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The baby care market in India is a rapidly growing sector, driven by the increasing purchasing power of middle-class families and a growing awareness of the importance of infant and child health.
The market is dominated by a mix of domestic and international players, offering a wide range of products such as diapers, baby food, baby skincare products, and baby gear. The market is expected to continue its growth trajectory in the coming years, driven by factors such as urbanization and rising disposable incomes.
The demand for natural and organic baby care products has been growing in India, as more parents are becoming conscious of the chemicals and ingredients used in conventional baby care products. However these products and quite expensive.
To address this challenge, Akshat and Abhishek, two brothers from Bihar, gave birth to Shishu. They started the baby care product brand with an aim of providing natural products from Tier 2 and tier 3 cities and rural areas at mass production. Let's have a look at the startup journey of the firm in detail.
Shishu - Company Highlights
- Startup Name-Shishu
- Headquarters-Bangalore, India
- Industry-Baby Care Products
- Founders-Akshat Agarwal and Abhishek Agarwal
Shishu - About
- The majority of personal care and baby care product-selling companies use harmful chemicals in them. These chemicals prove to be toxic to the skin and have long-term side effects.
- To avoid all this, “Shishu” was born in 2022. It is India’s first-of-its-kind brand focusing on tier 2 and tier 3 cities, and rural areas.
Shishu - Baby Care Industry
- As per the data shared by Databrodgemarketresearch, currently, Indian Babycare Market is About $ 11.5 Billion Dollars and would rocket up to USD 39.54 billion by 2029 it is growing at a CAGR of 17.40%.
- As per the data shared by Macrotrends, about 70% of the Population of India Belongs to Tier 2, 3, and Rural Areas and the Birth Rate of this Population is 17.163 births per 1000 people. Hence the target market of Shishu is estimated to be around 7 Billion Dollars.
Shishu - Founders and Team
- Akshat has completed his education at St. Xaviers University, Kolkata. For 1 year, he was completely involved in his father's pharmaceutical distribution business and then started Shishu with his younger brother. At present Akshat serves as the CEO of Shishu.
- Abhishek is two years younger than Akshat. With a plan of ditching the traditional education system and doing something adventurous, he serves as the COO of the Shishu while simultaneously completing his education at Jain University, Bangalore online mode.
Shishu - Startup Story
- The prime inspiration behind starting Shishu came from the founder's father. He started his business at the age of 14. He used to work very hard and traveled on top of the bus for business work just because he was unable to afford the ticket. His hard work paid off well and now he is the largest distributor of pharmaceuticals in their hometown Sitamarhi, Bihar.
- Since Childhood Mr. Akshat Agarwal was involved in his family business while pursuing his education simultaneously. During his 3rd year of graduation from St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata he was in his hometown and attending his classes online due to covid.
- During this time I was kind of Completely involved in my family business, used to go to our Business Premises with my father in the morning and come back with him at the night. And in this time a get a lot of knowledge about offline Distribution, Supply Chain, Rural Markets, and how Brands get built through Offline Distribution Channels. This all led me to decide to do something for Tier 2, 3, and Rural Markets - As explained by Mr. Akshat.
- For the next three months, he kept researching different categories with their current market trend, brands available in the market, everyday problems faced by the consumer, cost to produce and sell, and competition.
- From multiple considerations, he stopped his search in the baby care category. The prime issue pointed out by him in this category was that in recent times people prefer natural products over chemical ones.
- However, when we talk about baby care products, some chemical-based products were still dominating the market because of the high cost of baby care natural quality products. With this realization they decided to make natural and organic baby care products at the same price at the mass consumers are comfortable buying.
- As a next step, they did a lot of R&D to find a formula that fulfills all the conditions. After the finalization of the formula with formulationist, they tried doing all the tests and approvals like dermatologist, stability, toxin-free, pH balances, tear-free, etc. to make a trial bath of 30 pieces of each product.
Shishu - Mission and Vision
- Shishu works with an aim of making a natural, organic babycare conglomerate for the mass market that belongs to Tier 2,3 cities and rural areas, where they are going to create different sub-brands for every babycare sub-categories.
- They work with a simple goal “to eliminate the choice many parents have to make - deciding between what’s best for their little ones and best for their budget.”
