Before the rise of startups and entrepreneurs in India, there were just people running businesses. Rhythm Vats Bhardwaj is one such businesswoman who hails from a family of entrepreneurs in Delhi.
Soon after getting married, Rhythm and her husband started Riyadh pharmaceuticals in 2017. It works as a third-party manufacturing company and trades across India.
Her latest venture,stems from being a skincare enthusiast who, by her own admission, would spend about Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 monthly on quality products from outside India.
“The general middle-class Indian does not spend so much on skincare products even if they are of good quality. That’s when I thought of doing something to provide quality products of international standards but at an affordable price to the Indian market,” she tells HerStory.
Based in Ambala, Haryana,offers a wide range of cosmetic, skincare and mother and baby care products.
Economics graduate Rhythm begins by conducting market surveys to understand consumer needs and works on formulation of the products with her team and guidance from the manufacturers on ingredients. She says their third-party manufacturer follows a strict quality check to launch products in the market.
After each product is formulated, Rhythm experiments and uses it for at least one month before introducing them into the market.
Started with four products in March 2021, it now has over 70 SKUs and has delivered more than 50,000 orders in just one year of operation. Starting at Rs 75 for Aloe Vera gelall products are available on its website and ecommerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, and Meesho among others.
Working with a team of six to eight people, Rhythm says she puts in eight to ten hours a day and makes sure to oversee every process from receiving orders to delivery.
A competitive skincare market
India’s skincare market is expected to reach $2.7 billion by 2023according to TechSci Research.
“There are many versions of the same products in different price ranges. So balancing pricing and quality is a challenge, but quality always comes first to me. I will cut down the profit margin if I have to, but quality is how we’ll stay in the market for a longer period of time,” she says.
Hiring talent and building a team in Ambala, Haryana has also been a challenge. “People assume one has to settle down in a metro city like Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Delhi-NCR for good employment, but we are creating employment and leading by example that it can happen in tier II cities as well,” Rhythm adds. Her company also provides all the necessary training as well. Besides that, there were also the logistics hiccups that are common to most businesses during the pandemic.
Notably, Rhythm says she has never faced any experiences of gender bias, but she does add that her husband accompanies her when visiting vendors.
With more than 52,000 followers on Instagram, social media and influencer marketing have played a key role in Rhythm’s business. Riyo Herbs has now begun offline marketing in Delhi and hopes to create local awareness in other cities as well. Started with an initial investment of Rs 10 lakh, it has clocked a revenue of Rs 3.4 crore.
Moving ahead, it plans to capture the offline market, create a strong distribution channel, and boost marketing by five times and hopes to work on branding alongside celebrities.