As a holistic healing system, Ayurveda is recognized and established as a system of medicine indigenous to India, including medicinal products and health services. The origin of Ayurveda traces back to 5,000 years old Indian Vedic teachings based on fundamental philosophies about life, disease, and health. Ayurveda is regarded as one of the oldest healthcare systems in the world. Over the millenniums, Ayurveda has not only sustained the changing outlook and demands for health services due to the invasion of modern methods of treatment but has grown to be renowned worldwide.
“The Ayurveda market in India was valued at Rs 300 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach Rs 710.87 billion by 2024, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of ~16.06 percent, during the forecast period (2019-2024),” as per the report by PRNewswire.
In recent years, Ayurveda has witnessed an evolution in the form of Ayurvedic products and services. Rising awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and increasing preference in favor of chemical-free and cruelty-free natural products are aggressively changing and expanding the market nowadays.
Looking at the vast opportunity that Ayurveda offers, Mellow Herbals was founded by Sujata Sharda in 2008. The brand brings the best of Ayurveda with mother nature to provide the most potent and affordable products. The company blends the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda with the goodness of nature to bring the gentle, natural, harmful chemical-free product to treat skin, body, and hair fall problems faced by modern men and women. The products are gentle, easy on the skin, and devoid of any harmful chemicals. The group’s vision is to make Ayurveda affordable and accessible for all and to bring the goodness of Ayurveda to every home.
Elaborating on the ideologies of the brand, Vaishali Sharda, CEO, of Mellow Herbals, “Here in Mellow, we try to keep things simple and straightforward. Do you have a hair or skin care problem? We have a solution. We are customer obsessed. Our innovation focuses on the customers. There are perhaps thousands of problems faced by people when it comes to hair and skincare. But we like to keep it simple. Because unlike what marketing campaigns might have you believe, you don’t need dozens of products for your skin or hair problems but only a couple of products to take care of your skin and hair. Unlike some of our competitors who are mostly new to the space, we have been in this niche for the last decade or so. We know people’s problems and issues intimately. And what set us apart.”
The existing range of products is helping consumers with issues and needs related to hair loss, hair and skin nutrition, and daily wellness.
“We operate in the FMCG and to be more precise in the beauty segment. We are a premium Ayurvedic, natural, herbal skincare, and body hair care brand. We offer products in three distinct categories, namely: Hair Care, Body Care, and Face Care. We offer various products ranging from cleaners, exfoliators, creams, moisturizers, and face masks to toners and mists for face care, cleaner and shampoo, hair oil, conditioners for hair care, and body oil, body moisturizers, handmade soaps body exfoliators in the body care range. We have special gift packs with beautiful wooden boxes that are ideal for gifting to your loved ones. We believe in the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda that the body is a temple and to nurture our body with pure and natural products is an act of gentleness, love, and kindness. We have not thought about foraying into a new category and as of now our current focus is to bring the best Ayurvedic, natural products to every household in India,” she stated.
Mellow as a brand always has been deep into retail since its inception. Initially, when the brand started its operations, it was majorly focused on offline channels for growth.
“Our retail journey started in 2008. We were in Seven Sisters for almost five years. Then we shifted our demographic to appeal to a wider section of men and women. Currently, our retail efforts cover almost all of North and Central India including states like Haryana, Punjab, Delhi NCR, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh. We have our own in-house marketing team with who we work with wholesalers and retailers to expand our brand across the country. We also have tie-up with various spas and salons around the country. We are a customer-centric brand,” she asserted.
Over the years, the brand has transitioned from offline to online space. But the tricky part here is that skincare is a product that people will very much want to see, touch, feel, smell and try on their skin to get a feel on their skin.
“We have a very loyal customer base that has been using Mellow products for years. Although we started in retail, we soon realized that retail marketing is not enough. And since the last few years, we have taken an omnichannel strategy and approach focusing on digital sales channels. Unlike fashion accessories or apparel, it is not something you can try and return it. So driving online sales is a challenge. It takes a lot of persuasions, people need to have a brand affinity, and they need to trust you and your product. And that’s why people trust our brand. Unlike new age skincare brands, we have been in the market since 2008 and we have a loyal base of customers, high brand affinity, and an established brand name to back us,” she stated.
“We came to the online space just a couple of years back, so we are still learning and growing each day. We are just getting started with our Omni channel strategy and hope to learn, iterate and grow in both online and offline space in years to come,” she further added.
The brand has a 360-degree approach to marketing and to connecting with its customers across various touch points-both online and offline.
“Currently, our focus is mainly on digital marketing and expanding our base on e-commerce platforms. We don’t use marketing gimmicks to attract customers or achieve sales. Rather, we take a customer-first strategy putting customer satisfaction foremost. We do PR, digital ads, and promotion to attract new customers and establish our brand presence in the market. In the social media space, we try to keep it simple and take a product-first approach. We are an affordable luxury brand and we want everything from our pricing to marketing to reflect that,” she said.
In terms of technology, the brand uses a lot of automation from accounts, production, product management, and product check to delivery.
“In terms of technology, we use cutting-edge tech for our labeling and packaging too. Leading technologies such as electronic funds transfer, mobile commerce, supply chain management, online transaction processing, and inventory management systems are also really important to us,” she elaborated.
Mellow is a completely self-funded company. Every brick-and-mortar, land to machinery, the brand has funded itself since its inception. It started small and grew organically over the years.
“We have a plan to go really big in the future. Our plan is to take the brand beyond India to international territories. Recently we have launched ourselves on Amazon US and UAE and very soon planning to launch on multiple e-commerce platforms like Nykaa, Sublime Life, and Vanity Wagon to name a few. Our vision is to not only find a spot on people's shelves but in their hearts. Because at the end of the day, they believe that it is all about love and serving the customers through best-in-class natural products inspired by Ayurveda,” she said.
The brand might look into potential investment in the coming years - maybe 2023 or 2024. But for the time being, it is completely self-reliant as it is growing 20 percent year on year. The current turnover stands at Rs 3.5 crore and the brand expects the revenue to reach around Rs 5 crore in the coming fiscal.
“The way we look at the future is holistic success for not just the brand but the society as a whole. We want to create a community of like-minded people, a society around Mellow. Mellow is not just about us but it is about the whole community, the whole society. We want to succeed with society not without it. Our product packaging is often done by local communities to give them financial assistance. For example, the cloth we use for Mellow packaging is done by local slum women whom we provide vocational training. It is our small bit to give back to society. So we are trying to build a community around it and have people progress with us,” she concluded.