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Mush to shift its 100% production to India by 2025: co-founders

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The company scaled from five SKUs in a single category in 2018 to over 150 SKUs across more than five categories in 2022

Bengaluru: Mush has not only been able to get a good share in the bath linen segment in India but has also experimented and entered into other categories such as kitchen towels, baby swaddle wraps, baby apparel, blankets, socks and undergarments—all made out of bamboo fabric. The brand also aims to launch a complete range of skin care to further explore the moisture retention and anti-microbial properties of the bamboo plant.

A unique idea

It was during a site visit that Ayush Agarwal and Nihar Gosalia came across bamboo fabric. “We were amazed by its high quality, soft feel and absorbent, anti-odour, anti-microbial and eco-friendly properties. We started exploring products that can be crafted from bamboo fabric and found that the fabric enhances the overall essential properties of towels,” shares Ayush Agarwal. The duo then did a consumer survey to understand the key decision-making points of customers when buying bath linen and realised that bamboo fabric addresses all of these. “We launched our brand ‘Mush’ and started with a small sample batch of 100 pieces. To our surprise, we got great feedback from customers and distributors. This led us to believe in the potential of bamboo fabric to disrupt the bath linen segment,” adds Agarwal.

Agarwal and Gosalia have always been inspired by the numerous D2C brands that have been able to surpass both category growths and traditional brands thanks to their innovative products and marketing at scale. “The numbers achieved by some of the newer successful brands like boAt, Wakefit, Sugar, Beardo, etc., in their respective categories is a huge source of inspiration for us,” shares Nihar Gosalia.

Consumer sentiment

In their journey, Agarwal and Gosalia have faced a variety of challenges, mostly around production and brand awareness. “We struggled immensely with production as very few people in India knew and spoke about bamboo fibres and fabrics. Therefore, we had to travel frequently to China for R&D and production optimisation,” explains Agarwal. Over the years, Mush has been able to shift a signiť cant chunk of its production to India with knowledge transfer and high MOQ (minimum order quantity) promise to the manufacturers.

“We continue to further shift our production to India with a vision to completely move to ‘Make in India’ by 2025,” adds Agarwal. With established players such as Spread, Bombay Dyeing, Trident, etc., it was also very difficult for the duo to drive brand awareness and adoption amongst the same set of consumers. “We leveraged e-commerce with deep discounts to drive initial adoption, and also undertook exhibitions and offline displays as our products required consumers to touch and feel them to make their buying decisions. Further, we partnered with influencers to drive brand awareness on social media channels,” conveys Agarwal.

According to Gosalia, the Indian home furnishings market is expected to exhibit a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 8.77% during 2022-2027. “The three broad segments in this category i.e. furniture, décor and furnishings have been growing positively,” shares Gosalia. During the last couple of years, he continues, there has been a small shift of market share from furniture to décor. “This is due to controlled consumption which resulted in consumers spending less on high-value items like furniture. However, consumers continue to spend on furnishings and décor items to upgrade the interiors of their home or office. The home furnishings segment thus contributes about 26% and among its sub- segments, bed linen has the largest share close to half of the total market. But the faster-growing sub-segments are towels, curtains, upholstery, blankets, rugs and carpets,” says Gosalia.

At Mush, what helps the cause is that Gen Z consumers seem to be moving towards more eco-friendly and locally sourced products. “Furthermore, self-love seems to be an emerging trend across age groups and genders. This, coupled with increasing disposable incomes, will further fuel the growth for premium categories and products like ours,” conveys Agarwal.

Agarwal and Gosalia intend to drive their brand’s growth with both product and channel expansion. “We are exploring other product categories such as beauty, innerwear, baby apparel, etc. We also intend to explore offline distribution, global markets and niche e-commerce marketplaces to drive incremental awareness and demand for our products,” concludes Agarwal.

Brownie Points

  • Mush has achieved year-on-year growth of more than 100% in the last two years. Agarwal and Gosalia expect their brand to close this year on a similar trend.
  • Mush has scaled from five SKUs (stock-keeping units) in a single category in 2018 to over 150 SKUs across more than five categories in 2022.
  • The brand has shifted 70% of its production to India and intends to bring it to 100% by end of 2025.
  • Mush has consistently ranked among the top five products in its categories on Amazon India.

First appeared in The India D2C Yearbook 2022

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