IIt is common knowledge now that the chemicals in our beauty products are harmful. Components like parabens, fragrances and foaming agents can cause hormonal imbalances, allergies, rashes and are even proven to be carcinogens. It is imperative that we make an informed decision when it comes to choosing products that our skin consumes directly.
Understanding this problem and wanting to offer solutions, Shahil and Shruti Shah have come up with plant-based beauty products that are consciously produced free of all harmful chemicals. To reiterate their commitment to ingredients sourced from nature, the couple chose to launch their Mumbai-based start-up, Natural Vibes, on World Environment Day on 5 June 2018.
To keep in line with the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, we make sure all our products are completely free from all harmful chemicals like Paraben, phthalates, sulphates, synthetic fragrances, alcohol, silicone etc., explains Shruti.
She adds that all Natural Vibes products are natural, vegetarian, vegan, and cruelty free. The plant-based raw materials that are used in manufacturing these products are indigenous in nature and are sourced directly or through organisations.
To add to this, for every purchase that you make, you can also contribute to the environment by planting a tree!
In his four-year stint in the beauty and wellness sector, Shahil realised the potential of Ayurveda and nature-based ingredients. He found a dearth of platforms that brought together all-natural products at one place. Though the idea had been in the pipeline for sometime, once the duo got married in Jan 2014, they launched their marketing firm—Rooh Wellness in April the same year.
Thereafter, the founders roped in companies producing natural and organic beauty products. They started providing marketing services for these brands across different e-commerce platforms like Nykaa, Amazon etc. and currently, they manage close to 15 brands.
“In 2016, we realised that there were very few brands in the market that were producing clean products and we really wanted to cater to conscious customers,” says 31-year-old Shahil.
This led them to launch Natural Vibes. Some of their best selling products include Vitamin C serum, their Tea Tree range of hair and skin care products, 24k Gold Beauty face oil and Charcoal face wash. These products have the AYUSH certification.
They initially reached out to their customer base through the digital platform. “In addition to that, support from curated stores like Taj Khazana stores (Taj hotels), Organic World Stores (in Bengaluru), Lotus House at International and Domestic Airports in India helped in reaching out to interested customers,” says Shruti.
Shraddha Bhosle, 28, a Chef based in Goa, was browsing through Amazon’s e-commerce platform when she came across Natural Vibes. “I really liked the fact that they were using natural plant based ingredients for their products. I have sensitive skin and I am allergic to many components,” she said.
She adds that since packages take some time to be delivered, she directly got in touch with Shruti.
She ordered the Vitamin C serum, the charcoal soap and the face wash. “I almost work 16 hours in a day and I don’t have any time for self care. The face wash has a cooling effect on my skin and I love the charcoal soaps. In fact, all the bathrooms in my house have that soap now,” she adds. Another factor that really impressed Shraddha was the, ‘Plant a Tree’ initiative that the brand was a part of.
How it works is that there is a coupon code inside every product package. This code needs to be punched into a box on the website after which a tree is planted on behalf of the customer. To achieve this, they are working with organisations like Sankalp Taru and Say Trees.
Palak Khanna, 29, an entrepreneur with her own jewellery line, was first introduced to Natural Vibes at an exhibition taking place at the Jio Garden in Bandra Kurla Complex.
“As soon as I saw their stall, I fell in love. I am really into skincare and because of my sensitive skin, I cannot really use products which are heavily infused with chemicals. This is why I am always on the lookout for natural products free of components like parabens, silicon etc.,” she says.
She started out by using the tea tree face wash and serum after which she went on to try the hair care products as well. “The skin care products feel so smooth and light on my face. The tea tree shampoo that I use makes my hair silky and shiny. I love these products so much that I even gift these to my friends,” she says.
Challenges and Impact
Some of the challenges that the entrepreneur-couple faced when they started out was ensuring that their ingredients were all natural and unadulterated. For this, they hired a Naturopath who is responsible for the ethical sourcing of plant-based ingredients.
Another challenge that they encountered was the preservation of their solutions. Most of the preservatives that are commonly used in beauty products are not all natural. Natural Vibes experimented with different natural ingredients like coconut oil, corn and fruit sugars, coconut and palm kernel oil among others. This experiment worked out well for them.
Additionally, they have also provided employment to women who work at their packaging and manufacturing units. Priyanka Rajendra Chake, 29, a resident of Wadala in Mumbai who has been working in Natural Vibe packaging unit for a year says, “I really like working here and I am happy I got the opportunity too. We are five members in my family and it helps in supplementing the family income,” she says.
Natural Vibes has a wide customer base in India, the US, Canada and Germany, catering to 95,000 customers since their launch 15 months ago.
Now, the duo wants to scale up their product range and be more eco-conscious and sustainable. “In the future, we might not restrict ourselves to only beauty products but move across categories wherever we can utilise our learnings from Ayurveda. Although we want to scale our operations, we are not commercially-driven. We want to be the reason why people are choosing a cleaner and greener lifestyle,” says Shahil, signing off.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)