How often do you see a person building a purposeful brand out of their life’s own problems and achieve success?
Rarely, do we think.
Vibha Harish, a now 26-year old second-generation entrepreneur, built a 100% natural nutritional supplements business out of her personal need to find a long-term fix for PCOS, a widespread ailment experienced by women.
CosMix launched with six products in December 2019, and clocked revenues of approximately Rs. 2 crores in the very first year by selling primarily through their Shopify website.
Vibha’s journey is indeed inspiring, and she was also featured in the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia List 2021.
Shopify got talking with the young entrepreneur to know more about her story, and how Shopify helped her in the journey!
The Roots: How CosMix started
CosMix took birth recognising the significance of holistic well-being and its relevance over overnight fixes.
Vibha was diagnosed with PCOS at a young age, and tried various medical treatments and therapies but found no long-term solutions. Being such a common problem among Indian women, she started wondering why has no one developed any long-term solution for it?
Call it luck or lack of options, she paid heed to her mother’s advice, and started experimenting with Ayurveda supplements in her diet. Steadily but slowly, she noticed positive changes in her health.
That got her curious about this space, and she started reading more about Ayurvedic herbs and roots, and their potential uses as a cure for various health problems.
Over months of research, she realised that there are natural, herbal solutions to cure several common and oft-ignored issues, like gut health, insomnia, stress, and skin health, and that there is significant potential to help bring these solutions to people.
And voila, CosMix was born.
CosMix followed a D2C model from the very first day, and focused on selling their products majorly through their website.
Where does Shopify figure in the mix?
Vibha’s association with Shopify dates back to long before she started CosMix. She has been listening to Shopify podcasts since the time she started thinking of her own business, and says that they helped broaden her entrepreneurial mindset.
Vibha shares, "I feel like I have grown up listening to Shopify Podcasts and reading the blogs.”
And of course, when she wanted to build a website for CosMix, Shopify figured on the top of her list.
But, why Shopify?
The biggest reason for selecting Shopify right from the beginning was Vibha’s previous experience watching the platform in action. While helping out with her parents’ business, she saw how the Shopify platform seamlessly handled their online store with over 15,000 SKUs. That was enough to convince her to use Shopify for her business too.
And Vibha is quite happy with her decision to go with Shopify. Her business model is primarily D2C, and involves a lot of customer interaction to generate product awareness and address customer concerns about health effects and product use. Responses need to be instant, and the shopping journey smooth.
CosMix has not faced any down time on its website ever since its launch, and generates a majority of its sales through its own website. The brand has integrated a bundle of Shopify apps to make their website more customer-centric, such as Judge.me, that seamlessly manages and publishes customer reviews on the website, to help others make healthy decisions.
Apart from the wide options of apps to enhance the website experience, the biggest advantage that Vibha sees in using Shopify is its clean and easy-to-use UX, “ Everything on the dashboard is uncluttered and seamless. It makes it such a breeze to use.”
She also feels confident about using the platform because of the large ecosystem of Indian tech developers, something she refers to as “the growing wave of Shopify agents in India”, who are well-versed with the platform and can help merchants in making complicated modifications.
What was the secret recipe for this quick growth?
CosMix has not invested heavily in paid marketing, but still managed to achieve revenues of over Rs. 2 crores within a year. That’s a commendable feat and something which made us dig deeper into Vibha’s marketing approach.
CosMix operates in a space that needs a lot of customer awareness and hand-holding. The best part about the wellness space, though, is that once customers are convinced about the products and see positive changes in their health, they do not stop talking about it. They spread the word among other people, and that creates a ripple effect through word of mouth marketing.
The brand also uses affiliate marketing on their Shopify website through Goaffpro where they enroll like-minded people to promote their products and widen the community.
According to Vibha, “Organic marketing and word of mouth marketing are our two main growth drivers from the marketing perspective. Once a person achieves the desired results with health products, they are bound to spread the word among their families and friends. That is what has worked for us so well”.
CosMix already has a customer base of 60,000 customers and intends to grow slowly and steadily, with an aim to make people conscious about the positive impacts of holistic wellness. They also plan to expand this concept of holistic wellness to our four-legged friends, with their soon to be launched sister company, PawsMix. (Yes, you read that right!)
CosMix’s impact on society is as important to Vibha as its profits.
“It is an unmatched feeling when customers reach out to us telling us how the product positively impacted their life. People telling us they’re sleeping better, or less stressed out or are seeing their period cycles stabilize - it’s these moments that really make all the difference for me.”
The holistic wellness category is still at a very nascent stage in India, and the brand has created a dedicated section for educating customers about different aspects of holistic wellness and how they can achieve a balanced lifestyle.
Their products, too, have been developed with this outlook. They have slowly expanded their range of mixes, addressing problems that people often find difficult to converse about (such as gut health, sexual health and PCOS), but which tie into their overall wellbeing.
Another way that Cosmix lives up to their brand value is by doing their part in tackling the malnourishment challenge that children in India face. The brand started a “Nutrition for All” program during the pandemic, where they distribute nutrition-rich chikki bars among children in rural areas to help maintain their dietary health. The program has distributed close to 6 lakh bars so far.
Vibha says “We were placed in such a unique position because of the access we had to these nourishing superfoods. We decided that we would use our access to open the doors of nutrition for these children. And as long as CosMix is alive, so will Nutrition for All!”.
Ready to grow?
The inspirational story of Vibha and CosMix's discovery is a testimonial to all the aspiring entrepreneurs that it is possible to build a brand organically, without heavy investments in promotions with just a website and a meaningful product.