In this edition of Founder Friday, we talk to Mahima Doshi of Anour. Read the interview to see how they got started, what the journey has been like and what they set out to accomplish.
- How did Anour start?
I have always been a skin care enthusiast, I wanted good skin care and always preferred natural even though it was not a trend in India. I loved organic skin care and ordered from abroad and companies like Tata Harper which is a 100% pure. It was surprising to know that organic skincare was not available in a country like India where natural and organic products actually originated. I did try some Indian brands as well but they were really expensive for the market in India. What I believe is that if we want to actually replace the chemical products with organic & natural, it needs to be affordable for the customers so that they use the product daily and it doesn’t end up being just a premium one-time purchase. The goal was to tap into this market, by matching chemically created products with natural organic products in terms of their price. Only then would there be equal competition. I want more people to have natural products as a very basic thing at their homes.
Another company belief is that, when we take care of what we eat so much, how can we not take care of our skin? What we put on our skin should be as important as what we eat. This was also the main concept behind starting the brand. Jinal and I met in college and shared these beliefs about natural products back then as well. She avoided using too much skincare as she had sensitive skin and feared that chemicals do more harm than benefit. Only then we started discovering more brands that were organic but did not seem affordable to us. That was the gap in the market that we identified and wanted to tap into. We only wanted to sell products that we would ourselves buy from the shelves.
- Affordability of your product has been a great checkmark. How did you strike the balance as a brand between delivering quality and affordability, especially in the natural and organic space, given the fact that the ingredients themselves are so expensive?
The ingredients are definitely expensive and we did face issues initially, as there was a common assumption in the market that, “higher the price of the product, better the quality”. As time passed, we were able to cover the costs and were okay with reducing the costs on branding. In spite of these hurdles, our company has not compromised on price and quality.
- What has the journey been like since you’ve started?
Covid has been a setback for all, our company is 3 years old. Covid was here for 1.5 years which is obviously challenging for companies like us to survive. But I still feel that we found a calling for both Jinal and I - the company has a direction and we have a lot more to achieve. The main thing that we believed in is that the skin is the largest organ of the body, which needs extensive care, but has been ignored by the majority. The use of chemicals has made such a negative impact over the years – people consume 30-40% of chemicals on a daily basis just by skincare. Our skin has open pores which absorbs the product and goes into the deeper layers of our body also. People are hesitant to use tinned foods which have preservatives and this makes us question as to how they are okay with using tinned skincare.
- Which is your most cherished brand value?
Initially when my partner and I connected, the thought that kept us on track, impacted us and formed the core value of the company, was that, “what you put on your skin is as important as what you eat”. The term organic has a powerful positive reinforcement in the food industry, but it hasn’t been the utilized the same way in the skincare field. If people are ready to invest in organic food, they must not compromise on organic skin care. So, this was something that really resonated with our brand.
- In the last 3 years, which product of yours has been a customer favorite and what do they like about it?
Initially, our coffee scrub had great success among our product range. This, we believe was because of the reason that the market had coffee scrubs with dried coffee, with few essential oils and sugar. These scrubs are generally harsh on the skin and make soft skin rough. These But what we developed is a cream-based scrub with shea butter and aloe vera gel, which does the job of scrubbing the skin while moisturizing it at the same time.
The second product was the Candle body butter, which works as an aromatherapy massage candle. One can light the candle which gives a fresh Vanilla fragrance from the vanilla extract and the wax formed after melting can be applied on the body as a body butter. Using the candle body butter moisturizes the skin and gives a sense of relaxation. This, we believe is more of an experience than a product which stays in the mind of the user for a long time.
- Which is your staple from the entire set?
Right now, I absolutely love the Cherry lip and cheek tint, I use it at least twice a day and don’t apply any other lip shade throughout the day. I own a lot of make-up and love wearing it but I haven’t used any product since I’ve started using the lip and cheek tint. I use it on my lips and cheeks when I want a light pinkish shade. What I love about it is that it’s natural, made out of cherry and beetroot extracts giving me a glow on the cheeks and moisturizes my lips as well. This is one product that I feel everyone should use because you cannot apply lip shades, they have a lot of chemicals and you tend to eat your lip shades.