Journey of Naina Ruhail at Organic Cosmetics Startup Vanity Wagon

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Vanity Wagon is India’s first online marketplace, which brings only organic and  natural beauty brands to consumers.

The idea was thought of by Naina Ruhail post her stint in London, UK a professional makeup stylist. Thereafter, the husband-wife duo of 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. 

Currently co-founder at Vanity Wagon, Naina Ruhail recounts her entrepreneurial journey to Startupanz

The idea that triggered inception of Vanity Wagon: The idea was thought of by me, while I was living in London, UK. Shopping for natural beauty in UK is not only easy but very educative for a consumer. One can shop organic-natural products with ease as there are a plethora of options and that too with all the information one needs to make the switch to organics.

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.

This is the idea that triggered the need for a one-stop-shop for all natural and organic beauty products which can lead to a hassle-free and convenient shopping
experience.

The future of organic cosmetics market in India: According to RedSeer Consulting, Indian online beauty market is currently pegged at $150 million. The market size is growing 10 times per year and is expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2025.

The market size of organic beauty products is expected to reach $142 million by 2020 with a growth of 52% annually. People are becoming aware of the benefits of organic products and the harmful effects of chemical-based products and thus making the shift.

The future of the Indian market looks extremely positive reciprocating the growth in mainstream beauty since 2010.

The organic beauty market in developed economies such as UK and USA is well established with major players such as Jo Malone, Lush Cosmetics, Kora Organics.

All these brands have seen phenomenal growth and continue to dominate the everyday lives of millions of users in these countries. That being said the market seems to heading to a positive growth with the global market pegged to be $19 Bn by 2025 for organic beauty.

Sourcing and curation of the Organic Cosmetics: The first and foremost criterion for a brand to become a part of Vanity Wagon is that it needs to be natural/organic, cruelty-free and free of harmful chemicals.

The product it offers has to be safe, effective and luxurious to experience. The second thing that we look for is brand validation.

How long has the brand been in the market, what kind of response they’ve received, the product range, brand vision, etc are few of the pointers we like to tick before getting them on board.

We are un-compromising, some might say relentless, in our quest to find the right products for our consumers.

We, at Vanity Wagon, make sure that none of the finished products available at our offline store is tested on animals or have been engaged in any such activity even via third-parties.

We conceived the store with a pledge to not to serve any product that has been tested on animals in any way.

With the ethical values and social responsibility, we proudly bring you a great range of cruelty-free products that are worth every praise and penny.

Also, before getting any brand onboard, we always check whether it is certified- cruelty free by PETA and safe-to-use by ECOCERT.

Pros and cons of starting up with your life partner: The journey of a startup is long and one with a lot of ups and downs. So in my opinion every entrepreneur should embark on this journey only with a team that they can trust and rely on.

That person for me was my partner. We believed in Vanity Wagon from the first day and felt it was our calling.

There are several pros while working with your partner, it makes it easy to converse and work on projects, as there is a deeper understanding. Also, covering up for one another in busy times becomes easier.

The only con I see is that every aspect of your life becomes the startup journey and detaching yourself even when you are away from work is not easy.

My experience of fundraising in India market:  Vanity Wagon is bootstrapped and is working towards raising early stage investment in FY 19-20. The shareholders at present are the founding members.

Fundraising in India is a lot about showing the investors how capable your team is and if you have the mettle to achieve your milestones.

The market is very open to startups at the present stage and raising funds for a startup that is stable is not the most difficult of tasks in today’s scenario.

Vanity Wagon has the ideal team for the industry we are in and we are drawing interest from the venture industry owing to our growth in the online space.

On the current status of Vanity Wagon and future plans: Vanity Wagon is bootstrapped and is working towards raising early stage investment in FY 19-20.

We have invested in the tune of $150k in the business and have applied it successfully in attaining growth for Vanity Wagon on all fronts.

The shareholders at present are the founding members and our CTO. The founding team comprises of me (Naina Ruhail), Prateek Ruhail and Sahil Shreshta. We have teams aligned towards varied areas of operation – content and media, marketing, technology, operations and finance and strategy.

The team at present is of 11 members sitting out of two strategic locations – corporate office and fulfilment centre.

About the founder: Naina Ruhail completed her MBA in 2012 and then went on to specialise in Beauty & Fashion with her education at London School of Styling and London School of Makeup before starting VanityWagon.in

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