55 Is Just A Number, A Woman Entrepreneur Proved It With Her Natural Skincare Startup From Home
It's never too late!!!. "Bindu Chopra" dream of becoming a lady entrepreneur at the age of 52 so 5 years ago she jumped into the handmade and natural soap business from her home.
“I started with Rs 8,000 in my pocket. I had no support - neither physical nor financial. I had it in me that “Mujhe Karna hi hai" (I want to do this). It was a challenge within myself. If the product is good, how come it won’t sell?” says Bindu Chopra, the founder of "Ahad", a natural cosmetics startup.
To begin with, Bindu converted her 2 rooms into a studio to house herbal and organic products like soaps, creams, face washes, and more. She sources her products from her friend and makes all the products in her kitchen. “I am a passionpreneur. I just cannot sit idle. I need to do something.” says the 59-year-old entrepreneur.
She even set up her own clinic. However, she had to shut the clinic and move as her husband found a lucrative job in Africa.
While in Africa, in 2008, Bindu was introduced to a lady who sold handmade soaps. She developed an interest in these small scented and natural blocks of soap and set up a little retail business. She started to buy from the lady and sell it to others.
After returning to India, Bindu decided to get into full-fledged entrepreneurship and started "Ahad" in 2015 in Delhi-NCR.
The desire to start her own line of skincare products was not easy. “Fair is beauty” - this is what marketing brands define. But She rued this beauty standard because, for her, beauty was the opposite of what the market propagated, and this prompted her to get into this business.
Entrepreneurship is a tough path with challenges and obstacles, but her never give up attitude and loyal products made her build a loyal customer base. She also says “My first ten clients are the ones who made 210 clients for me today".
However, that was not enough as Bindu faced other challenges when it came to packaging, pricing, and used kite papers to make carry bags for products as this was not so fascinating in the market. She did not have the capacity to buy in bulk and thus, the prices were higher. Her 100-125 gram soaps are sold for Rs 235 while her creams sell for Rs 250 and more.
Bindu began with just soaps and every year added a new category to expand the business. Today, she has a product range of 30 varieties of soaps, 13 creams, 4 shampoos, face washes, and options. She has also started using social media to expand her orders. However, Bindu has never kept tabs of profits or kept a record. For her, if she has made a sale of Rs 20,000, around Rs 15,000 goes back into the business.
She starts work at 10 am, and oftentimes it is past midnight that she finishes off work. Right from sticking labels on the products, clicking pictures, putting it on social media, packaging, making lists, payments, couriers, and communicating with customers.
Even though the pandemic led to her having no manufacturing and sales for 3 months, she had eager customers in June, when she started delivering again, the demand was higher, and her shelves emptied in the blink of an eye. Sales in June covered up for the three months of no sales.
Bindu has new plans and strategies for "Ahad" and hopes that one day she can get investment to expand the business. She is introducing new products like pottery, candles, and soaps designed for children for the festive season, and more.