The Story Behind The Success Of The Moms Co.
I started The Moms Co. with a mission to help moms," says its founder and CEO, Malika Sadani, in a special interview with theIndusparent
It was a personal struggle to find safe and natural products for their daughters that led to the birth of The Moms Co.
In 2014, after husband-wife duo Malika and Mohit Sadani had their second daughter, they moved back to Gurgaon from London. During this transition period, they realised that it was difficult to find quality natural products for babies in India that were both safe and effective.
“There were times when I asked friends and family coming from abroad to bring natural baby products. However, after speaking to over 200 moms, I realised that they too face the same problems. That was when the idea to create a brand that is truly a moms’ partner on their journey into motherhood came alive,” explains Malika Sadani, a Welingkar Institute of Management graduate and former banker with ICICI Bank.
She decided to take a leap of faith and founded The Moms Co. with her husband Mohit, an IIM Ahmedabad alumnus who worked with McKinsey for seven years and was the Head of Strategy and Growth of the e-commerce site Snapdeal.
We sat down with the couplepreneur to get to know more about their all-natural brand and how it has changed the lives of millions of young urban Indian parents.
TIP: What led you to start your company?
Malika: The Moms Co. came about from a personal struggle to find safe and natural products for our daughters. When my elder daughter had her first skin reaction, I realised it was difficult to find quality natural products for babies in India that were both safe and effective. I started The Moms Co. with a mission to help moms make natural, safe and effective solutions for themselves and their families.
TIP: How does The Moms Co. address the main concerns of mums?
Malika: In order to ensure that we make natural and safe products, we bring together experts from Australia, India and Switzerland to create the safest natural formulations that are certified toxin-free.
We go to great lengths to ensure that our products are as close to nature as possible and never compromise on our formulations or ingredients.
TIP: How did you zero in on the first batch of products?
Malika: We were clear that we wanted to solve major parental concerns. It was during my first pregnancy in London that I was introduced to natural, toxin-free products for moms and babies.
During my second pregnancy, which took place in India, we realised that I didn’t have any of the options available to me which I had made use of previously. So we decided to launch with a range of pregnancy products.
Pregnancy is also the time a woman starts seeing things from the lens of how safe a product is or what the ingredients are and if are harmful. The mom and baby market is huge and is relatively under serviced. Through our products, we want moms to be confident about the choices they make for themselves and their babies.
TIP: How do you come up with your products? Please tell us about the innovation process.
Mohit & Malika: We spend a lot of time in formulating and testing our products. It starts with addressing an unmet need for the mom. We ensure that every ingredient passes the toughest global standards on safety and once the products are formulated, they undergo various analytical and stability tests.
All our products are clinically-tested for safety and Certified Toxin Free, Made Safe & Allergen Free by Safe Cosmetics Australia.
We do not use parabens, sulphates, mineral oil and many more harmful or potentially harmful ingredients in our products. If there is any concern raised on a particular ingredient in the scientific community anywhere in the world, that ingredient won’t be included in our products.
From an ingredient-safety perspective, we are about 10 years ahead in the sector.
In addition to following the steps I have mentioned previously, we ensure periodic tests to ensure that the quality of the product does not change.
TIP: What were the biggest challenges you faced when you started and how did you overcome them?
Malika: Initially it was getting people to align with our vision. Since we are very conscious of our product formulation and have set standards, they have to adhere to our standards and in a way that wasn’t done before.
However, over the last three years, we have come a long way. People have now started believing in our vision of creating high-quality products that don’t compromise on the integrity of any ingredient or product we make. As the company evolves, so do our challenges.
TIP: What are the most liked products?
Malika: We work very hard to find effective and safe ingredients and ensure that our products go through various clinical tests before they are launched. Products which solve concerns are our best sellers.
TIP: Please tell us about the 10 most innovative products by The Moms Co.
Malika: Our body butter was adjudged winner at the Cosmopolitan India Beauty Awards 2019. Our stretch marks solution, hair fall solution solve problems for many moms who are experiencing changes in their body.
The soothing lotion – which is India’s first natural solution to very sensitive, dry and Eczema prone skin is another innovative product in our portfolio. The baby powder is talc-free. It makes use of corn starch while our mineral-based sunscreen is water resistant keeping in mind kids who enjoy swimming.
The mosquito repellant in our range is DEET-free and makes use of five natural oils to protect babies and kids from mosquito menace.
Our wash and lotion products for babies are gentle on the skin.
We have caffeine-free teas for expecting and breastfeeding moms. Our hair serum is also India’s first silicone-free hair serum.
TIP: Please tell us about the process of co-founding The Moms co.
Malika: We founded The Moms Co, only when I knew we can create high quality natural products in India. We were confident they will match the global safety standards. This is when we began expanding the team. We were a four-member team when we launched. It has now grown to about 45 full-time employees and many jobs created through the business.
TIP: Did you have any investors when you started out or you put in your own money into the company?
Mohit: When we started out, we were bootstrapped but very quickly we had angel investors on board and raised a round 6 months into the launch of our business.
TIP: Who is your target group?
Mohit: A large part of our users are moms. They are conscious, internet-savvy and are looking for the safest and the best solution. They happen to read a lot in order to figure out the best solutions and make discerning choices.
TIP: How did you involve parents in your production process?
Malika: We conducted numerous focus group discussions and market analysis to understand what moms need.
We are constantly in touch with our users to receive feedback on products which helps us improvise in terms of what do they need the product to solve for, how should it feel, what’s the problem they face with their current products and many more.
We have now got moms writing in to us to create the next solution for them. Mothers are involved all the way from ideation to final feedback and beyond.
TIP: In that regard, what do mums like the best about your brand? What has been your USP?
Malika: We stand with a principle of nature in, toxins out. We worked with experts from around the world. They helped us create the safest natural formulations that are certified toxin free. Everything we create retains the good and rejects the bad. So you get a product that is as pure as mother’s love.
TIP: How do you connect so well with your customers? Why do they trust you?
Malika: I create products that parents need. The fact that The Moms Co. exists out of my own struggle helps me stay true to my mission of creating natural and safe products.
There are many products which we have in our portfolio which are very unique. Our water-resistant mineral-based sunscreen exists because moms use it on their kids when they go for swimming.
Our solution for very sensitive Eczema-prone skin or even our mosquito repellent are all developed from personal experiences.
As a mom, it is also easy for me to be able to identify with other moms’ pain points and address them. When I am in the same role as the user, I understand their feedback better. This makes it easier for me to improvise my products.
I constantly stay in touch with other moms. Many of them write to me with requests on products they would like us to create. It feels as if finally there is someone who is listening to them and addressing their needs.
TIP: What were your company’s biggest milestones?
Malika: When we started out, we had a small team of four people with four products which has now grown to over 40 full-time employees and 30 products! What started as a vision to help provide safe and natural products for my daughters has evolved and reached out to over 5,00,000 moms in over 100 Indian cities and towns.
TIP: What lessons have you learnt? What would you change if you had to do it all again?
Malika: Being an entrepreneur has made me resilient. Initially, it was difficult for me to get people to take me seriously. But we’ve come a long way in the last three years. From fighting people and their perceptions to getting people to imbibe the mission. And, to ensure that it reflects in everything we do.
Being an entrepreneur has opened up many opportunities to learn on the go. From learning about the compliances to people management to marketing. It has offered me the chance to step out of my comfort zone and grow.
TIP: What can we expect from you in the future?
Malika & Mohit: We are constantly looking to solve concerns that moms would face and also make it easy for her to find us which would require our products to be accessible easily. We are looking forward to reaching out to more moms and making our presence felt offline stores and marketplaces.