In the series of interviews with market leaders, change-makers, and innovators, we bring our next interview with Entrepreneurs, & marketing professionals, Mr. Dhruv Madhok, and Dhruv Bhasin, Co-Founder, Arata.
Arata – a community-led lifestyle brand with an entire ecosystem built around the core philosophy of clean formulations, responsible practices, and sustainability. The company sells all-natural, plant-based, vegan, and chemical-free unisex skin and hair care products for the “Generation-Clean”.
The brand believes in the customers’ right to honesty and transparency in personal care and fully discloses all ingredients and formulations. Arata has been selling its products online across various marketplaces, including Amazon, Nykaa, etc., as well as on its website. The company is backed by DSG Consumer Partners, Nikhil Vora (Founder and CEO of Sixth Sense Ventures), and other angels.
Arata is on track to achieve an ARR of INR 20 crores by March 2021. A brand built on ESG – Environmental, Social, and Governance.
Arata is the first personal care company in India to use up to 100% recycled and recyclable plastic packaging across its entire product range. They use waste plastic from oceans and landfills across the globe and sanitize, pelletize, melt, and remold the plastic into Arata packaging. They don’t use any single-use plastic in their secondary packaging, such as plastic bags, shrink wrap, or excessive tape. The labels too are printed using food grade, biodegradable ink.
Arata uses only ingredients rated 1-3 on the EWG toxicity scale making their formulations some of the cleanest on the market. The brand focuses and believes in various social pillars, such as gender pay equality, supply chain human rights policies, and LGBTQ rights.
The company also looks at ensuring company diversity, data privacy, and ethical and responsible governance. The brand creates safe, toxin-free skin, hair, and oral care formulas, using plant-based ingredients that harness the power of botanical science.
So, let’s start the Interview:
Next Big Brand: Tell us something about your operations?
Bhasin: As a brand, Arata is internet-first. We sell our formulas on our website (www.arata.in), alongside other marketplaces like Amazon, Nykaa, Myntra, Flipkart, Paytm, Tata Cliq, etc.
Next Big Brand: What motivated you to choose the skincare niche?
Madhok: We envisioned an honest personal care company that would offer trustworthy and credible products across the spectrum, made of the highest quality ingredients that were safe and clean. Based on that vision, with the help of a very talented group of people, we entered the skin, hair, and oral care niche. What started as a way to help friends and family (and their friends and family…) make the switch to world-class, chemical-free, plant-powered skincare, led to the creation of Arata.
Next Big Brand: You focused on the term “Generation Clean”. For readers, it is a new word. Can you explain it?
Madhok: Our vision has always been to remain non-toxic inside and out. Not only did we want non-toxic ingredients, but we also did not want to contribute to the plastic pandemic plaguing our world. ‘Generation Clean’ is exactly this: a generation that practices clean, sustainable methods of living, as well as a generation that uses clean formulas from honest, transparent brands.
We are relentless in the pursuit of attention to detail. We have worked tirelessly with our team of Ph.D. chemists and Ayurvedists to create a line of proprietary plant-based personal products with botanical fragrances, which do not have an asterisk at the end. Once you have our products in your hands, you’ll know that they have already passed head-to-head tests, as compared to both synthetic and natural product competitors.
Alongside this, we are the first personal care company in India to use up to 100% recycled plastic packaging across our entire product range. We take waste plastic from the oceans and landfills across the globe and sanitize, pelletize, melt, and remold it into the Arata packaging you hold in your hands today. We don’t use any single-use plastic in our secondary packaging, such as plastic bags, shrink wrap, or excessive tape. Side note: our labels are printed using food grade, biodegradable ink!
Next Big Brand: Tell us about your natural products. How are they different from others? Differentiate yourself from the competitors.
Bhasin: Brands often blatantly hide behind the garb of “key ingredients” and don’t disclose the harmful chemicals used in their formulations. Large corporations often take advantage of the trust placed in them by disclosing synthetic ingredients using scientific names, which their customers don’t really understand. We don’t work that way. We source our ingredients from across the globe, as well as from organic farms across the country.
The humble flaxseed, our favorite ingredient, is sourced from organic farms in Andhra Pradesh. We ensure that each of our organic ingredients is Certified Organic. We are relentless in the pursuit of attention to detail. We have worked tirelessly with our team of Ph.D. chemists and Ayurvedists to create a line of proprietary plant-based personal products with botanical fragrances, which do not have an asterisk at the end.
