The pandemic has brought the long-ignored problem of sustainability to the core. Today, we are left with only one choice. Either go back to nature or soon turn up into an expected-unexpected apocalypse.
Anubhuti Jain Mishra, Founder & CEO, understood this from her personal experience. That is why when the Insights Success team approached her for its edition of ‘The Women Owning the Business Arena’, she said that Anubhuti – An Experience, her natural skin, and hair care company is one of the small solutions to that problem. She explains it further, “Our mission is to provide eco-friendly, skin-friendly, and budget-friendly products to the consumers. Today, our contribution may seem small compared to the problem, but we are working towards it every day.
We wish to spread the message among people to live in harmony with nature by making a conscious decision to switch to a sustainable lifestyle. Anubhuti is also an effort to fulfill our responsibility towards nature in such a way that sustainability blends with everyone’s lifestyle!
Our tagline ‘our love for you is natural’ simply represents our brand and motto.”
Excerpts of this thought-provoking interview are given below.
Please give us a brief overview of your professional journey at Anubhuti.
I am a Mechanical Engineer turned mom turned entrepreneur who has worked with brands like Reliance, Genpact, and Google. I decided to quit my job in 2019, after the birth of my son Yuvaan, who was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.
His health condition, frequent hospital visits, and new mom pressure did not allow my body to recover post-delivery. As a result, my skin lost its glow, followed by hair fall, acne issues, body fat, and what not. I tried all the commercial skincare products available in the market, but nothing worked for me. This was when I switched to natural alternatives for my skin, hair, and body.
I realised the power of nature when I started formulating the products for myself using all-natural ingredients, and to my surprise, they did wonders. This experience led to the foundation of Anubhuti – An Experience.
This has been a learning experience in the true sense of the word. Professionally, I have gained experience that would have been impossible if I was employed at a cushy job. Anubhuti started as a one-woman army with setting up the workstation, searching vendors, formulating products, packing, shipping, designing, marketing, etc.
I made many mistakes but kept making notes on each step not to repeat the same ones. My biggest challenge was taking care of my 1-year-old kid and my work. But it all became easy with the support of my husband and family.
Today, I am proud to say that professionally Anubhuti is empowering women and working to better the earth.
Tell us more about Anubhuti, its vision, and the key aspects of its stronghold in the industry it is catering to.
Ever thought where do our plastic toothbrushes, shampoo bottles, lotion bottles, loofahs, etc. end up, once discarded?
These brushes, bootless et all end up in our landfills and remain in this form for hundreds of years. Every day 26000 tons of plastic waste is generated in India, only with our daily skin and hair care necessities! Also, all the chemicals that go down the drain from our shampoos, face wash, and body wash end up in oceans, disrupting flora and fauna’s lives.
Anubhuti, as a brand, was started in 2020 to cater to every individual’s skin and hair care needs with a twist of natural ingredients in eco-friendly packaging. Our homegrown brands provide 100% natural and sustainable alternatives for daily skin and hair care needs. Our products are made fresh and delivered directly to the consumers.
Our journey started in October 2020, through Instagram and Facebook pages, followed by exhibitions.
An initial investment of ₹ 2500 quickly turned the ship around, and we clocked ₹3Lacs in sales in the first six months of business. Over ten thousand Jars/bottles have been sold to date, and we boast of having built a customer base across India.
For the first year till October 2021, our sales came only through social media platforms and exhibitions. After one year, we built and launched our e-commerce website https://anubhutianexperience.com. Our products will soon be available on various other E-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, etc.
We have been able to stop 10650+ single-use plastic from ending up in landfills in the last year just by shifting to plastic-free packaging.
- Unlike other brands, we have replaced the plastic bottles/tubes with reusable and recyclable glass/aluminium bottles and jars.
- Replaced plastic toothbrushes and loofah with bamboo toothbrushes and organic loofahs.
Also, all Anubhuti products are free of harmful chemicals and preservatives, so they help reduce the number of chemicals drained into oceans every day, which disrupts our water bodies.
