full-blown makeup range. After a lot of time spent in research and development, we managed to develop makeup staples without the use of alcohol, chemical preservatives, silicones, petrochemicals, and heavy metals.
3. Did you always know you wanted to work in this space?
After working for a few beauty brands in PR, I realised I had a great amount of interest in the beauty industry and hence decided to do a course in makeup design. I then started experimenting at home with a few supplies and a coffee grinder and after spending two years in research and development, India’s first organic makeup brand was born. The idea was to start a ‘healthy’ makeup line that does not compromise on the quality.
4. What was your first milestone and how did you get there?
After spending about 2 years developing the products, I spent another year building the brand. Since the concept of organic and clean beauty was new, I knew I had to spend a lot of time and resources on just education and communication. We also had to do all of this with limited funds and resources. Thanks to social media and the constant support of the Indian media, we were able to do this in the most effective manner.
My best friend Sanjana, who also happens to be an uber-talented graphic designer, helped me conceptualise the entire packaging design, communication strategy and branding. She was the greatest thing that has happened to Ruby’s. We spent a considerable amount of time trying to find a way to make our design and packaging attractive and fun, yet ethereal considering our brand aesthetics.
Being able to see what started as a simple idea and experiment, come to life and become acknowledged and appreciated nationwide. Seeing something I innovated in a kitchen using my coffee grinder being sold on shelves in premium stores nationwide is an amazing feeling. I can’t even begin to tell how amazing and encouraging the response has been since we started. We were able to, in a span of one year, reach out to women all over the country and shortly all over the world too.
5. What are your tips for an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to enter this space?
My advice to everyone out there seeking to start something of their own would be ‘DON’T GIVE UP’. Nothing comes easy, but you have got to find the inner-hustler living inside you and bring it to life, nurture it and let it lead the way!
While you keep the wheels on your ambition rolling, it is also important to not rush into things. Do your due diligence before you go live. Make mistakes as you go, that is the best way to learn. You will have failures but remember – failure is the world’s most information-rich data stream in existence.
6. What were the 3 best business/financial decisions you made?
- Hiring quality over quality.
- Spending money on content and education more so than advertising.
- Bootstrapping the business up until the point where I know for sure what we need and how we need to get there.
7. How long did it take you to monetise your venture? Are you looking for funding/have-acquired investment/intend to bootstrap your business?
It took us about 1 year to be able to see profitability and return on investment. It happened after we understood our TG and figured out the best way to reach them.
The business is currently bootstrapped however we are looking to raise funds shortly.
8. Who are the key employees/vendors you need to secure to work in this space (the first 3 hires/vendor partnerships)?
- Content and communications expert.
- A performance marketing team that has experience in scaling an e-commerce business before.
- Logistics and operations manager.
9. How do you intend to scale up/expand your business in the next 5 years?
- Expanding the product line
- Amplifying marketing and ad spends
- Global retail
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