Founded by a natural product enthusiast Shailesh Mehta, Founder & CEO, Joybynature.com, has worked closely with an NGO focused on nature led well being, from where, the idea of developing a wellness venture kicked him, resulting in inception of Joybynatur
With the inspiration to add an iota of joy and well being to every individual’s life, Shailesh Mehta has conceptualised Joybynature.com in 2013, and teamed up with a fellow IITian, Rahul Amarendra Kumar who was compatible and capable enough to shape his idea into a full-fledged venture.
WI Bureau spoke to Mehta to understand his business model and strategies adopted to overcome market challenges and much more.
You recently raised around US$1 million in funding. Share the story of your fund raising process.
We raised US$1 million in Pre-Series A round of funding led by Mumbai Angels, Contrarian Vriddhi Fund and individual angels, including Abhimanyu Munjal (Hero Group), Vaaman Sehgal (Mothersons Sumi group), Dhairya Choudhrie and Somak Ghosh. The proceedings will be deployed towards developing a private label, acquiring senior level talent, marketing, and technology ramp up.
How are you going to utilise this fund?
The funds are going to be used for marketing, scaling up the technology and launching private labels along with building a strong execution team.
Do investors offer you other resources required to set up a venture? Do they hold any stake in your venture?
The investors offer advice and inputs, as well as access to the corporate that they are part of for promotions etc. They hold equity in the company in lieu of their investment.
With growing rage of eWellness/eHealth in India, do you think start-ups like you may bring a major change in whole ecosystem of the beauty and wellness industry or healthcare sector?
Definitely. Wellness is about lifestyle and not about genes and heredity. Lifestyle, to a large extent, is a subject matter of what we do and how we do it on a day-to-day basis. Through extensive usable information about what and how to improve various aspects of lifestyle – specifically eating, sitting, drinking, self-upkeep and general activities, complementing products that support lifestyle, we are confident that we will be able to bring about certain basic changes to individual lifestyles to make them healthier. As people adopt these changes in their day-to-day lives, we hope to generate fundamental shift in the way people view wellness, which currently means, popping pills or using well marketed, but chemically laden products in their daily lives. Through Joybynature’s platform, we will be able to give people an understanding of how various day-to-day activities can be gradually improved upon leading to healthier lifestyle. We hope to make them see wellness as something much more fundamental than popping pills or getting rid of ailments. We hope to make people see wellness as a more conscious way of doing various activities, of living, which automatically leads to a healthier lifestyle.
Wellness industry is highly unorganised. Do you think online retail will help the category bring a justified procedure on place?
Joybynature.com, as a platform, aims to organise know-how and products related to nature led well being under one umbrella. Joybynature is pursuing that very actively, and over the next few months, Joybynature will have a significant proportion of wellness related products and information under one roof. This is made possible only through online retail.
Who are the other existing players in this space having the same business model as yours? How are you going to strategise your marketing policy in order to gain competitive edge?
Joybynature is currently the largest and the only platform with a balance of information and products related to wellness. There are others that have either a subset of products or that of information available with Joybynature - but lack the completeness of vision or direction. Our connect with the customer is at a deeper level than that of discounted products, or passive information or meaningless promo push. Our marketing revolves around establishing multiple points of connect with the end customer, ensuring that we deliver value to the customer at each point. Our technology will evolve to support our marketing goals. This multi-point customer connect will provide us with competitive edge in this space.
Elaborate on your revenue model?
Our primary revenue model is through sale of natural and organic products. Other revenue models include advertising fee on our content, generating leads for offline players in the wellness space etc.
What is the biggest challenge of establishing presence in eWellness space? How do you overcome these challenges?
The biggest challenge of establishing presence is to do with the marketing clutter from traditional large players in the wellness space that focus more on ailments than on improving lifestyle and immunity. Making consumer see and evaluate longevity enhancing natural products and related information amidst the noise of marketing clutter is the key challenge.
To overcome this, we will establish a closer connect with the consumer, which cuts through this marketing clutter from large players. For that, we are banking on non-traditional channels – especially digital channels such as internet, mobile and social networks – to achieve that.
Throw some light on your geographical presence.
We sell both domestically - across the country, as well as internationally. The wellness related information we publish is viewed by users across the globe.
Elaborate on your pricing strategy and how you are planning to improve it in a bid to improve growth and profit margin?
Our products are moderately priced. Generally, while organic and natural products tend to be slightly more expensive than their counterparts, we pass on maximum price benefits to our customers. The objective is to let consumers experience these products first hand, to be able to determine what really works for them. We also do not use steep discount as a policy. Together, the two ensure that our margins and profit either remain intact, or grow with volumes due to operational efficiencies that we drive at higher volumes.
Are you in the process of scaling your venture? Which are the areas you are focusing on for technical upgradation?
Yes – we are in the process of significantly scaling up our venture. Mobile is a key focus, so are operations, and strengthening of the overall technology infrastructure to deliver eCommerce.
What are your future plans?
We plan to increase the number of products and brands. We are also in the process of launching our private label. International markets are another growth area that we are looking at.
What are your views over gradually picking up eCommerce in Wellness space? Does it bring lucrative opportunities for beauty and wellness professionals?
eCommerce brings about a level of transparency and provides a level playing field to various product manufacturers to present their products to the end user. On the other hand, the end user is able to make a judicious choice based on detailed product information, price, any certifications and user reviews. This ensures that anyone who sells good products will find a buyer, boding well for professionals in this space who have great products and services to offer to the end user, but do not have access to platforms that allows them to do so cost efficiently.
Any tips to aspiring tech start-ups in beauty & wellness space?
The tips in any business are always simple – create and deliver value for the end user, and the end user will come. If you solve any aspect of wellness issues that end users typically face and you do that well, the end user will remain loyal to you for a long time. If there is any one thing that every individual on the planet is price-insensitive about, then it is individual wellness. So if you serve the end user well, chances are you will have secured yourself a lifetime customer. Remember - wellness is also a lifetime need!