Launched in 2016 by two entrepreneurs Himanshu Gandhi and Rishu Gandhi, Mother Sparsh is a pioneering producer of innovative plant-based, natural, and eco-friendly baby care products. The wide array of products launched by the company includes India’s first Plant Powered range of essentials that includes laundry detergent, bottle cleanser, baby lotion, baby wash, face cream, baby soap and sunscreen lotion. The brand launched India’s First 99 per cent Pure Water Baby Wipes that are completely unscented and crafted for sensitive skin. Besides, there is an Ayurvedic range of essentials – with goodness of 100 per cent authentic Ayurvedic oils and herbs for Baby & Mother’s Health Range, developed using safe & natural formulations to provide optimal nutrients to babies as well as mothers.ro
In an exclusive interaction with IMAGES Retail, Himanshu Gandhi, CEO & Co-founder, Mother Sparsh, talks about the brand growth, value challenges, opportunities, and roadmap ahead, for the brand.
Tell us about Mother Sparsh’s journey in India as an evolving D2C brand?
The foundation of Mother Sparsh was laid on the premise of rigorous R&D and providing unique need-based solutions to the right set of consumers. Hence, it was a natural progression for it to evolve as a D2C brand that connected directly with the consumers, especially in the new normal. As we have adhered to an Omnichannel approach since inception, the evolution as a D2C brand must be attributed to our digital marketing.
Aligning Mother Sparsh with the vibrant D2C eco-system in the country complements our brand ethos of diversifying product portfolio on a need-based proposition. The modus operandi enables us to connect directly with consumers, receive firsthand feedback and then determine our course of action. Probably this is the reason behind the surge in our website sales in the recent past. While over the past three months, it has spiked three times, we now intend to clock a multi-fold increase soon.
Operating within a niche, what has been your strategy for growth?
The brand has over the years earned the reputation of offering innovative products across baby and mother care segments. We would like to reiterate at this point that all our strategies are devised taking into account the specific needs of the consumers. For instance, while our first product – 99 per cent Pure Water unscented biodegradable baby wipes – was designed to solve all diaper-induced irritants, one of our latest flagship products Dashmoola Hair Lep is a sure-shot hair and scalp care solution for new moms. It suggests that product innovation has been our key driving strategy while operating in the niche segment. A key driver here has also been the acumen of our research team to spot the right trends, as capitalising on them effectively results in fulfilling the needs of the customers.
Apart from product innovation, we have been ahead of the time in adopting technology and digital ecosystem. It was our digital first approach that we had already established an impactful digital presence prior to the pandemic, which eventually compelled other businesses too to adopt a digital approach.
Keeping COVID in mind what has been your focus for the brand? How did you manage to engage with the customers in these testing times?
If we talk about the focus of the brand, the pandemic had little impact on the same. This was primarily because since it came into existence, Mother Sparsh has always ensured that none of its products cause any harmful after-effect or added health complications for the users or for the environment. With regards to engaging with the consumers though, we can say that our digital first approach got reaffirmed and was strengthened further following the outbreak of the pandemic. For instance, over the past year, we have worked with eminent celebrities such as Neena Gupta, Divya Dutta, Tisca Chopra, Rubina Dilaik, Rupali Ganguly, Gauhar Khan, Bhumi Pednekar, Sameera Reddy, Meghna Raj Sarja, Kishwer Merchant, Dipika Kakar and Shikha Singh. Besides, we also engaged a pool of nearly 5000 influencers across different platforms to reach out directly to the consumers despite the apparent roadblocks.
Any significant challenges that you had to overcome during the initial lockdown phase?
The main challenge that we faced in the initial lockdown phase was about the disruption of the supply chain management, but thanks to our omni-channel approach, we succeeded in converting the challenge into an opportunity. Over the past one and a half years, we have registered at least a five-fold growth in terms of revenue while our product diversification has been approximately 25 per cent. We clocked revenue of Rs 22 crore in the previous financial year while currently we are already registering an ARR of nearly Rs 50 crore. We are satisfied that we are proceeding on the track to achieve our target of entering the 100 crores club by FY ’23.
What about the evolving customer sentiments, how would you account for the changing persona of the consumer for your segment and brand in the pre and the post-COVID era?
If there’s one positive outcome of the pandemic, it has been the change in the consumer mindset and increased adoption of technology in our day-to-day lives. The consumer is more informed and concerned than ever about the products they spend their money on. The affinity and awareness pertaining to nature-oriented solutions has increased phenomenally, and it is reflected in the market performance of the segment as well as our brand.
In addition to this, the buying behavior pattern too has undergone sea change, with most people resorting to online buying rather than visiting offline store. Digital being the new buzzword, the touch & feel way of shopping is gradually shifting to a read & evaluate shopping mechanism, which according to me shouldn’t be a cause of worry for brands. All they need to do is understand the need of the hour and make changes that would allow them to operate amid the new scheme of things.
Did you revisit your offerings considering the changing mindset of the customer or the pandemic-led market reform?
As mentioned earlier, the brand has always provided nature-oriented solutions with botanically sourced herbs or ingredients, both our old and new product ranges have been in sync with the evolved needs of the consumers. Therefore, it was not warranted of us to revisit any of our offerings. Another factor that allows us to be at par with the changing mindset of customers is our digital first approach. Our robust digital presence established through varied initiatives & campaigns over the past few years was the biggest enabler for us.
Any special innovation or technology, you want to highlight that makes your retail journey meaningful?
Being a tech-driven brand, we have always relied on the power of data to understand the needs of the consumers. Our strong R&D coupled with cutting edge technology allows us to engineer each of our product to solve the most pertinent and specific needs of babies and Millennial moms. Also, we have leveraged multiple digital platforms to cover all touch points while reaching out to the consumers.
Lastly, connecting the dots how are you orienting your supply chain model just to deliver faster to your customer at every step?
We have always focused on having in place a robust supply chain model, which suffices the needs of Mother Sparsh as a brand and the consumers seeking holistic nature-oriented solutions. The first step that we took in this regard was imbibing a smart inventory planning, which has improved service levels as well as reduced stock costs. Besides, we ensure that the supply chain is monitored periodically. It eventually helps us maintaining a good stock cover. And last but never the least, we have teams that work in different shifts so that every order can be dispatched on same day basis, thereby resulting in faster delivery to the consumers. These steps have helped us re-establish an unbreakable supply chain that was disrupted with the outbreak of the pandemic.