Self-Starter: Sakshi Malhotra On Launching A Holistic Skincare And Wellness Brand During The Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on the global feeling that our immune system is well acclimatised and harmoniously attuned to natural substances. People have turned to kadhas and Ayurvedic medicines with ancient natural ingredients and essential oils. While modern medicine brings great results, these supplementary desi nuskhe help as well. Just like a great hair care product helps eliminate dandruff, nani’s trusted concoction of herbal oil helps with it too. And one brand that has managed to produce natural elixirs based on research on potent ingredients that offers natural solutions to our day to day skin and body ailments is The Blue Pond.

In conversation with TC46, Sakshi Malhotra, the founder of The Blue Pond, shares her journey of creating the brand during the pandemic, using Mother Earth as the inspiration and how it caters to the new consumer shift around conscious living and mindful consumption.

1. What’s your educational and professional background?

I am a Bachelor of Fine Arts, (Gold Medalist) along with Masters in Media Management (Topper). I also run a consulting firm, TYW, that consults start-ups on branding. I have years of experience in advertising and have worked with leading international luxury brands. Being an artist at the core, I actively pursue painting and theatre. I am also a practising voice over artist and have audiobooks on Amazon Audible.

What drew me to the idea of The Blue Pond was my love for natural therapies, yoga, positive affirmations, and healing practices. I strongly believe in holistic healing. “We become what we think. We are what we eat and consume.” Our body and skin problems reflect our mental and emotional states. Thus the remedies, too, need to be profound, natural, lasting, and agreeable than instant quick fixes. I have cemented my beliefs with research and knowledge, and have certifications in various aromatherapy and natural healing courses.

2. What prompted the idea for The Blue Pond?

Clearly, the onset of pandemic led most of us on an inward journey. For me, it triggered a quest for products that complement a more mindful lifestyle and offer solutions to our day to day skincare and overall wellness. Personally, the research was driven by faith in Mother Earth – “From Her rise we; In Her, we find Healing & Therapy”. Our genesis lies in Mother Earth, Her elements constitute us, thus She also holds the secrets to our well-being.

This belief beautifully connected with stories of ancient wisdom from around the world, Egyptian Civilisation, Greko-Roman Herbal Medicine, Europe, Middle East Arabia and Ayurveda, all pointing to essential oils and the mine of holistic benefits they hold. These natural elixirs have travelled across time and geographies. Further knowledge of aromatherapy cemented my personal conviction to launch The Blue Pond, a brand for pure organic essential oil-based skincare and therapy products.

3. Did you always know you wanted to work in this space?

I was always a practitioner of various natural therapies and healing practices. Also, I did want to create a brand and a business. So when it came to choosing the kind of products and brand philosophy, they surely had to resonate with my heart.

I was always intrigued by essential oils and these ingredients converged beautifully and naturally to my path. The holistic, multifaceted benefits have been withheld by essential oils since times immemorial. Our fast-paced current urban living does require a course correction, better choices and maybe some inward thinking!

4. What was your first milestone and how did you get there?

Being a one-man-army, I was literally working like an octopus with many arms to bring the products and brand alive. For me, The Blue Pond was manifested just like a baby is conceived. So definitely the birth of the brand on 10th December 2020 was the first major milestone. While the pandemic did throw limitations and challenges, yet making this turn-around in a tight timeframe was a definite achievement. The brand started revenue from the first day itself and has been on an upward journey since. Our products got validated when repeat buys started happening. The happy customers and their heart-warming feedbacks throughout have been highly motivating

5. What are your tips for an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to enter this space?

Research, research and research. With so many brands currently operating in this space, please research enough to find out your niche product. Secondly, it is intrinsic to find the unique voice for your brand – what is the philosophy of your brand, how do you want to connect with the consumers and what human aspects does the brand address.

And then it is definitely the quality of your product that will take you the long way. So never settle for anything lesser than what you set out for. 

6. What were the 3 best business/financial decisions you made?

Having worked in the marketing and advertising industry, I could envisage and expedite the brand and its communication faster. So there were a lot of formative pieces that came together because of the hands-on experience. We did not hire an external agency for branding or digital marketing.

Also because we wanted to check the acceptance and validation of the products and brand story in the first quarter, we opted for a plug and play e-commerce platform. This helped us come live faster and we are still happy with it.

Being self-funded we had to be extremely sensitive on the spending. That also gave us the freedom to steer ahead with less pressure and more fun!

7. How long did it take you to monetise your venture? What was the turning point?

We have been able to monetise from day one of our launch. Our revenues have been consistent and we are adding new customers every month. Choosing the right e-commerce platform was the key and we chose a SaaS platform to go online from day one.

8. Are you looking for funding/have-acquired investment/intend to bootstrap your business? 

Our business is bootstrapped. We have been able to successfully launch multiple SKU’s, are available on 2 channels currently; our own web-store and marketplaces like Amazon and LBB, and are soon going to be available at key physical locations where our customers can experience the brand and the products. Our future expansions through newer SKU and markets will need funding and we are preparing ourselves for the same. Till then, we will continue to invest through our revenues.

9. How do you intend to scale up/expand your business in the next 5 years?

We have a clear business plan which is boosted by the acceptance of our products and ideology by our target segment. We will continue to increase our offerings of natural and organic products, which our customers will like to consume. Our offerings and markets will expand and we will take our brand to some select overseas markets in the near future as well. 

We already have multiple partnerships on the branding, marketing and distribution side. We will continue to increase our presence and offerings through sustainable partnerships in future too.

10. How has your business pivoted after the lockdown and in light of the pandemic?

The Blue Pond was conceived during the pandemic. A lot of things in the environment provided cues to build the products and the brand. It is meant to cater to the new consumer shift around conscious living and mindful consumption. Now while at home, consumers are spending on wellness and self-care. So thankfully despite the low sentiment in retail, the products are moving well through the digital platforms and strong word-of-mouth for us.

The lockdown and the pandemic have re-asserted the value of wellbeing.

To know more about The Blue Pond and the plethora of skincare and wellness products it offers, head on over to the official website here!

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About Self-Starters

We spotlight inspiring women who are entrepreneurs or have skill-based passion projects and are willing to share knowledge, advice and tips about getting started in the space. Each Self-Starter’s story will be highlighted in a prime slot on the Homepage for a whole week, after which their story will appear under the ‘Work’ category on The Channel 46.

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