This Startup wants to become Uber for Organic beauty segment
16th, May 2019 - Health care
The organic beauty market is growing at a rapid speed as customer prefer organic product over the other. We had an opportunity to interview the upcoming and promising startup in the segment and here are the interview proceedings.
Please share the background of all the co-founders of Vanity Wagon
The idea was thought of by Naina post her stint in London, UK. The market research and study showed tremendous industry growth and also a promise for a brand like Vanity Wagon to create a niche space for itself. That being said Prateek and Naina went on to initiate the set-up of Vanity Wagon when Sahil Shrestha (the operational team leader) jumped in and went on to complete the founding team.
Naina is an established media Influencer and Professional Make-Up Artist in India. She completed her MBA in2012 and then went on to specialise in Beauty & Skincare with her education at London School of Styling and London School of Makeup. She has 7 years of professional experience in marketing and brand building.
An MBA from University of Oxford with a Dean's Commendation Award, Prateek Ruhail has 3 years of Project Finance (Legal) and 4 years of Business Management experience. His area of expertise is business strategy and core management. He also has led Mega Infrastructure Project financings, thereby understanding the nuances of financial management in India.
Sahil has an educational qualification in management and technology. Post completion of his MBA in 2012 he went on to work in different facets of operations, from leading the events team at EO2 Event Management, he founded Plan Makers (a digital marketing portal, driving local vendors marketing). At Vanity Wagon, he leads the operational vertical and bringing the best of his experiences on board.
When and how did the concept Vanity Wagon conceptualize?
The Idea – Shopping for beauty in UK is not only easy but very clear for a consumer. One can shop organic-natural products with ease as there were a plethora of options. This was what drove the idea. In India there are beauty markets however they are all mixed with multiple categories – natural is one of them. This increases consumer search time and reduces the pleasure of shopping for a user of natural/ organic products.
Validation– The idea was validated when the first stage of research was conducted about the beauty market in India. The organic beauty market with the fast growth of over 52% proved that the consumers of India were making the switch and a marketplace like Vanity Wagon would just make it easier.
Design – With the idea in place, the question in mind was how to go about launching the market, which brands to keep initially, which products and categories to target, what consumer base to work on. With several social surveys, A& B testing, and market research the team went on to finalise all these and a point to start from. Assembling the tech team, the base work for the portal – tech, design, graphics, were put in place and the idea was executed with a turnaround time of 4 months.
Prototype – With the well thought out design strategy and pre-launch surveys the team pivoted on the main forum and with initial testing has created a robust model of an e-retail. That being said a prototype was not needed and the execution was just put in place.
How Vanity Wagon provides a better value to the customer?
Vanity Wagon is a niche marketplace for natural and organic beauty products. We are building a community of people who believe in Clean Beauty and educating those who are new to it. We enable our users to make an informed purchase by providing them with maximum information about our products be it through blogs, videos, reviews, chats, forum or our magazine.
We offer 100% genuine products, 24/7 free consultation, and timely delivery to all our customers across India.
As a Brand 'Vanity Wagon' what it stands for?
Vanity Wagon is a one-stop platform for genuine organic and natural products for beauty and personal care. We ensure that the products included in the platform are toxin free, cruelty-free and completely safe. Our belief is to create a shopping experience that is not only par satisfaction but also through an informed choice. Vanity Wagon imparts a large amount of information on the products and also on the general adoption of organic beauty in one's life. We want to grow as a brand which is informative, trustworthy and fun.
Being in the Beauty and fashion sector which is crowded by both organised players and unorganised players how does Vanity Wagon Stand out?
By providing the best of natural and organic beauty, personal care and wellness products all at one place. Further by ensuring product authenticity.
By continuously engaging with our customers through emails, SMS and push notifications and building a community.
By providing better information than other players in the market.
Making the shopping experience more comfortable, smoother and faster than others.
What value proposition does Vanity Wagon promise to the customer?
Vanity Wagon creates a space where an individual only has natural options be it in makeup, skincare, bathing essentials or wellness. Everything on the portal is non-harmful chemical driven and makes it easy for a consumer to get hooked onto clean beauty. While other platforms offer all sorts of beauty and personal care products which may or may not be natural, Vanity Wagon's USP is that it is a dedicated platform for just natural and organic products.
The co-founder's profile is interesting, and they are from different backgrounds. How does the collaboration work? Share your experience on the developing of a strong founding team.
The team, including me, come from varied backgrounds and this is our biggest USP. We are equipped to tackle the hardest of problems, and this is driving Vanity Wagon to success every passing day. So the collaboration works at a vertical level - the work is cut out as per our area of expertise, and we have a meeting every morning to see where another one can help. Our periodic reviews of tasks, strategising every step, enables us to keep track of how the team is progressing. My background in beauty enables me to understand the industry with ease, whereas Prateek with a core business strategy background works around loopholes and planning in that regard.
What are the initial challenges you have faced in your entrepreneurial journey and what are the steps you have consider to challenges the same?
The biggest challenge for Vanity Wagon is to make the users switch. With a diverse number of chemical-laden products in the market, the majority of user-base is content with buying products that a celebrity endorses. Natural products are comparatively newer to the space of mainstream beauty and are slowly making their place in the market.
That being said, we are doing our bit by imparting knowledge about the benefits of using natural and organic products. We have been focusing on disseminating a large amount of information on Organics, including Blogs, Vlogs, our own Magazine, Articles and that has been defining our growth remarkably. We believe there is a gap in the market and we are bridging it while making Clean Beauty the next big thing.
Is young India well equipped for future challenges?
It definitely is. The Millenial generation is all about understanding what's around us and trying to find a solution for it. The current generation has overcome several world-scale problems with simple and carefully crafted solutions - be it off-grid power generation or simply ordering groceries at home. This just shows the will and determination with which the world is moving, and it definitely hints at a positive future, where challenges would not be so hard to crack after all.
How do you see the future market and where do you see Vanity Wagon by 2025?
The Organic beauty market in India is expected to grow to 1.1 billion by 2025, and Vanity Wagon has plans of capturing the majority of it and being the market leader.
· The company wants to serve customers through an omnichannel strategy, thereby aiming to open 15 stores by 2025.
· The company's vision for the next 5 years is to bring together 300 brands that are all natural and bring out a variety for the consumers across all categories and enable them to become a consistent part of the Vanity Wagon community.
· Vanity Wagon is looking forward to increasing its team size to 30 by 2025.
· The company is planning to ship Indian Organic beauty products to 10 foreign territories.
Your advice for a person who wants to start his own venture?
The success of a venture is always about the team. A great team is a must to bring your business forward and reach new heights. Plus, you need to have passion, creativity, and resilience. If you have these three skills, you are ready to embark on the startup journey.
Your quote on Entrepreneurship.
"Believe in your dream, work towards it and greatness will follow."
Website: Vanity Wagon
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