"We Are Estimating the Growth Rate to Be 30% Year On Year": Amit Sarda
In an exclusive conversation with Amit Sarda, Managing Director, Soulflower sheds light on the growth strategy of the company.BY Shipra Srivastava | February 12, 2018 | comments ( 0 ) |
How did Soulflower start? Also shed light on your journey so far?
Soulflower started with the thought of creating happiness in people’s life. This business also came at a time when we were looking for a sustainable income to provide food and shelter for animals. Soulflower is one of my beautiful aromatic journeys. Not only has it given me satisfaction as an entrepreneur, but also as a human being. Through our call to kindness programme, we support dining hygiene for thousands of children. I still feel the journey has only begun. We started in Thailand and moved to India, then created a space for ourselves in the USA and now recently in the European Union, all with solo objective of promoting natural beauty. All Soulflower products are manufactured in India using domestic raw materials under Make in India campaign. And it makes me immensely proud and happy to receive positive reviews by people at home, Americans and people living worldwide. With this, my belief in Indian natural and herbal science is becoming stronger and stronger every day.
How do you see the market of organic product retailing is growing in India? According to you, what would be estimated growth in this segment over next two years?
Today the consumer in India is becoming more aware of the formulations involved and the side effects caused due to chemicals and preservatives used in making the product. They are more conscious of feeling and looking better in their own skin. Soulflower believes in Clean Beauty i.e. using pure, natural & effective products that work in harmony with your skin, repairing and protecting it from environmental damage. We are enjoying the growing portfolio of satisfied customers using natural products. We are estimating the growth rate to be 30% year on year.
Kindly shed light on your current distribution in online and offline space? Also, what are the strategies to scale up the distribution? Do you plan to have your exclusive web store?
Soulflower has its experiential web store www.soulflower.biz. We currently distribute our products to over 1200 towns of India through all popular online platforms like Nykaa, Amazon, Shopper Stop, Myntra, Flipkart, and BigBasket. When it comes to offline space we have 250 plus stores including Shopper Stop, HomeStop, and Lifestyle. Beside this we retail through 400 plus pharma and beauty stores in India. In the coming year we will become available in 1600 pharma and beauty stores and 50 new stores in large format.
Kindly shed light on your product categories along with the best performing category?
Soulflower offers a selection of Essential oils, Carrier oils, Bath salts, Soaps, Aroma oils and Massage Oils. Our product categories include Hair Care, Skin Care, and Home Aromas. We have an extensive range of hair care products which are not only ranked number one in India but also in the US. Soulflower is also the largest player in the aroma oils segment. Being 100% natural our oils add high level of energy and freshness to your ambience. Our Skin Care and Hair Care category is evolving very fast through the newly initiated Clean Beauty campaign.
Who do you see as your competition within the same space?
In the organized natural products segment, there are very few players and whatever there are, are largely unorganized. So there is literally very little or no competition to Soulflower in the all-natural skin care, hair care and aromas product categories. The organized sector will definitely change the game by making it larger. The kind of offering we have is very unique. We have segment and category-wise competition. In India, Soulflower was the first brand to start offering solutions to let one remain beautiful and keep you in a skin which you were born with.
According to you, what are the major challenges of organic product retailing?
The organic market is much developed in US than in India but the farming of the ingredients is inorganic i.e. they use chemicals and pesticides to grow plants, which doesn’t make the final product pure and natural. Whereas in India that is not the case, the farming is majorly done organically and naturally. But more than distributing the organic product the major challenge is to focus on delivering fresh products which are 100% pure, natural and with no added artificial chemicals and pesticides. Also, in India organic products are always compared to the price rather than for their benefits. Familiarizing people with what natural products are was the biggest challenge.
Have you raised any sort of equity fund so far or plan to?
No, we have not raised any equity funds and we don’t intend to. However if we see a need for it in the future, we will surely take that route for Soulflower.
At last, kindly highlight your growth plans?
We are growing at a triple digit growth rate and are hoping to continue growing at the same rate. Our approach has always been to be sustainable, which has given us growth in these many years, and we will continue operating Soulflower with the same ideology. All our customers, vendors, farmers and employees are part and parcel of our growth.
24 Nov 2015, Hotel Pullman, Aerocity, New Delhi.
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