No matter what plans we make for ourselves, it is life which draws us to the paths best made for us. Something similar was the journey of Mr, Dibya Ranjan Dash, the CEO of Herbage Personal Care. Having a masters in Physics, Mr. Dash had hardly ever thought of going into a field in which he never had a forte. But a sudden curiosity for knowing how cosmetics are made, left him so spellbound that he ended up becoming an emerging player in the Cosmetics market with his all natural premium cosmetic brand ‘Herbage Herbals.’

The Ayurvedic Herbal Company which was incorporated in 2003 was the brainchild of Mr. Dash who wanted to make Ayurveda a part of every person’s beauty regime through his products. Over the last two decades, he has successfully managed to take his products across the several parts of India. But that’s not all. The entrepreneur is now all set to take Herbage to the global market soon.

We had a chance to interact with Mr. Dash who shared with us about his vision and plans to make Herbage herbals a household name in coming times.

First of all tell us, how did the idea of Herbage come to you? What was your vision behind it?

The idea of starting a cosmetic company, before it was named Herbage Herbals, came to me after my college period. And I would like to acknowledge that my friends and teachers played a major role in driving me towards it. After I completed my PG here, I went to IIT, Delhi for further studies. During my time there, I was fascinated for cosmetics from my biotechnologist guide. There I learned about developing formulas for cosmetics and providing it to manufacturers across India. Eventually, I developed an inclination towards it and went on to take courses of cosmetic manufacturing. I found many others with the same interest at that time and as things started working out, the idea of Herbage Herbals took shape.

The only vision was to make people look more beautiful and presentable which would in turn give them confidence. Cosmetics enhance our appearance and boost our self-esteem. They are an important medium of social expression. Primarily my focus was on natural cosmetics and kitchen cosmetics but later I realized that commercial viability is difficult and started the herbal cosmetics segment. Natural cosmetics are any day more effective and have a longer impact on skin than other synthetic cosmetics. Talking about my own personal vision, I want to spread this brand worldwide in premium category particularly in natural cosmetics.

Since it is herbal, a lot of natural raw materials must be going into it. How much toiling goes into procuring them?

There is no toiling as such. Being manufacturers of a natural cosmetics company, we do a lot of research on places from where we can find the best quality of herbs and other raw materials. I import raw materials from different states of India as well as from abroad. But the collection of the natural raw materials from all over the country and abroad is a very difficult task, because logistics and preservation is a big issue.

However, I believe if the raw materials could be gown in my home state, Odisha could have got a boost and many people could have got employments. I hope such opportunities develop in near future.

Amid an already competitive cosmetics market, which now also has a few big players in Ayurvedic cosmetics, how do you place your brand and acquire customers?

There are definitely some huge competitors before us like Ayur, Lotus and Biotique. But our focus to thrive has been on technology, developed formulations, low cost manufacturing and high quality products. We are producing products with high efficacy. We have placed our products in a segment where we are offering premium range of products at affordable price range.  To maintain the same, we are keeping pace with the latest trend and procuring highest quality of raw materials so that we keep on maintaining the same quality of products every time.

Similarly, product quality is also our strategy for customer acquisition. Because no matter how attractive your packaging quality is, but the customer today have become so aware that they choose quality over anything else.

In terms of geographical extent, Herbrage Herbals has expanded customer base to which places? How is the response of your cosmetic in Odisha?

Our marketing and other activities is presently confined to North Eastern India and parts of Eastern India. Presently, we have increased focus on eastern part of India, particularly West Bengal and Bangladesh where we are getting a good response for our products. Overall I can say, we have a market share of around 20% in those areas currently.

As far as Odisha is concerned, we have stopped marketing it in Odisha after a short trial. We found that, in Odisha the customers are resistant to try products of new brands and are brand conscious. It is very difficult to divert the attention of customers to other brands. Similarly, the impact of parlors and salons is also not as strong as we have seen in other states. I would say, though the market for our products in Odisha in dull at present, but it is also in developing stage. We are hopeful we will get a good share here in near future.

What are your plans for the brand for near future?

While we want to spread the brand throughout India, out next big goal is to make the products export oriented. In a next couple of years, I want to see a good market for Herbage Herbals in Arab and European Countries.

To achieve the same we are now working to boost our production and planning to have a new manufacturing set up in Raipur exclusively for export. This apart, we will also start new manufacturing set up in Odisha, Andhra and Telangana to cater the untapped market.

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