This serial entrepreneur went from home testing a cure for hair loss to create a personal care brand D2C
In 2015, Prashant Parikh was working for a medical tourism company as a regional manager when the company closed, and he was forced to consider other sources of income.
He thought about getting started, and since hair loss was a problem he personally faced, it prompted him to find a solution.
“There seemed to be no end to my hair loss problems despite using so many products,” Prashant recalls. “I knew this was a common problem, so I researched different hair growth products and ingredients to develop a solution in the form of hair oil.” Hair oil was the genesis of Prashant’s personal care brandlaunched in 2016 from Delhi.
Satthwa is a D2C brand that offers around 25 skin and hair care products, including hair growth oils and serums, essential oils, shampoos, acne gels and supplements. From self-experimenting with his homemade oil to marketing on Facebook, Prashant has come a long way in creating a successful D2C brand, but he remains true to his humble beginnings.
“If you go to the official Satthwa website, you might see my bald head on one of the pages,” jokes Prashant. Satthwa’s products are priced between Rs 300 to Rs 700 with the average cart price being around Rs 625 to Rs 650. For now, the products are available online only.
Yet another innovation in the garage
Prashant founded Satthwa in his garage. He took his mother’s help to develop the proprietary oil solution using nine different oils made from raw materials like grapeseed, jojoba, amla and almond oil.
“In the beginning, my mother and I were the only ones working. We used to get the raw materials from a supplier, make the oil solution and package it at home. We didn’t even have a brand name back then and our lot size was as small as 50 units per lot. As the demand increased, I brought in my driver to help me,” recalls Prashant.
Within six months of marketing the oil on Facebook as a minimum viable product, its demand grew from five units to 40-50 units per month. Once they reached 100 units, Prashant bought a manual bottling machine and registered his brand. He also signed a contract with his original supplier for the supply of raw materials. By the end of 2016, approximately 600 units of hair oil were shipped across the country.
Prashant claims that in just one year, without any active marketing and with just two employees working for Prashant from his garage, the brand made Rs 1 crore from the hair oil alone.
After this huge success, Satthwa introduced essential oils in 2017, followed by an argan oil shampoo in 2018.
“People are asking to use our premature hair products on small children. While on the one hand it shows the demand for Satthwa products, on the other hand we really need to study how food and lifestyle can cause these problems at such a young age,” says Prashant.
Today, the team has grown to 13 people, with staff for social media, graphic design, content, e-commerce and operations. Prashant does most of the research to develop new and old products. He says Satthwa’s products are made from natural ingredients and without the addition of harmful chemicals, however, he is quick to add that the brand cannot claim to be 100% organic in all of its products.
What started as a mother-son team, Satthwa now has 13 employees across social media, operations, e-commerce and more.
Prashant started his career by starting a web hosting company called SpeedHost, which was sold to Directi in 2011. After that, he started a company called Pyjamachap.com, which had to shut down. He then turned to medical tourism.
Despite his experience in such diverse fields, he says running a product-based D2C business was completely new to him, and he found advertising and marketing particularly challenging.
Finding the right shipping method for its newly launched products, across the country multiple times, was also a difficult task.
“At that time, there were only one or two companies shipping petroleum-based products across the country, that too at a very high cost. Logistics companies avoid these products because they are highly flammable. I went to online forums and found that this is a common problem for many other brands that develop oil-based products like Satthwa,” says Prashant.
Despite the initial setbacks, Satthwa says it is profitable with an annual turnover of Rs 3.5 crores. With an initial investment of around 10,000 rupees, Satthwa started making sales within the first three months, says Prashant.
What awaits us
According to Allied Market Research, the organic personal care market is expected to reach $58,615.6 million by 2031, registering a CAGR of 5.3% from 2022 to 2031.
The Satthwa team plans to harness this potential and plans to grow responsibly in the years to come. Prashant also plans to raise the first round of funding in the coming months to grow the startup brand fivefold.
With nearly 300,000 customers in India, Satthwa competes with Juicy Chemistry, Mellow Herbals, Vedix, MamaEarth and many other D2C brands. Prashant is confident that his brand will stay true to its slogan – pure to the core.
“While many skin and hair care brands are branching out into cosmetics, we avoid doing so. We are trying to find solutions to a problem. When I started with hair growth oil, it was a necessity for me and many others, so our goal is to continue our research into common skin and hair problems and create better products,” concludes Prashant.