Deepika Ravi from Karur, Tamil Nadu, sells value-added moringa edibles and beauty products. Here’s the story behind her startup, The Good Leaf.
Born and brought up in Karur, Tamil Nadu, Deepika Ravi had witnessed the trials and tribulations of farmers in her village who didn’t get enough markets to sell their produce. She remembers her father, who is also a farmer, talking about agriculture and the imbalanced markets, especially for produce like Moringa, which is cultivated in abundance in Karur.
“My father used to talk about the idea of taking an agricultural product and then making value-added products out of it. This way we are also providing opportunities to the farmers as well,” says 26-year-old Deepika.
After completing her studies, she decided to start a business based on her father’s concept of value-adding to any agricultural product. “I knew how extensively Moringa was cultivated in my hometown. I found it to be the finest greens since it has almost all the essential nutrients that a person needs for a healthier lifestyle. I also knew the difficulties faced by farmers to sell Moringa in the market at a standard price. That’s how I decided to start developing value-added products out of it thereby helping the farmers as well,” adds the MSc graduate in actuarial science.
Today, her company The Good Leaf earns crores in revenue while helping hundreds of farmers.
The Good Leaf
Moringa or the drumstick tree is considered a storehouse of nutrients. It is the most sought after superfood across the world and a big part of Indian staple diets.
“When it comes to Moringa, the leaves, flowers, the drumsticks and even the roots are edible. They are rich in nutrients like iron, calcium, zinc, phosphorous and several more. Moringa also contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing, anti-microbial properties, etc. They also help in reducing blood sugar level,” explains Deepika.
Her brand, The Good Leaf, makes value-added edible and beauty products out of Moringa.
Launched in 2018 along with her father, Ravi Velusami, The Good Leaf is an effort to bring in the richness of Moringa through value-added products and to help the struggling farmers.
Deepika says, “We have been sourcing Moringa through farmers who cultivate them in their land. We also make sure that they are grown organically. For that, we have been helping them with organic farming practices and we also provide them with organic fertilisers.”
She adds, “Currently, there are over 200 farmers who provide us with their produce. All these farmers are given a fair price for their produce unlike the fluctuating prices in the market. The market prices can vary from Rs 5 to Rs 100 per kg but we provide them with a standard price throughout the year and it will be based on the variety that they cultivate. Not just in Karur, we also have farmers in places like Dindigul, Theni, Velur, etc. from whom we source organic Moringa.”
Other than sourcing from farmers, Deepika also grows Moringa in a few acres of land owned by her family near Karur.
Starting with two products — the Moringa powder and Moringa pods powder, The Good Leaf now offers a wide range of products from Moringa capsules to Moringa face packs priced at Rs 250 and go up to Rs 490.
Deepika elaborates, “We started the business in 2017 with just two edible products, a year before we officially launched it. Later, after a lot of research and hard work, we eventually launched a few more edible products like Moringa rice mix, chutney powder, Moringa tea, Moringa capsules etc, Now we have a turnover in crores.”
Other than edible products, the brand also offers a range of haircare and skincare products with the goodness of Moringa. “In 2019, we expanded our business into beauty care products. Now we have skincare products like Moringa brightening serum, Moringa face pack, Moringa face scrub, and Moringa soap. Also a few hair care products like Moringa hair oil and Moringa hair serum,” explains Deepika.
Talking about the fast-selling products, she says, “The Moringa capsules, a supplement filled with all the goodness of Moringa that can be consumed daily and the Moringa herbal tea, a blend of tulsi, Moringa and ginger, are the two fast-selling edible products. When it comes to beauty products, the Moringa face serum, Moringa hair serum and Moringa oils are fast-selling.”
The Good Leaf has a small production unit at Karur which has around 10 staff. “Our brand is run by dedicated and ardent women. Most of our staff and the people who work at farms are women,” she adds with a smile.
Deepika’s father Ravi, who is also the co-founder of The Good Leaf, takes care of the production while her mother takes care of its operations. “I manage the sales, marketing and product development at The Good Leaf. My father and mother are always there to support and help me. We run this as a family,” she says.
“We market our products through our website and promote them through different social media platforms. This year we have lined up a few new products like Moringa face cream, Moringa face wash, etc. and we hope that our brand will reach more people,” concludes Deepika.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)