Ayurveda is growing due to consumer preference towards chemical-free herbal health & personal care products: Vishal Kaushik, Upakarma Ayurveda – Financial Express

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The beauty and wellness industry has witnessed an evident shift of consumers moving towards Ayurvedic products. Ayurveda has a lot to offer and the pandemic has taught everyone on how important it is to use natural and safe products over those harmful chemicals. With the markets all full of the new natural brands and products, it becomes pretty difficult to make the right choice on what to buy. The D2C segment is rising every day and this shift in consumers is here to stay that many Ayurvedic brands have also witnessed. Financial Express Online caught up with Vishal Kaushik, Founder & MD, Upakarma Ayurveda to talk about his views on Ayurvedic and organic products market in India. Excerpt:
Do you think pandemic has brought Indian consumers closer to Ayurvedic and organic products?
The onset of the pandemic was unprecedented. It forced everyone to pause from their daily grind and take a better look at their health & immunity. Stronger immune system became the need of the hour. Time-tested and the oldest science of healing, Ayurveda gained everybody’s trust. Not just the Indian consumers but the entire world started to trust this chemical free way of life. Upakarma Ayurveda has authentic Ayurveda at its core and as a health care brand, we have always stood by our resolution to provide the best quality ayurvedic formulations in health, wellness & immunity. 
Ayurveda is a holistic approach that aims at both the prevention of diseases and promotion of good health through all natural ingredients. Also, the increased awareness about the harmful effects of chemicals on the health is causing a major shift of preference towards the Ayurvedic products. People recognized the importance and power of natural products, especially immunity-boosting products. Ayurveda has been practiced in India, the benefits have been embraced by the consumers and the relevance of this traditional method of healing stays on.
Considering the Ayurvedic industry is on a boom, what are your expectations from the upcoming budget 2022?
We are holding an optimistic view for the upcoming budget.
How do you feel about the market competition since many Ayurvedic startups have now emerged in the last 2-3 year?
Being a pre-Covid-19 brand, Upakarma Ayurveda already became a trusted name in the Indian Ayurveda market. When the times got tough and the world was facing the onset of the pandemic, we at Upakarma tied up our laces and launched 11 new ayurvedic immunity boosters after a lot of R&D sessions with our team of Ayurveda experts. Two of the best sellers Pure Shilajit Resin and Ashwagandha were already being loved and trusted by people for the past 3 years and witnessed significant surge in demand after the pandemic owing to their immunity strengthening properties. 
The introduction of new immunity boosters such as Giloy Capsules, Curcumin Drops, Giloy Tulsi Juice among others helped us see a monthly increase of almost 60% in our revenue.  Many new companies emerged in the Ayurveda market in the past 2 years. However, consumers prefer buying products relate to health & immunity based on trust in the brand and quality of the products. Ever since our launch, owing to our authentic premium quality, people placed their belief and love in us. This led Upakarma Ayurveda to be one of the top 10 D2C brands in India.
All the love from our customers motivated us to launch other categories in the market, including beauty and expand our existing health and wellness range of products. We have been consistently offering a unique range of pure Ayurvedic products according to the market trends and needs of the customers. With our innovative product catalog and genuine quality products made Upakarma Ayurveda the trusted & most loved Ayurveda brand in India.
How is Upakarma Ayurveda managing to stay authentic in the market? What makes your brand different from others?
Upakarma Ayurveda is known for authentic premium quality Ayurvedic formulations. Each and every product is backed by extensive R&D by leading Ayurveda experts. Utmost care is taken in sourcing the ingredients. We source only the premium quality ingredients at a global scale.  All Upakarma Ayurveda products are tested in labs attested with the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL). With a number of Ayurveda brands available in the market these days, finding a genuine Ayurveda product can be a tough grind. Hidden beneath a pretty package there can be a list of chemicals that have no relevance with traditional Ayurvedic healing. This is where Upakarma Ayurveda stands out, offering a wide range of chemical free products. Being a customer first brand helped us reflect the suggestions and feedback of people in our products and strategies.  
For the first time, India witnessed a new brand launching a taboo product which was just used as an aphrodisiac, in a unique new form, to top it off recommending its usage to a new target audience i.e., women. Before Upakarma, marketers had maintained Shilajit as a product only for men, we broke this barrier around this wonderful product while creating an entirely new category for Pure Shilajit Resin Form.
Uniqueness is our staple; we aim to bring new ideas. Upakarma Ayurveda works on two-way customer feedback and cumulates it into offering consistently unique, chemical-free and pure Ayurvedic products. Extensive research and using traditional techniques with a contemporary touch helped us launch iconic products like: Pure Shilajit Resin, Shilajit Tea, Jitashwa Capsules and Shilajit Resin with Gold Dust. 
