In India, ‘naani ke gharelu nuskhe’ is an expression that most people are acquainted with. From solutions to common ailments to beauty secrets, home remedies handed down by mothers and grandmothers are treasure troves. All of us would have some story or the other to share on such ‘gharelu nuskhe’, but taking them to the market to monetising them needs an entrepreneurial spirit of a different kind.
This is where Roshni Mehta and her mother Mona stand out. They have seen from close quarters their grandmother taking “honest, disciplined care of her body”, and it is this 85-year-old lady who inspired the mother-daughter duo to come up with an all-natural self-care line, Yourstory.com reports. Roshni says that even at this age, her grandmother plants her own herbs and flowers and creates her own personal care products. This is like a whiff of fresh air in the age of quick fixes and chemicals from FMCG brands that are not always kind on the skin.
Roshni narrates her first-hand experience of the benefits of the hair oil made by her grandmother. It helped her hair get back the glow that it had started to lose. That is when she came up with the idea of spreading it and other products from her naani to the rest of the world and also earn a few rupees in the process.
This Hibiscus Monkey — a “new-age millennial self-care brand” — was born. The products have been curated from all-natural and chemical-free ingredients derived from the knowledge passed down by naani. The targets the millennial women between the ages of 22 and 35 across India, and works on a D2C model, which involves products being sold online through Insta-shop and Facebook.
The 25-year-old Roshni took the help of her mother, Mona — a former consultant and corporate banker. The young entrepreneur advises women to embrace self-care and be “absolutely shameless” about it rather than simply putting others ahead of themselves as has been expected by the traditional Indian society.
The products offered by Hibiscus Monkey are free from chemicals, parabens, mineral oils, artificial colour, or fragrance. Manufacturing is outsourced, though the packaging is done in a family-owned unit.
The hair oil is one of the best-selling products of the company and the founders have made it a point that it is packaged in glass bottles. Roshni says that a millennial brand can’t be said to possess a soul if it is not mindful of the environment. They have faced problems for this stance, with shipping companies often refusing to transport Hibiscus Monkey products. There are daily challenges associated with glass-based packaging. But the founders have stuck to their decision and ensured that all packaging is reusable and single-use plastic is avoided totally. Such environment-friendly manufacturing is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to banish single-use plastic from the country. The mother-daughter duo deserves added credit for that.
The venture has been growing steadily and has a band of loyal cosumers called the #HMTribe. They not only put up stories and reviews about Hibiscus Monkey on social media, but also take initiatives to make them popular among their family, friends and acquaintances. They have propelled the brand forward in a long way.
The founders are now planning big. They would soon be launching a series of self-care products, and set up their own manufacturing unit in Kerala, which is home to a number of ingredients that the brand uses. The founders want to give back to society as well. They are keen to adopt a village and sustainably source ingredients from local farmers.
An 85-year-old woman provided an idea, a woman in her twenties latched on to it and another made it big and her mother supported her all the way. Hibiscus Monkey is a story of woman entrepreneurship and empowerment at its very best.