After giving birth to her son in 2010, Harini Sivakumar quit her lucrative banking job because she had to take special care of her son, who has Down syndrome.
Harini and her husband moved to different cities in search of the best solutions for their son. âWe moved to different cities – Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, and we finally moved to Delhi in 2015,â says Harini.
She was looking for products that were gentle on her son, but found that there was nothing available on the market. Most of the products available were loaded with chemicals.
âI was looking for products according to his needs. One of my son’s specific concerns was that he was non-verbal and it was difficult for me to know if anything was bothering him. He couldn’t communicate if his skin was itching, âsays Harini.
Due to the unavailability of natural skincare products, Harini decided to study skincare formulations more on her own and took several courses before starting to make her own soaps.
She then started Soapworks India (now Earth Rhythm) in Delhi in 2017. It is an environmentally conscious and sustainable brand that offers hair care, skin care and other products.
Harini and his father Sivakumar
The first days
Harini was very careful with the products she used on her son. She wanted products without perfume and 100 percent natural.
âThe perfumes had actually triggered multiple complications in my son, such as allergies. I started looking for shampoos and soaps and even hair oils, âHarini adds.
Almost seven years ago that was a big challenge, as most products were labeled and sold as drug products.
âAs a consumer, I wonder why only these products are available,â she says. It was around this time that she decided to start making her own products – a small batch of DIY soaps and cold-processed soaps at home.
âAt the time, I never dreamed of being an entrepreneur. But the idea of ââcreating a product and knowing what went into the product gave me a lot of conviction to use the product on myself, âsays Harini.
Build the products
In 2016, Harini started studying skin care formulations and took several courses. It was then that she realized that there was a lot more to be done in terms of product formulations rather than just selling a product.
She started giving the products to her family and extended family, and they came back asking for more.
Harini then launched Soapworks India in 2017. Initially, the brand only specialized in soaps.
For starters, she started selling the brand on social media and to a few well-known sources. After a year, Harini decided to take it seriously and grow the brand and the business.
âI realized that many consumers were looking for such products. The West had already cracked the formulations with the research, which were clinically tested. But it was not accessible in India, âexplains Harini.
It was then that his father Sivakumar joined the company and the company was renamed Earth Rhythm in 2018.
âI have the impression that a lot of consumers have come to small businesses because there is a personal touch. So I thought a lot about what to do. The idea was to make our products sustainable in every way, âsays Harini.
Add more products
As of 2019, the first Earth Rhythm product built was shampoo bars. It worked well, says Harini, and it is still the flagship product of the catalog today. âWe have the characteristics of a liquid shampoo bar, without plastic packaging.
âIt’s an essential shampoo and no longer a luxury. It has all the benefits and even inspires people to adopt a sustainable lifestyle, âsays Harini. Earth Rhythm is Ecocert certified (one of the largest certification bodies in the world).
The company says its products combine natural raw materials and scientific formulations with a zero waste philosophy, and each product formulation takes anywhere from months to years to perfect.
Earth Rhythm saw a 4X increase in revenue in May 2021 compared to last year. Being a digital native brand, the majority of revenue (75%) comes directly from the website. The company has also partnered with third-party websites such as Nykaa, Amazon, and others, which contribute up to 25% of the company’s revenue.
âWe own the entire manufacturing process in India. Although it is a complicated process, but as the founder I was very passionate about the product. My father is passionate about finance and sales, which is why building the factory came naturally to me. When I had taken the course earlier, it helped me connect with many global manufacturers and set the process in place, âHarini adds.
In July of this year, Earthy Rhythm raised $ 1.2 million in seed funding from Anicut Angel Fund, the equity arm of Anicut Capital. The company said the funding would be used to bolster its R&D efforts, for product development, clinical trials, marketing and team expansion.
Ashvin Chadha, Anicut co-founder, said: âBefore we even knew about Earth Rhythm, my wife was a consumer. I always saw the product at home. Also, Harini’s story resonated very strongly. Personal experience itself has shown a deep need. We’ve seen big D2C brands grow. We have seen SUGAR Cosmetics grow and we have seen the journey of these brands. We believe in taking early calls in businesses we believe in. ”
Today, Earth Rhythm offers professional quality products in the fields of hair care, skin care and makeup. He claims the products are safe, non-toxic, durable and biodegradable. The products range from Rs 500 to Rs 1500.
A report from Avendus says the country’s D2C business will be worth $ 100 billion within five years. India has up to 600 D2C brands – a number that will grow dramatically over the next five years, and over 16 brands with annual sales of over $ 60 million. Some of the D2C startups in the beauty segment include Juicy Chemistry, Mamaearth, Piligrim, Plum, etc.
Advising all female entrepreneurs, Harini says, âIf you have an idea and a vision in mind, nothing should stop you from achieving it. ”
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