How Ritika Jayaswal nourished her Ayurveda-inspired D2C beauty brand Nourish Mantra through the pandemic to grow 180% in the second year of its launch
A whopping 12,930 companies across India shut down operations in 2020-2021, as per data released by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). This is when the pandemic was at its worst. While businesses were struggling to survive, Nourish Mantra, an Ayurveda-inspired beauty and wellness brand that was launched just before the pandemic managed to grow through the difficult period. Despite challenges, the brand posted 180% growth from year one to two.
The overall growth of the category thanks to increased attention to skin care during the crisis, may have been one of the reasons for the growth.
Not just skin care, there is a rise in the demand for Ayurveda-based skin care products. According to a report, the Indian Ayurvedic products market size reached Rs 626 billion in 2022. And while there is a lack of research that pegs the exact share of skin care in the total market for Ayurvedic products, one can safely assume that is noteworthy, looking at the growing number of brands in this category.
This is the trend that professional-turned-entrepreneur Ritika Jayaswal banked on when she launched Nourish Mantra.
Birth of the brand
Jayaswal felt the need to take better care of her skin as a professional working in a beauty accessory company in New York. This led her to eventually launch Nourish Mantra, a holistic wellness brand.
Jayaswal’s job involved managing the global distribution for her employer. This familiriased her with the global beauty industry trends. When launching Nourish Mantra, the idea was to bank on the high demand for Ayurvedic products in India and combine it with science. She started by meeting practitioners of Ayurveda along with other people in the industry and the idea turned to reality.
Although Nourish Mantra relies heavily on Ayurveda, Jayaswal insists that it is not an Ayurvedic products company.
“We are not an Ayurveda brand, but Ayurveda inspired. We take wisdom from Ayurveda but we are backed up with science,” said Jayaswal who is the chief executive officer and founder of the company.
So, Nourish Mantra uses the blended approach of combining traditional practices with modern ideas making this its unique selling point (USP).
The brand was launched in the US market in 2020 with the intention to be a completely offline brand since Jayaswal comes from this background. Then the pandemic hit. “Since things changed in February 2020, we quickly pivoted to online,” said Jayaswal.
She soon brought the brand to India in February 2020, which is proving to be a more beneficial market, she shared.
Thanks to its agile strategies that help it keep up with the demands of the target audience, the brand saw a growth of 180% from year one to year two; and a 40% growth in the following year.
Jayaswal also shared that the brand acquired 300% more customers in the last quarter.
The brand launched with eight products and has scaled up to 40 products as of May 2023. It also expanded in terms of categories it is present in—growing from skincare to hair care.
There are many products under development that will be launched soon. “Since we have understood consumer behaviour with aggressive marketing research, we are now able to work on several products,” said Jayaswal.
Although the brand went online as was the need of the hour, it still has its offline retail aspirations intact and is available at 10-18 multi-brand outlets (MBOs) across Delhi NCR. Soon, the brand is planning to expand to other cities as well. “Our goal is to get into 100 stores by the end of this year,” revealed Jayaswal.
The brand started with metro cities and tier 1 towns but now, the focus is on Bharat (tier II and III cities) as the market has great potential.
In terms of product range, the brand is planning to grow its wellness category and also launch colour cosmetics.
Having started its offline journey recently, the brand is currently online-heavy.
Ritika Jayaswal says that she expects to achieve a 50-50 ratio by the end of the next two years. “The penetration of e-commerce is still less than 3% in India. Therefore, a much larger audience is still shopping offline,” said Jayaswal while sharing her expectation of the growth of the offline market for the brand.
Supply chain infrastructure
“Ethical sourcing is what we follow which means we only go to our trusted suppliers. If any new suppliers want to participate, then there is a rigorous process which includes going through several tests,” said Jayaswal about the source of the ingredients for the products.
The brand has its own research and development (R&D) set up in Uttarakhand while it is working with third-party manufacturers for its own formulations.
The brand has a warehouse in Delhi which helps it cater to the demand in the North. To deliver to the rest of India, it uses Amazon’s fulfillment which has warehouses in Bombay, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru.
The brand is looking for enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to ensure that there are fewer gaps in demand and supply.