“The greatest ability in the world is dependability.”
Read about the changes and trends within the home and personal care industry and more about Mr. Gautam Bhudhiraj’s book on certification of Natural and Organic Cosmetics – the inside story.
Mr. Gautam Budhiraja
1. In the course of the last 18 months, what changes has the industry gone through and how have you subsequently formulated your offerings and products accordingly?
Managing Director, N V Organics
In the past 18 months, the pandemic has shifted people’s attention towards personal care products like hand wash, face wash, wet wipes etc. Sales of sanitisers boomed in March 2020, when people started to seriously worry about their hygiene, which wasn’t the case before that. This market has since been consistent.
The value we’ve added is based on our principle of natural, safe and organic products; we informed people about side effects of sanitisers and helped with changes that can be made to make them safer in an economic way. We helped them with Organic Aloe Vera that can compensate for the harsh effects of alcohol, natural derivatives of lactic acid that were accepted by the market. We made interesting formulations like alcohol free sanitisers which are in high demand in Islamic countries. We also made oil based hand wash that prevents any dryness post washing hands.
2. It has been observed that consumers today are showing an interest toward natural ingredients, how does this change the overall landscape of the industry in terms of demand and preference?
This is not a new phenomenon, this change has been slowly taking place since the past few years and it seems to have reached its tipping point. We’ve observed this change in the Indian industry in the past 3 years. Moreover, owing to the younger age group of consumers today, they are much more aware about products and what is right and what is wrong. The internet has been a significant advantage. When we started the company in 2000 we named it N V Organics because we could see a shift in interest towards organic products. It happened a bit later than we had expected. Developed countries saw this trend much earlier, but here it came later. New companies today, especially catering to urban markets are focusing on this.
Overall demand and preference in the Indian market is going to remain for conventional products in terms of size, but the growth in the industry is much more for organic and natural products than the conventional ones. Demand for technical knowledge and specialist consultants in the organic industry is also growing at a fast pace.
3. Congratulations on your book, tell us a bit about it and what inspired you to write the book?
Our focus was always towards natural safe and organic products, and we’ve had customers who have come to us in the past 3 to 5 years with a lot of confusion and ambiguity regarding what constitutes safe and organic. There are a lot of standards and definitions like vegan, halal, cosmos, organic, ecocert and others. So, to help people with these questions we decided to come out with the book in order for running companies or startups to be clear about launching and manufacturing such products.
4. Can you highlight and define the process of certification for Natural and Organic Cosmetics?
It is no way easy to summarise all the standards and certifications for natural and organic products. The definition for both changes with different standards, each of which has a different certification process. It can be compared to how students in school have different boards for examination, for which the paper is set differently. In the book, first I have mentioned what the various standards are, then I talk about the ways of certification in brief. The focus is more on explaining the standards. The certification part will be taken by the concerned agencies for which we have given guidelines.
5. What developmental activities are being planned by N V Organics for the upcoming months?
Basic philosophy of N V Organics is selling ingredients and providing technical and formulation services to our customers. Our goal has always been and continues to be: to make safe products using ingredients that fulfils its functional requirements and is safe. Our plan is to help customers with safe ingredients, to make formulations with those ingredients and finally getting certification regarding the same. The same activities have been in place and are being strengthened with time.
6. You cater to a variety of applications. Which segment has witnessed good growth over the years and which segment is poised for growth in the coming future?
Although the entire cosmetic industry has seen significant growth, the beginning of the decade saw a boom in hair colour and colour cosmetics. Recently, safe and organic products have seen much more interest and growth. A lot of upcoming brands are focusing on men’s care and baby care products as well. More investment in these areas has opened up new opportunities for such brands. Talking about the future, customers are looking for products that can provide quick results and instant gratification, along with multi-application products like moisturiser with sunscreen, shampoo plus shower gel, and similar products. Baby care is also seeing new and upcoming brands are making good progress in this area.
7. We understand that you collaborate with a lot of partners from all over the world. What are the different dynamics and skills that one must possess to create and sustain these partnerships?
There are two aspects to creating and maintaining partnerships. According to me, “the greatest ability in the world is dependability”. We have made sure since 2000 that our customers can trust and depend on us to fulfil the responsibilities. Other two main qualities for a decent Principal-Distributor relationship are authenticity and transparency. We’ve maintained these when it comes to working with our principals. Through the years we also saw principles who were dissatisfied with their previous partners, who we were able to satisfy using basic business skills and commitment to work.
Moreover, one needs technically trained people who are efficient and are with us in the long term. We have also outsourced experts along with our own application lab in India. We make sure to have enough technical knowledge that our customers can trust us to keep them updated with the latest trends. We also develop customozie formulations with our customers so that they can work on “transfer of technology” and make products.
The other important aspect to our relationship with partners is our presentation. The way we present ourselves in exhibitions, routine processes and systems, maintaining project pipelines, frequent meetings with proactive communication and marketing.