Covid-19 pandemic has been a historical event that changed the course of many brands. In the wellness sector, brands with natural products and products based on Ayurveda have made a big comeback. Consumers are adopting practices that are healthy and sustainable. Brands, which have a range of plant derived products & innovation are in demand. In an exclusive conversation with the Financial Express Online Dr Himanshu Gandhi, Co-founder and CEO of MOTHER SPARSH talked about the impact of Covid-19, trend of growing consumption of natural products and their success story. Excerpts:
How has covid-19 impacted the outlook of consumers regarding Ayurveda related wellness products?
Wellness is at the top of consumer mind today, for nobody wants added skin or body related problems in the prevailing scenario. The outbreak and the prolonged impact of Covid-19 have impacted the outlook phenomenally. According to pre-pandemic estimates, the Ayurveda market in India was expected to grow at a CAGR of over 16% to register Rs 710 billion by 2024. And now with the shift in people’s preferences, the number is expected to soar further significantly.
We at Mother Sparsh registered five times growth since past year. The need of the hour is to bring the power of Ayurveda, ancient herbs as well as plants in a form that is conducive to modern lifestyle, especially for babies and millennial moms. Our ethos has been fixed on all healing and pampering needs of our little ones and their mothers. Fact remains that there is no better wellness solution today than our very own and age old Ayurveda- a powerful means to enhance one’s immunity by strengthening and repairing our body.
How can Ayurveda provide an alternative to the chemical-based wellness products and do you see any change in that since the pandemic?
We need to understand that chemical-laden products might assure immediate results, but they do come with their own perils and side effects. They can cause redness, rashes or irritation, but Plant Powered formulation and Ayurvedic herbs that stem from our Vedic culture pamper and heal the soft skin. This stands true also for any hair or wellness-related conditions. The oldest healing science known to mankind, Ayurveda still is an answer to the most pertaining needs of babies and moms.
While chemicals, artificial fragrances, alcohol etc., cause several skin or hair related problems, Ayurvedic or natural ingredients leads to a sense of holistic wellness. For instance, Gotu Kola or Brahmi provide excellent restorative benefits and encourage collagen production to reduce scars and stretch marks while turmeric has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Similar are the virtues of other Ayurvedic ingredients like saffron, sandalwood, lavender oil, Indian gooseberry, etc.
Please brief us about the journey of Mother Sparsh
The co-founders of Mother Sparsh, my wife Rishu Gandhi and me come from diverse backgrounds. She was a Java developer at Infosys while I was a government officer. After marriage we discovered our shared desire to identify and fill the gap in the baby care segment. While identifying the gaps, we acquired learning about the behaviour of the consumer, which allowed us to work on a need based proposition. It was an informed decision by us to provide nature-based, Plant Powered and Ayurvedic solutions for the needs of babies and millennial moms. This has been our driving force even when we recently diversified our product portfolio across skin, hair and health segments for babies and moms by nearly 25%. We are currently one of the fastest growing home-grown pan-India brand, with presence across 23 states, in the premium baby care segment.
At a time when businesses were hit hard due to the pandemic, how did Mother Sparsh manage to stay relevant in the market?
The pandemic dealt a massive blow to the supply chain and the mechanism for procurement of raw materials, as the disturbance resulted in the breakage of logistic supply. The saving grace for us in these trying times was our omni-channel approach coupled with our digital first strategy. While the online retail channels were expanded as well as bolstered, we continued to go via Aggregate Business Partners and retail stores. As mentioned earlier, we were able to register a five times growth over the past 12 months and currently clocking a run rate of Rs 50-60 crore.
How was the YoY growth for the brand and how did Covid impact it?
Mother Sparsh has maintained a 100% YoY growth every year. Covid propelled the need for solutions that had zero side effects and were void of any harmful chemicals. In the baby care segment, our natural products with botanically sourced ingredients registered a 5x growth. Mother Sparsh clocked revenue of Rs 22 crore in the previous financial year.
Did the pandemic result in any change in the brand’s approach in the last 1 year? And what are your unique value propositions and what is your company solving?
Since inception, Mother Sparsh has thrived on an omni-channel approach, so it was more about realignment of our key strategies rather than bringing about a change in the approach. We have certainly further strengthened our online presence, but that alongside our offline geographical expansion.
The answer to what we are solving lies in our unique value proposition, which is bringing the power of nature and Ayurveda in the most unadulterated form for the most delicate skin. The biggest advantage here is that the products or ingredients themselves are not toxic, leading to a better success probability. Remember, Ayurveda can heal not just mild lifestyle issues but even chronic issues. Instead of supplying ingredients, we offer premium finished products.
What are your future plans/share your roadmap to the 100 crore club?
The plan is already in action to enter the elite 100 crore club as a brand. Over the past year we have diversified our product portfolio by 25% in the premium baby & mother care segment. We are currently working on new product launches and extensive retail strategy that would see geographical as well as increased channel sales. Simultaneously, we are focussing on raising awareness about the holistic brand, which is offering unique solutions that are conducive to health and good for the environment.
We are working to enter the 100 crore club by FY ’23.
Like the 99% water-based wipes, what other innovative launches can be expected in the near future
We are set to expand our product portfolio across baby & mother care segments. One of the latest offerings from Mother Sparsh is Turmeric Healing Range of Essentials in the domains of early signs of Ageing, which would ensure a complete solution to several personal care woes. Besides, we are slated to soon introduce in the market innovative healing products in anti-ageing and skin tightening segments for collagen boosting. Mother Sparsh will further bring unique solutions for hair & scalp, blemish, dark spots related issues.