Anubhuti has a junior care range of five products for kids between three months to thirteen years, free of toxins. We added a junior care range in November 2021, aiming that all moms should be able to give their babies the love and care of nature that all the little ones deserve.
From a business leadership perspective, what is your opinion on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your industry?
Pandemic was the reason why we started Anubhuti – An Experience as a sustainable brand. COVID taught us to live in harmony with nature, and it is through a healthy lifestyle that diseases, viruses, and bacteria can be reduced. Prevention of COVID-19 was only possible through proper hygiene and reduction of all sorts of chemicals in our daily needs. More and more consumers became aware of switching to natural options. They understood that what we apply to our bodies is equally important to what we put in our bodies. Chemical-based skin and hair care products took a backseat as customers shift in bigger numbers started affecting the market. The demand for natural alternatives increased, and today clean beauty stands for $30 billion industry. Today’s is an aware and informed customer who recognizes their skin type, its specific needs, and research trends and ingredients that will work for them before making a purchase. In my perspective, COVID-19 has provided the required boost to natural D2C brands; this is the right time to invest and promote sustainable businesses.
What efforts did you take during the pandemic to sustain operations and ensure the safety of your team at the same time?
We started our business in October 2020, in the mid of the pandemic. Took extra preventive measures in formulating, packaging to shipping the products. All were performed under strict standards and as per COVID guidelines. Periodic RTPCR of the team and tests/checks for the hygiene of products were performed. All products were procured from tested and government-approved suppliers. Also, shipments procured were always sanitised and kept aside for days before adding formulations. Above measures and keeping our formulations natural kept us in the business even during the pandemic, or so to say, we grew during the times when other businesses were shutting down.
What is your opinion on the necessity for Anubhuti to align its offerings with technologies like AI and ML?
The pandemic has pushed forward our virtual presence, how we live, and the shop has completely changed. Technology is innovating as our lives shift onto digital platforms.
During the pandemic, beauty brands like ours are finding new ways to keep consumers engaged and connected to their products. COVID-19 has rapidly accelerated AI’s entry into the public beauty domain. Ongoing health and safety concerns have led to a need for shopping solutions that do not include physical product testing.
The use of AI as in virtual try-on’s has changed the game and made the experience more fulfilled for the end-user. The digital retail landscape has rich possibilities for highly personalised services that have not been possible with in-store environments, opening a world of virtual opportunity.
Consumers hunt for more personalised solutions for their skin and hair care needs. This requires more AI-powered platforms like Skin/hair analyzers to evaluate consumers’ skin and scalp and recommend the products accordingly. AI is good at helping the consumer narrow down the products as per their requirement. AI is a gateway to automation, personalization, and better consumer understanding.
As consumers grow more comfortable with at-home beauty tech during the pandemic, the industry will likely continue to turn its eyes to the more accessible, convenient, and hygienic future.
As an established industry leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the industry you are catering to?
My suggestion would be to stop asking for advice. If you want to start something, get on the ground, and start digging. You learn only when you get your hands dirty. There should be a purpose of your business or a problem that you are solving for the consumer. Either one of these will help you create a reputation, build a brand, and accelerate the sale.
How do you envision further strengthening Anubhuti’s stronghold in 2022 and beyond?
By 2025 beauty and personal care will be a $50 billion market in India. We are focussing on sustainability and infusion of natural products in daily skin and hair care use of Indian households. We plan to work on our marketing and make our product more and more visible to consumers across the country.
We aim to grow our fight against single-use plastic over ten times and grow our database even bigger. Target more customers and educate them on the harmful effects of chemicals and plastic on our environment.
Business grows when you care for your community, which I firmly believe in. Women empowerment and strengthening our community has been a focus area. At Anubhuti, we aim to employ more and more women going forward and create a better work-life balance for them. We plan to contextualise government policies on women empowerment and fine-tune them to the Indian environment, benefiting the workforce that we hire.
All the above sums up in three points,
- Eliminating chemicals from our consumers’ daily skin and hair care needs.
- Working to reduce plastic wastage in landfills by creating awareness of switching to natural alternatives.
- Empowering and employing more women to grow along with Anubhuti.