Upakarma has been able to make a dent in the market because of authentic and superior quality products and that is and will always be our market value proposition.
Please share what kind of marketing strategies you have adopted in the past two years especially during the pandemic.
We follow intensive research-based campaign strategies for brands as well as individual products. 
We believe to establish a strong presence through both online and offline tools. Being a digital first brand, our focus is to keep up with our audience where they are more active like the social media platforms.
A lot of thought goes behind dedicated strategies for each product. We have been creating awareness about our brand and products through a series of marketing tools which includes sampling, digital media advertising, social media outreach, PR, print & electronic media campaigns and many others. 
Digital platforms have been an integral part of Upakarma Ayurveda. It has helped us with building a positive brand image in the Ayurveda market to set new trends among the legendary brands.
We promoted our products through various media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google. We ran many successful campaigns related to the ongoing scenarios which helped us gain even more popularity. Everyday our Instagram and Facebook accounts are flooded with old and new customers across India and from different parts of the world asking about the product details, giving us feedback and requesting for launching new products.
How has Upakarma Ayurveda as a brand performed in 2021 and what are your expectations for 2022?
When the pandemic extended to the year 2021, the tough times also got a new life. However, owing to well-planned logistics and other verticals, we are looking at a 100% increase in our YoY revenue. We launched great new products and expanded our product portfolio with some innovative products like Pure Shilajit Resin Form with Gold Dust. Despite the tough situations team Upakarma Ayurveda geared up while keeping all the health protocols in mind and worked hard and smart towards overcoming the obstacles and came out as winners. 
We were recognized for our unwavering focus on bringing quality back to Ayurveda right from the beginning of the year 2021. Prominent media houses such as Femina bestowed us with the ‘Femina Power Brand 2021’ award in the category of ‘Health & Beauty.’ 
Another notable milestone came along when the Co-Founder & Director of the company, Mr. Parag Kaushik was honored with the world-renowned Forbes 30 under 30 Asia 2021 award.
Keeping the awards flowing in Vogue India recognized our premium quality Aloe Vera Juice with the Vogue Beauty Awards 2021 in the category ‘Inside Out Beauty.’
Yet another feather in the cap was added with both the Upakarma Ayurveda Co-Founders Mr. Vishal Kaushik & Mr. Parag Kaushik being awarded with the much coveted ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2021’ in service business – Health, Beauty & wellness by the Entrepreneur Media.
As for the year 2022, we are all set to keep up the pace by serving people with best quality Ayurvedic formulations in health, wellness, beauty & immunity with great new launches. With this, we also hope the year 2022 brings respite to the world from the ongoing pandemic and good health prevails above all. Looking forward to more love and support from our global customer base.
What are your expansion plans within the country and overseas? What are your future plans for offline expansion? 
Within a short span of 4 years, Upakarma Ayurveda after becoming the fastest growing D2C brand of India is already making waves in the USA & UAE. We as a brand look at the whole world as one market. As Indians we have taken pride in Ayurveda for generations. This traditional method of healing should reach across the globe for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Ayurveda as an industry should be endorsed by all.
After making a strong presence across India, daily queries from the customers around the world asking about different products, made us launch our products to international e-commerce platforms.
We are planning to further expand to the UK, Europe, Canada and Mexico. We have already expanded our product catalog with several immunity boosting products along with a wider range of products in health, wellness and beauty. With more new innovations in the pipeline, we continuously keep on expanding so that we can bring forth more quality products.
Where do you see your brand in the next 3 years?
Our goal for the next 3 years is to see Ayurveda become a conscious choice for more individuals – to take it beyond a trend and make it a way of life. 
We have a vision to be counted among the Top 3 D2C brands of India. The spirit of Upakarma Ayurveda can allow for organic growth across categories round the globe. As a brand we are always looking to expand our horizons with so many new ideas and innovation in the pipeline. We see Upakarma Ayurveda as a strong global brand. We currently have a strong presence in PAN India, USA & UAE. 

Post-Covid, how much do you see the Ayurveda market growing in the next 5 years
Post the pandemic, the world has witnessed change in the consumer habits. The Ayurveda market is experiencing growth owing to growing consumer preference towards chemical free herbal health & personal care products. Country-wise, India has the largest market share in the world. Increasing investment in plant derived products, is creating new growth opportunities for the growth of Ayurveda market. In addition to this, rise in the medical conditions owing to the pandemic and environmental factors  further fueling the demand for Ayurveda products. 
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