The New Face of Customization
Chaitanya Nallan, Co-founder & CEO, Vedix on using AI and analytics with modern Ayurveda
The conquering of niche spaces is nothing new for Vedix. A company that started off as a media company in 2012 has almost 35-40 million visitors on their portal every month. One of the few top players in this niche in United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada and the largest in India, they have scaled massively in the past few years. Vedix has its own editorial and research team for articles they post on Beauty, Wellness, Parenting, etc. Vedix helped launch a lot of brands and decided to call the customers and ask them about their experience and whether they were satisfied with the product but the results were shocking. There was only a 30% satisfaction rate with the customers. When asked on why isn't the satisfaction rate not 50-60%, the formulators and doctors replied that the product was sold to a person with oily skin, etc. It was at this moment Chaitanya Nallan, the founder of Vedix recognized that there is a need for personalized products. Personalized products would be made on the basis of certain questions which would then result in the formulation of the product as this theme has been followed across philosophies that are ayurveda, dermatology, allopathy, etc.
According to Chaitanya, every person is different from each other, even parents from their children. He believed this uniqueness needs its own categorization with certain ingredients. A lot of R&D went into Vedix, almost a year of R&D since there was a need of Ayurvedic Doctors and Ayurvedic Formulators together as well as setting up a lab, researching on different skin profiles and experimenting with the concoction so that it can be finalized. This was the process before Vedix started in 2018 end and 2019 beginning.
Vedix, a company that started out as a media company in 2015-16 learned throughout their journey of helping other cosmetic or beauty and wellness brands to grow. Chaitanya on being asked what was the process he had to go through before launching Vedix, says, "We had to understand Ayurveda which is Science in itself, we had to set up a lab and understand manufacturing, we had all these diverse domains to understand and get into which took us almost 2 years to really get to that point. We had to hire a doctor, we had to read a whole bunch of books, we had to get educated from those doctors. Luckily, our doctors are experts so they do most of the job but then formulation scientists have to be hired and they have to do the formulation so it is good learning and it took us almost 2 years to follow these different domains but to a point we knew that we had everything from formulation, R&D to the customer in control."
The modernization of Ayurveda was one of the motivating factors for Chaitanya to start Vedix. The essence of a herb being extracted rather than the whole herb being consumed is a modern way of using Ayurveda. He insisted that the core principles of Prakriti and Vikriti are the same as it was in traditional ayurveda. The only difference is that there a bunch of questions and physical examinations to be done to determine what is what. The consumer always has a choice of either going to a dermatologist or going to an ayurvedist. Their other brand, Skinkraft was a brand that was launched as a dermatological alternative to the ayurvedic ways of Vedix. The core of personalization remained the same. However, the ingredients changed.
Both the brands are purely D2C in a sense that the products are only sold on their website and have not yet been listed on other platforms like Amazon. Their plan is to get there but Vedix would require customization options on Amazon itself and are in talks with them. Both the brands put together are doing good business as they put approximately 18-19 Crore per month while answering 5000-15000 questions on a daily basis. Vedix has been the go-to choice for people due to the "inclination towards Ayurveda for Indian people".
With a road map ready, Vedix is into health-care but hopes to venture into the markets of skin-care, immunity and maybe even make-up. With their efficacy rates higher than legacy brands, Vedix is the biggest player in the customization game with Vedix doing annual business of around 120-130 crore. Vedix hit the 100 crore mark within 18 months of its launch and kept on growing ever since. The key challenge for Vedix is to grow beyond the D2C platform and sell their products on platforms like Amazon, Nykaa, etc. to reach bigger audiences and do more business.
When asked about the things that the future brands may learn from you, Chaitanya answered "The first thing is looking at the customer. Keep the brand customer centric and learn what he/she wants and how you go about giving the customer what he/she wants so that is the essence of what we do here and because we are doing exactly what the customer want, our growth rate is pretty high. Second thing is you have to go deep into the product. You cannot just go to a manufacturer, pick a product and sell it. You have to put in the required effort to actually build a product which will satisfy the customers. Most of the brands out there do not have a very good R&D expense."
Vedix being popular around the Uttar Pradesh and Jaipur belt as well as making its way to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, Skinkraft has made its presence felt in the North-Eastern states and with the population distributed in 700-800 profiles of customization, there is uniformity in their products as they are customized as per the answers of the customers. The 25-35 age group has been their biggest customer and they only want it to grow. The repeat ratio of 3-3.5 of a customer, high satisfaction rate and with lots of positive feedback, Vedix is aiming to be one of the biggest players in the product customization game and growing at a rapid pace as they aim for the upper echelons of the industry.