Have you used soap that does not dry your skin and smells like bubblegum? Setting up a successful soap selling business might sound like fun and games, but as it turns out for Shrutika and Lehar of Soapernatural – you also need to get your hands dirty.
We got in touch with the entrepreneur duo – Lehar Maan and Shrutika Vaishnavi, to know more about their aesthetic soap manufacturing label – Soapernatural.
- 1 Meet the ‘Soaperwomen’ – Shrutika and Lehar
- 2 How Soapernatural focused on quality skincare
- 3 Setting up a conscious brand that people can afford
- 4 How Soapernatural found the right vendor
- 5 B2C and B2B – How Soapernatural caters to different segments
- 6 Soapernatural’s message to new entrepreneurs – Listen to your elders!
Meet the ‘Soaperwomen’ – Shrutika and Lehar
Started in August 2018, Soapernatural makes aesthetic, handmade soap using completely natural ingredients.
Lehar Maan and Shrutika Vaishnavi began making soaps for two reasons –
- Side hustle to take a break from their 9-5 jobs
- Understanding the pain points of customers like them – people who were deprived of natural skincare products they could afford.
“ We did not leap right into making soaps. We took some time to get feedback from our peers and set up our brand. The whole idea was to make soaps that do not give the user flakiness or white lines after they use it. So, we targeted two types of skin – oily and dry, and combined the best ingredients meant for these skin types.” – Lehar
The entrepreneurs do not compromise on quality and are generous with the ingredients they use on the products to ensure the best quality. And it pays off!
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“We got our first order on day one of uploading our Instagram post, and it was not even from our circle!” – Lehar
Setting new standards of quality and not compromising on cost could be a challenge for a small business like Soapernatural. Here’s how they tackled that.
How Soapernatural focused on quality skincare
Both Lehar and Shrutika Vaishnavi wanted their customers to never have to be deprived of good skincare.
“ We had a friend who said our soaps helped her son’s dry skin problem go away! We do not claim our soaps cure dermatological problems – but the absence of chemicals sure made a difference.” – Lehar
It took the entrepreneur duo a whole year to perfect their soap making skills. They took up two kinds of soap making – hot process and cold process.
- Hot Process – Get the soap base and add more ingredients. This is good for anyone who has just started selling and making soap
- Cold Process – You make the soap from scratch. This is the process Soapernaturals is moving to, as it takes more practice and effort.
With a straightforward process in place, natural A-grade quality ingredients and attention to detail, Lehar and Shrutika wanted to change the perception of handmade soaps.
“ We are not a luxury brand.” – Lehar
Setting up a conscious brand that people can afford
With conscious branding becoming the norm, Soapernatural made sure their customers understand the need for using handmade, affordable products.
“ A lot of people asked us if we want to make shower gels, but that cancels out the purpose of our brand. We wanted to get rid of the whole concept of bottles.” – Lehar
The brand does not only focus on being eco friendly but quality too.
“ A lot of brands extract glycerin and sell it separately, and what you are sold is a hardened cleansing product which can be rough on the skin. We do not extract the glycerin and therefore, our soap still feels skin-friendly.” – Lehar
While normal soap brands sell at 100 gms per soap, Soapernatural soaps weigh about 135 grams and are sold at a minimum of ₹150 per soap.
So, how does Soapernatural manage their orders and keep the quality going?
How Soapernatural found the right vendor
Soapernatural faced challenges once the orders began pouring in. It took them 6 months to find a vendor they could trust to provide the raw materials they needed. Here’s what they suggest all entrepreneurs do when looking for a vendor –
- Ensure the quality of raw materials being supplied is consistent
- Maintain a time period where you test how they respond to you and your brand
B2C and B2B – How Soapernatural caters to different segments
The entrepreneurs juggle catering to both B2B and B2C sectors. While they started out in the B2C sector, like any business looking to upscale and grow, Soapernatural is considering the B2B segment too.
“To do well in the B2C segment, you need to focus primarily on customer retention. They carry the brand for you. This is what we are currently doing, but we see many benefits in the B2B segment too.”
Soapernatural wants to cater to businesses that will help them save costs on branding and allows the entrepreneurs more time to focus on their products.
“ We are still weighing both options. While B2C is working well for us, B2B allows us to maintain a steady number of bulk orders. The core is to get a good product out, rather than focusing on the brand alone.” – Lehar
For ZERO compromises on quality, FIRST, save costs
Lehar and Shrutika are not too worried about costs as of now and are looking at organic growth.
“We are seeing an increase in margin simply because our customers are spreading the word.”
How do they save on costs without letting it affect quality? Firstly, by finding an affordable shipping partner and vendor who can save costs on packaging.
SECOND, set it up online.
Just when orders started coming in, Soapernatural turned to Instamojo for online payments.
“ When you are a small business, customers want to know that your brand is trustworthy. So, Instamojo was a godsend. All we had to do was send customers the payment link and they could pay how they want. Customers in the USA and other parts of the world had ways to pay us now, instead of just relying on UPI apps.” – Lehar
Using a Instamojo free payment gateway helped it seem more authentic to the brand, and allowed the entrepreneurs to streamline payments.
Soapernatural’s message to new entrepreneurs – Listen to your elders!
While scoping out for customer feedback and doing market research, Lehar and Shrutika sought advice from senior entrepreneur friends who said – “ Never compromise on quality! Customers will always remember how you catered to them the first time, so do not save costs by saving on ingredients and material. It pays off eventually, and helps in repeat customers.”
Soapernatural works hard to understand pricing points, customer needs, seasonal trends, and constantly experiments with ingredients to improve quality. We are sure the main ingredient that goes into their products is patience.
If you wish to focus on your business like Soapernatural, we got you. Let us take care of your payments while you grow your business online.