Get Gorgeous with Prakriti
In today’s world, there are numerous
skin and hair problems commonly seen in many of us. Consumers are concerned
about their skin and hair care products as most of the brands use several
ingredients which either fail to solve the problem or impart with hazardous
side-effects. This is the reason why the cosmetic market is flooded with
Organic products. The growing consumer concern for the use of natural products
is encouraging new manufacturers in the cosmetic industry.
“We manufacture organic, herbal
cruelty free- skin and hair care products,” says Neeta Addapa, the CEO of
Prakriti Herbals. Neeta is an alumnus of SNDT University, Bombay where she
pursued her bachelors and masters programme in pharmacy. A strong backbone in
pharmacy aids her to know all the intricacies of the molecules, particles and
Immediately after completion
of her educational tenure, Neeta fulfilled her dream of getting a job in a multinational
company. After almost 6 months, she realized that it was not her cup of tea. She
was finding the current job monotonous as one needed to perform the same tasks
in a repeated manner. In India, research was still in primitive stage during
that period of time. Hence, the scope of any new or challenging task was
minimal. Neeta quit her job however she was clueless about her career ahead
until she met her husband. Her husband is an entrepreneur and encouraged her to
begin with something new upon shifting to Bangalore. Neeta’s heart knew that
she wanted to do something but “What” was a million dollar question!
Neeta is an ardent woman; she
spent almost a year on planning and working on her thoughts. She started
visiting her husband’s company and educated herself on several corporate
processes and policies. She learnt about the bills, sales, tax process, distribution
and many more. Sometime during this period, Neeta bethought of the allergy
incident that happened to her right after her marriage when she visited a parlour
for a facial. The fierce incident stimulated her mind and ushered the
confluence of her learning in pharmacy with the recently acquired business
skills to discover a new path to the use of natural products for skin and hair.
Fortunately, Neeta met one of
her like-minded friend-Anisha in Bangalore. Anisha too had a similar objective
and hence both started up a company known as AN herbals. Initially, they
utilized the garage space in order to manufacture products such as shampoos,
moisturizers for parlours. They used to follow lot of research papers before
coming up with a product and began producing natural viable products in small
quantities. Gradually, their work started getting appreciated and recognized by
one of the customers in parlour whose husband was found to be an accountant in
Nahar Hotel, Cunningham road, Bangalore. The duo started manufacturing shampoos
for “Nahar “with shampoos and products labelled as “Nahar Hotel”.
In 1994, Anisha had to relocate to Bombay due to her family
priorities. They didn’t have other option rather than shutting down AN herbals. Soon, Neeta gave rise to Prakriti
herbals in 1995. This time the approach was slow in the beginning however
Prakriti geared up gradually and marked its presence with a difference.
Prakriti, a natural skin and
hair care manufacturing unit which provides solutions to all modern day
problems such as hair fall, dandruff, acne, pigmentation. The company does not
carry out any pre-clinical tests and hence is cruelty free. Prakriti also offers
free consultation to the customers so as to suggest the best products suitable
Ideally, the company works on
two verticals viz, Corporate and Retail. Prakriti started with its corporate vertical
which dealt with distribution of natural products (shampoo and moisturizer) to almost
100 hotels Pan India, hotels like Marriot, Royal Orchid was few of them; hospitals
like Manipal, Narayana Hrudalaya and Corporate sectors such as Wipro.
In 2010, Prakriti broadened
its dimensions and opened its arms to the retail market. This gave an
opportunity to deal with the customers directly through online shopping
destinations such as Big Basket (Bangalore,Pune, Hyderabad),Amazon and Flipkart in India. Prakriti products are not
only restricted to India but can also be found in other countries as well. Prakriti products can be bought online from U.S, UK and Europe through eBay.com. One
can find active Prakriti distributors in U.S too. Prakriti products are also
available in Amazon.com and recently Prakriti featured in BBC News.
