Online-only D2C startup Auric aims to blend Ayurveda with the millennial lifestyle
The ancient medicine and wellness system of Ayurveda came under the spotlight during the pandemic with people increasingly adopting Ayurvedic products in their lifestyle.
Deepak Agarwal, Founder of The Auric, an Ayurveda-focused health and wellness startup, says that before coronavirus, wellness was silver and beauty was gold. But now, both categories are akin to gold in the eyes of the consumer.
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Auric, which started at the end of 2018, saw a sharp rise in its business amid COVID-19. The brand went from selling 50,000 bottles a month to three lakh bottles a month, and grew its business from five SKUs to 13.While consumer interest in Ayurveda had been rising in the past few years, Deepak attributed Auric's growth to its unique positioning and selling strategy of a pack of 24 instead of both 12 and 24 earlier.
"Because you need to give time to Ayurveda," Deepak tells YourStory, adding that Auric is positioned in the mass-premium segment - between the aspirations of the likes of Forest Essentials and the accessibility of brands like Patanjali.
Deepak says, "We are not selling Ayurveda the traditional way like selling amla juice or aloe vera juice or shilajit. To reach millennial consumers, we changed the format of consumption, where we are giving consumers ready-made combinations to consume. For instance, marrying amla juice, aloe vera juice, honey, gotu kola in coconut water as a beverage for glowing skin beverage."
The startup sells through its own website and via Amazon, and wants to build a brand that reconnects millennials with the ancient system of holistic wellness.
Blending Ayurveda and millennial lifestyle
Auric sells health beverages infused with ayurvedic ingredients. However, Deepak emphasises that it is not just a beverage brand, but one of the formats to reach millennials who want ready-to-consume healthy beverages.
Its products not only have all the benefits of a supplement but are also easily available like grocery, and can be replaced with other drinks, he says.
Deepak is an IIT Delhi alumnus with over eight years of experience with Unilever. After a broken back led him on the path to yoga and wellness, he realised there are several gaps Ayurveda faces from "achieving its potential" in the millennial lifestyle. This led him to launch Auric, he says.
According to the founder, the first few months were spent building the product, brand, and team, and the company finally launched at the end of 2018."For the last two and a half years, we have been selling our products very well. We are an online-first D2C brand, which is 100 percent online. We have been able to make Ayurveda synonymous with the top 75 cities in India; we are equally selling in Tier I, II, and III markets," he claims.
Growth and expansion
Originally focused on beverages, the D2C startup is now foraying into other areas such as hot chocolate infused with ashwagandha, and coffee with turmeric.
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Speaking about the consumer trends post the coronavirus outbreak, Deepak says education about the benefits of Ayurveda is more prevalent now.He claims that the brand has grown five times in the last 18 months in terms of revenue. The startup has also introduced a couple of new ancillary items like copper bottles, bowls and spoons made out of coconut fibre to associate its brand with holistic wellness and not just ayurvedic drinks.
A pack of 24 bottles costs Rs 1,800 and Rs 3,600 for a pack of 72 bottles.
While he did not disclose the exact revenue, he claims that the company has been profitable since the first year.
Bootstrapped initially, Auric raised $2 million in a Pre-Series A in June this year, co-led by Venture Catalysts, Cactus Venture Partners, and 9Unicorns, with participation from Karthik Bhat via AngelList and Capital-A (Manjushree Ventures).
The startup is using this funding to fuel its growth plans of expanding to 50 SKUs from its current 13 in the next 18 months. These would be across hot and cold beverages, sustainable merchandise, and so on.
Auric also plans to expand its footprint into international markets like the US and UK as well, as Ayurveda is trending across the globe."The new product and brand marketing will catapult sales by eight times in the next 18 months," says Deepak.
Market and Competition
According to Research and Markets, the Indian Ayurveda market was valued at Rs 300 billion in 2018, and is expected to reach Rs 710.87 billion by 2024, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.06 percent.
Additionally, more entrepreneurs are exploring this space. Even the Indian government established the AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa and Homoeopathy) Ministry in 2014 to promote Ayurveda and traditional medicines.
Auric competes with hundreds of companies in the wellness, and nutraceuticals segment. Some of the big players include Himalaya, Baidyanath, Hamdard, Dabur, Cureveda, Organic India, and so on.
But, Deepak says, Auric has the confidence to move forwards because of its expertise in selling liquids online, which according to the founder, is a very difficult category to transport. Beverage has been an 'impulse' category, he adds, despite which Auric has been able to grow leaps and bounds.
"I personally feel that every brand will be able to create its own space without the need of competition, and more competition will bring more education for the consumers," Deepak signs off.
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Edited by Saheli Sen GuptaRashi Varshney