Phool Is The New Cool Being ridiculed when the company adopted a D2C model due to the onerous task of carving a space in a rigid market being dominated by legacy brands, Ankit knew that digital was the fastest way to reach the potential customers.

By Saptak Bardhan

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Phool
Ankit Agarwal, founder, Phool

Sustainability has become an integral part of every country's plan of action to reduce pollution and carbon emissions all around the world. Pollution, climate change, global warming are part of a chain which has been leading to immense climatic changes, notably the melting of the polar ice caps.

The inception of Phool was surprisingly a conversation between Ankit Agarwal and a Czech friend of his while they were sitting by the ghats of the river Ganga. They saw a truck unload floral waste into the river. Researching further, Ankit Agarwal, founder, Phool realized that the flowers were laced with pesticides which would go on to pollute the river. The mixture of pesticides with river water has been a cause of severe health concerns like diarrhea, hepatitis, cholera, etc. Ankit was determined to find an alternative to the dumping of floral waste into the river. Over time, Ankit and his team at Phool found a way to repurpose the floral waste into not just natural incense sticks and cones but also fleather, a variant of vegan leather.

According to Ankit, the entire process of forming incense sticks begins by first collecting the flowers from temples around Kanpur which are then taken to our factory where the flower cycling process begins. The entire process of sourcing, manufacturing and supply chain is done in-house and takes place at the factory.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced people to stay indoors. The pandemic changed the way consumers bought products as they could only shop online. Bringing about a paradigm shift in terms of consumption, people are concerned about the product quality and prefer online shopping.

"India's $3.2 billion home fragrance presents a lot of opportunities for small startups like ours to build a recognizable brand in what is an otherwise cluttered unorganized market," said Ankit.

The company has grown over 100 per cent year-on-year in the last two years. Being ridiculed when the company adopted a D2C model due to the onerous task of carving a space in a rigid market being dominated by legacy brands, Ankit knew that digital was the fastest way to reach the potential customers. The company has launched more than 10 products in the last two years with more than 15 products in the pipeline.

Stating the importance of investors on his entrepreneurial journey, Ankit stated,"The discipline that comes with planning your business, ensuring that we had access to founders from the ecosystem, mentorship, knowledge sharing, support and guidance and most importantly, capital which really helps a young start up like ours are some of the few things why we regard our investors as the pillars of Phool who all help shape Phool's vision into reality."

Ankit intends to take Phool global as the company will be investing in its operations facility in Varanasi as well as working heavily on fleather with investments in R&D. Ankit avoided the offline route as it would have meant large investments in supply chain, etc. The company has set up warehouses in four different cities. The company also has a team of 140 women who work in all different functions throughout the company's manufacturing process.

FACTSHEET

· Best seller: Oudh, Lemongrass, Citronella, Tuberose

· Total SKUs: >50

· Team size: 33 employees

· Repeat customer ratio: > 30%

· Online platform resulting in maximum revenue: Phool.co Website

· Split between offline and online sales: 20:80

Saptak Bardhan

Former Trainee Writer

Former Trainee Writer

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