Newly launched cosmetic company 'Rustic Art' has found success after tapping into the Indian market by utilizing skilled local manufacturers in a bid to cater to the organic domestic market rather than exporting to the West.
Founder Sunita Jaju, along with her niece established the company in 2010 after completing a master's degree in sustainable development and recognizing a gap in the Indian market for locally produced eco-friendly cosmetics.
On discovering that Indian manufacturers were mainly exporting their green cosmetics abroad, Jaju enlisted local women to create a range of organic bath soaps complete with handmade paper packaging to cater to the Asian market.
"I quickly realised we could nuture an organic concept by ultimately tapping into the talent the Indian market already had to offer after finding twelve specialists in Puducherry."
The first batch was deemed a success due to the preservative free soaps being made by cold processing, meaning very little waste of raw materials and a short production turnaround time.
Since then, Rustic Art has gone on to further develop its own sustainable sunscreen lotion, shampoo, and baby skin care line, making Rs 12 lakh in its first year.
Challenges of marketing a new brand in India
The launch of any new brand brings its own set of challenges, and Jaju reveals it took a lot to convince retailers to put their green products on shelves, admist other marketing issues such as bar coding.
"We should have researched on it, but didn't, and ended up wasting a lot of time re-doing the packaging from scratch," says the founder's niece, Maheshwari, who looks after packaging, branding and marketing.
Today, Rustic Art products have found a pan-India market, including Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Dehradun, Chandigarh, and ships to 100 retailers, including online stores.
The duo have also hired a designer a distributor in Bangalore to take care of the South Indian market, and are expecting a turnover of Rs 50 lakh in the next fiscal year whilst continuing to work on perfecting their packaging, even as they plan to enter the cosmetics space and expand operations in rural India.