Once you have our products in your hands, you’ll know that they have already passed head-to-head tests, as compared to both synthetic and natural product competitors.
Next Big Brand: Most of the skincare brands claim to be natural but the internal story is different. What about your step by step process to make skin-friendly products?
Bhasin: One of the key objectives of bringing Arata to life was to bring a sense of honesty and transparency to the personal care ecosystem. Historically, most brands use the lowest grade ingredients in their products and misrepresent claims of “natural” or “organic” with wild claims. How can one possibly know what’s natural and what’s good/bad for you if one does not know or understand what is in the product?
Our idea was to create a brand that was to be fully honest and transparent with its customers about what ingredients were going into the products along with global certifications and standards that were objectively able to determine Arata as a leading clean-label brand, giving our customers the opportunity to make an informed decision about what goes on their body.
Next Big Brand: How are you competing with this competitive market of skin and wellness brands? What are the challenges you are facing?
Madhok: Competition is a good thing. It gives customers options and it constantly keeps brands like us on our toes ensuring we give customers the best possible products and services. Like most new brands our biggest expense is marketing, which is also our biggest challenge- i.e. trying to get as many people in the ecosystem to discover that brand Arata exists.
Next Big Brand: What do you think about the misleading ads run by big skin brands?
Bhasin: We believe in honesty and transparency when it comes to ads, formulas, and complete ingredient disclosure. We believe that our customers should know exactly what they’re putting on their hair and skin, and are using our formulas responsibly. This is one of the belief pillars of our brand, and we stand against any information that is misleading or dishonest.
Next Big Brand: Your biggest achievement so far?
Bhasin: To have created a strong brand in India with brand pillars of Honesty and Transparency Vegan and Cruelty-Free, Plant-Based, Clean Label and Sustainable and are showing the FMCG ecosystem how a brand like ours can not only show business success but also that sustainable and ethical business practices can be a new normal and how business can empower human and environmental resources of organizations and all associated partners.
Next Big Brand: Milestones you want to achieve in the future?
Madhok: In the next 3 years we want Arata to be the go-to brand for premium clean label, honest and sustainable products.
Arata is a brand with global sensibilities- creatives, communications, and language. We will establish brand Arata in global marketplaces competing for head to head with global brands. We aim to be doing projected annual revenues of 100crs.
Next Big Brand: Indian health care market Vs Global Healthcare. What is your view?
Madhok: The Indian consumer is now able to make an apple to apple comparison of all kinds of products and services as India now is open to and has available most international brands. Some at the same price if not cheaper than what the homegrown brands are offering.
The responsibility lies on homegrown brands like ours to ensure we make products of a global standard- essentially India for the world. Indian personal care brands need to ensure we are able to maintain a global standard with respect to our products and services otherwise we will lose the race to international players.
Next Big Brand: What is the future of health care products? In general and related to your niche?
Bhasin: Sustainable is the new sexy! The time is now for responsible capitalism. We had full clarity that we would use sustainable practices for our business and not pass the buck to our customers or anyone else. The responsibility for sustainability began with us. That’s why another reason to start the business was to show that business can be a force for change and sustainability.
We wanted to make Sustainable Packaging and Practices a mainstream topic- an era of brands taking responsibility instead of passing it on to the customers needed to come to an end. This is the idea behind why we take plastic from the oceans, landfills, and other garbage sites- sanitize it, pelletize it, melt it, and re-mold it into the Arata packaging you see. Even all our secondary packaging involves no plastic, shrink wrap, or any other kind of unsustainable packaging.
Next Big Brand: Generally customers buy health care products from well-known brands. How you attract customers as a start-up?
Bhasin: We use the power of digital marketing across Facebook, Google, Instagram, Amazon, Nykaa, Flipkart, and other market places. We also focus on customer delight- ensuring our customers get more than what they thought they are getting in terms of product samples, gift with purchases, and post-sale customer care. Digital marketing allows our customers to discover our band from the comfort of their computers and phones. It’s a digital marketplace that enables us to market to a large population of people.
Team Next Big Brand extends heartiest wishes to Dhruv Bhasin, Dhruv Madhok, and the amazing team at Arata. Kudos to them for such an amazing and insightful interview.