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We Work With Small Scale Farmers Who Follow Organic & Sustainable Practices: Kruthika Kumaran, Founder, Vilvah
In an interview with BW Businessworld, she explains about the brand and strategy and says that they would like to be the first Goatmilk-based organic skincare brand which uses fair trade ingredients.
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Unhappy to see how products in the market filled with chemicals made Kruthika Kumaran, 33, founder of Vilvah - sustainable skincare brand and her mother’s skin worst. From that day, she started experimenting with goat milk into skincare products. After many experiments, they perfected a recipe which was originally created for the family and that is what they sell their customers. Goats milk has a Ph level very close to that of the human skin. It is naturally enriched with lactic acid which may assist in the break down of dead skin cells caused by sensitive skin conditions. It is also high in natural vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins, higher levels than those found in cows milk. In an interview with BW Businessworld, she explains about the brand and strategy and says that they would like to be the first Goatmilk-based organic skincare brand which uses fair trade ingredients.
How difficult was it to enter a beauty segment when many other brands are standing strong?
To be frank, we haven't find it hard. Vilvah is a bootstrapped company and we started this in a small way marketing through social media. On initial days, the brand spread mostly through word of the mouth and our customer base started going organically. Consumers believe in quality products and once they are satisfied, there is no turning back and with the help of social media, the word spread fast. They belive in our products, our transparency and our honesty.
Why people will switch to a complete new brand when they are already comfortable with the other beauty products?
Consumers these days do an extensive research before buying a new product and they like the factor its handmade, organic , natural and "Desi". Fortunately, its becoming a cool thing to purchase from Desi brands and support local makers and communities. More than all of it, they are attracted to our brand because of the "Sustainability" factor and full ingredient disclosure.
How much investment you have made to date?
This is a bootstrapped company with the investment of Rs 10000 and organically its grown so far. Currently, we are not looking for investors.
How has the company evolved since inception?
It all started with our humble goat milk soap which I made it in my home kitchen. Since then we have expanded to skin and hair care. Each of our formulations go through months of development, testing and trials. We want to offer more products aligned with our philosophy of being natural and sustainable.
There are a lot of beauty brands around, how is Vilvah doing things differently?
More than being a natural and organic skincare brand, People identify us as Sustainable skincare brand with some strong philosophies like supporting local farming communities.
Anything unusual about your ingredients, sourcing etc?
With the abundance of miracle ingredients here in India, we believe in sourcing local and fresh ingredients. We work with small scale and marginal farmers who follow organic and sustainable practices. We pay periodic visits to ensure that that the product. And we have our own Vilvah farm from where we source Goatmilk, Coconut oil, Sesame oii and various other ingredients.
What is the contribution of employees in the growth of the company?
Our employees are our strength. Some of them are with us from the day we have started. Another reason for our growth is also their rock-solid trust and faith in the goodness of our product. So there are no shortcuts, laziness, casual attitude to anything in our production and despatch centre. The key members are also part of product development, strategies and other company decisions and policymaking. It is only because of this that even now Vilvah is a family run business and I can fully focus on developing new products to add to Vilvah collection.
What are your expansion plans in or out of the country?
Currently, we are focusing on domestic market as we truly believe India is the biggest consumer market in the world. We do export to more than 20 countries but our focus is mainly in the domestic market.
What's your take on the future for start-ups and entrepreneurship?
Start ups are going to be the future irrespective of your educational qualification. I strongly believe your educational qualification wont enrich your entrepreneurship skills but Innovative Ideas and executing the ideas in a right way do set you apart.