During the early stages,
Prakriti hired two girls for mixing and packaging of the products. Neeta was
the linchpin of the team and she found herself getting involved in all the
activities for launching a new product in the market. Initially, the delivery
of the products seemed quite difficult. Sometimes, she herself drove to the
buyer’s door to deliver. Then, she managed to have the delivery support from
her husband’s company. As time passes and Prakriti grew bigger, it preferred to
move out from the garage space to a much bigger factory outlet.
Hired people were unskilled
to begin with. Neeta had to oversee their transformation from unskilled talent
to business ready skilled employees. The company entertained freshers in almost
every department be it was in the administration sector or an addition to the R
and D team.
To further enhance her
skills, Neeta joined ISB Goldman Sachs Women Entrepreneurs programme which offered
her confidence and boosted her thoughts to take her company to the next level.
Like other entrepreneurs, Neeta also conquered
a challenging road. During the 90’s, entrepreneurship was a new concept and
being a woman entrepreneur was another challenge. Getting sales tax
registration, drug licence registration process had become a ball and chain.
The government officials urged them to get along their spouses to the office
and claimed that these women can shut the company and can run at any
moment-people never trusted them.
The biggest challenge Neeta
witnessed was to get funds from banks. Now a days it is lot easier to get loans
however back then banks hesitated to funding. Majority of the banks were open
to provide loans only if loan seekers were able to mortgage their house or able
to withdraw their Fixed Deposit.
Vijaya Bank came to rescue and helped in
funding through their V-Swashakti scheme which is free of collateral for women
entrepreneurs. They provide loans 1% lower rate of interest if you are an SME,
Small scale entity.
In spite of the challenges,
Neeta never thought of putting down the arms. She always believed in herself
and had the faith that things will happen in a proper manner. “We are expanding and currently getting orders
in plenty”, Neeta added.
Why people prefer Prakriti?
There are lot of credibility
associated with Neeta’s product. Prakriti always wanted to connect with people,
help people, always needed to make a visible difference in someone’s life.
Sales come into the picture later. She started blogging and providing daily natural
tips through Facebook page. She always wanted to share her knowledge and create
awareness about natural products over synthetic products. She takes free
consultations also over Facebook page and guided the people with natural cures
followed by appropriate suitable products.
1 1) VAT, Drug
Licence, Small Scale Industrialization (SME) certification.
2 2) For export of
products, one needs to apply for Import Export Code (IEC). It’s a simple
application to fill followed by paying the registration fees.
Before introducing a new product in the market, first
Prakriti finds out the customer’s needs, does research for the natural
constituents or ingredients, tests for the colour change and analyzes the pH.
Products follow a soft launch and once it gets approved it is then produced in
Currently, Prakriti focuses more
on retail sector. The satisfaction factor is directly received from the consumers
which was lacking in corporate vertical. This gives valuable insight towards the
company’s progress and offers her a reason to smile. According to Neeta, retail
sector is good in making business even though volume may be small but for
branding it is extremely good. Neeta’s growth strategy is to grow more in the
online retail sector across PAN India. Orders are coming from different states of
India like Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and even small places in Kerala and Mangalore.
“I am looking for distributors in small cities,” she said enthusiastically.
Neeta wants to spread across
different organic stores. Her target audiences are the ones who value organic
products. She would also like to extend in UAE and Middle East. “We will also arrange a mode of payment in
our website so that customer can directly buy from our website rather than
going to online shopping sites”, she added.
Message to young entrepreneurs:
The young entrepreneurs
should find out the customers need. Per
the current scenario, lot of youngsters come up with the idea of making money
and they consider themselves as entrepreneurs. They start off getting funds,
selling their products and making money. However, this is not the real sense of
entrepreneurship. This can be referred as trading-buying and selling. “If you
are passionate about your idea that you think it will make a difference, fulfill
someone’s need then come up with a plan to reduce the gap and give it in the
best possible way to the world without being greedy. Always remember-Believe
and achieve”, she signs off.