The woman behind the fastest-growing FMCG start-up to hit a 300 Cr run rate in India
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GHAZAL ALAGH, Co-Founder, Chief Innovations Officer, Mamaearth & The Derma Co.
Before becoming a mompreneur, Ghazal Alagh was pursuing her career as a trainer and an artist. After graduating with a BCA degree in Information Technology, she became a corporate trainer at NIIT. Parallelly, she nurtured the artist in her and pursued a course in Figurative Art from the New York Academy of Art. Given her diverse skills, she has built Mamaearth in a unique way with her husband and co-founder Varun Alagh. Talking about her journey Ghazal shares, "When Varun and I had our first child, we started looking for chemical-free products for our baby, but we couldn't find easily available options in India and ended up importing products, which was both expensive and time-consuming." Identifying this gap, they decided to create Mamaearth and venture into "Toxin-free' baby care products. While they started as a brand for baby care products, they soon realized that most millennials were looking for safe and toxin-free products for themselves too. Hence, they diversified into personal care products for adults as well.
With the current portfolio of 120+ products, they are targeting the personal care market that is valued at 70 thousand crores. When they started Mamaearth, they realized that there were a lot of parents like them who were looking for toxin-free products and they became the early adopters. However, as they scaled, they realized that in India educating people about toxins and the benefits of toxin-free products was important. But they were committed to the goal and currently serve over 5 million consumers, across 500 cities and 11 thousand pin codes in India. The company has been able to raise a total of 162 Cr. of funding with the last round closing in Jan 2020. Talking about the resistance she faced initially Ghazal remembers, "One such instance was when I had to connect with vendors and suppliers. Being a male-dominated sector, it was challenging to build a relationship with them. While the start was rough, we have been able to build long-term relationships with our vendors and suppliers."
When the pandemic struck and brought with it some unprecedented challenges, the revenue came down extensively. But owing to their direct-to-consumer presence, they were able to restart operations very quickly. "In fact, we were the first ones to define baby care as essential items. With sales from our website and marketplaces, we were able to reach pre-covid numbers quickly with our ever-highest revenue last year," shares Alagh. Closing FY'20 with a revenue of 112 Cr., she not only plans on expanding the portfolio of Mamaearth, but she is also building newer brands like The Derma Co. and more.
(This article was first published in the March 2021 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)