How Friends Turned Business Partners Are Building An Organic, Chemical-Free Beauty Brand
With a strong vision of ‘ultimate body care at a pocket-friendly price‘, mom entrepreneur Pooja and her friend Tanushree kick-started a skin care brand – Body Café.
About the founders
Pooja, who hails from Bangalore, started her career as an engineer. She then transitioned into an entrepreneur by starting a wedding planning company called, ‘Circle The Date’ and a gourmet bakery named, ‘Ovenly.in’, before her latest brand – Body Café.
Interestingly, the wedding planning stint led her to meet a customer, Tanushree from Hyderabad, as her wedding planner. Over time these acquaintances who then had a customer-client relationship became fast friends.
Pooja, a newcomer in this space, attempted to make a 100% natural and handmade soap, which she later gifted to Tanushree. In love with the outcome, Tanushree conversed with Pooja about ideating and conceptualising a brand of organic products . To lay a solid foundation and be authentic with their product, they got themselves professionally trained and certified in soap making. Come 2019, these friends turned business partners officially launched Body Café.
About the start-up
Body Café is a wellness and beauty care brand that is deeply inspired by home remedies, nature, Ayurveda, and healing aromatherapy. The company’s work is divided efficiently between the founders. Design, manufacturing, and production along with compliance and finance are handled by Pooja. On the other hand, Tanushree manages the fundraising, marketing, and business development side of the company with her team in Hyderabad.
With 40 SKUs, Body Café spreads across a range of categories, offering products for beauty, men’s grooming, spa essentials, pet care, wellness, and home care. The prices range from Rs. 200 – Rs. 900. Now having catered to over 50,000 customers since coming into existence, the brand’s 3 best-selling products which their customers love are the Hazelnut lip balm, the Moringa face pack powder, and the bathing bars.
For new users they offer a ‘try me out kit’ which is a pack of miniature variants of their products. This really helps the new customers to decide if they like Body Café, and most do.
Their products are available on major e-commerce platforms, besides their own website. They also have an offline presence; retail outlet of Fitday store, Hyderabad, and a few brick and mortar stores in Guwahati.
Talking about the brand’s market visibility, the mom entrepreneur says,
“There is no competition unless it’s a healthy one. Our products are of pure, organic ingredients only, at a budget-friendly rate, and this makes us stand out in the market, from other natural product brands.”
Pooja shares, “Covid-19 set a red flag for many start-ups, and it did to Body Café as well. We have been severely affected by the pandemic, but we came out strong. Small expenses increased and so did our production cost, but we did not add that to the product pricing. Our employees, being our backbone, have truly been co-operative during the difficult situation.”
Journey of this mom entrepreneur
The daily grind for Pooja starts at 4.30 in the morning; juggling between gym, household chores, and office work, all before her son wakes up. Not just the support from her husband, who designed the brand logo, she often receives assistance from her father-in-law as well. He promptly helps in the billing and labelling of the products when her 3-year-old son needs his mother.
But the world outside has been tough and rude to her. From being told off for wearing jeans while visiting a government office, to being asked to hand over the phone call to the man of the house while dealing with money matters, Pooja has frequently been at the receiving end of sexist remarks. “People should learn to respect a woman and evolve with the changing time.”
Emphasising, the Boss Mom advises upcoming mompreneurs,
“Never hesitate to implement what you feel, just take the first step, and all else shall fall into place. The fundamental point is to never feel guilty about anything that you do as a working mom. Grab all the help that is offered, it helps in multitasking with ease.”