- They believe in premium for all because every baby deserves the best.
Shishu - Name, Tagline, and Logo
- They wanted to have a brand name that easily shares the idea of what they are doing. But were unable to come up with anything similar to it. Then the idea of keeping the name “Shishu” came from a freelancer Mr. Akshat was working with.
- The tagline for Shishu is “Caring like no there”.
- The idea behind getting this tagline came from his mom when he was in a hard conversation with her and she said “jitna hum tumhara khyal rakte ha na, utna koi nahi rakh sakta”.
Shishu - Business and Revenue Model
- Shishu founders were in a way to build a mass brand at an affordable price range. With a D2C business model and an offline distribution model, it was quite tricky to ignore the increased use of the internet and e-commerce. Hence, they built a unique and scalable business model called the D2D model (Direct-to-Distributor).
- Earlier when online platforms were not that much available, the distributors of FMCG companies had the exclusive distribution rights of a particular brand in there their desired area.
- With those rights, no other company or distributor will sell the product in that area and the company can also not sell the product to other distributors from that area. Because of this, their profit margin used to be very small around 2-3% even at the cost of purchasing goods at an advance payment from FMCG companies.
- But in the present time, the situation has changed because of the introduction of the online marketplace. Now customers, retailer, and wholesalers purchases online rather than from local authorized distributors.
- To overcome this, Shishu will appoint a local distributor for both their online and offline sales in each particular area. In this way, they can also provide a quick commerce service to their customers, reduce RTO, Reduce ETD, and reduce the cost of shipping while also providing an additional source of income for the distributors.
Shishu - Products and Services
Shishu products have amazing reviews and responses from their customers. Apart from that, the products provided by them are completely natural and are not expensive. Some of their USPs and innovations are:
- Shishu Natural Talc Free Baby Powder is India’s 1st Softest Talc Free Powder. The most common negative review about Talcum baby powder on the web is that it feels like sand or carrom powder. Whereas Shishu has a baby powder that is as soft as one can expect it to be.
- Shishu Natural Baby Soap is a PH 5.5 Soap just at 75 rupees for 75g. The shape of the soap is a patented design with a market selling similar soaps at the price of 150 rs for 75 grams.
- Their products are designed in a way that whenever any baby or kid sees them, it gives them a natural feeling of a kid’s belonging.
Shishu - User Acquisition
- Shishu started expanding its business network by spreading brand awareness. The first 100 customers were very organic to them. They started marketing their products on the channels which were already available to them because of their family business. Apart from that, the co-founder Mr. Akshat also used his mom’s friend network to create and share brand awareness.
Shishu - Challenges Faced
- One of the major challenges or in other words a great opportunity faced by Shishu was the unwillingness to change the babycare product brand frequently. Basically, parents do not prefer to switch brands easily for the babycare products.
- Shishu's team found it as an opportunity with a belief that if they provide them with all the essential things, parents might not change from their brand any sooner.
- With an extreme passion for delivering exceptional experiences to parents and engaging with them to resolve their issues while accepting feedback. They try to continually engage with parents through an offline and online medium in the customer’s own native language in order to make them aware of the brand, its natural ingredients, and its benefits.
Shishu - Awards and Recognition
- Shishu Brand has Got Recognized by the Indian Government under DPIIIT Startup India Initiative.
Shishu - Competitors
- In India, Shishu is competing with global giants like Johnsons, Himalaya, etc, and on the
- global front, they take inspiration from brands like Sebamed, Cetaphil, Mustela, etc.
Shishu - Future Plans
- Shishu is Soon going to launch Face Cream, Hair Oil, etc . to complete their Baby Personal Care Range and then Foraying into Baby Hyenine Category with Cotton Based Diapers and Wipes and Baby Accessories Category with Feeding Bottles, Nipples, and Other essential Accessories with Different Sub-Brands.
- In Next Three Years they are Targeting to Reach 1000+ Distributors Across India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc. Penetrating to Deep Rural Offline Market from Tier 2, 3 Cities & Rural Areas and Reaching 300000+ Retail Outlets.
Who is the founder of Shishu?
- Shishu was founded by Mr. Akshat Agarwal and Mr. Abhishek Agarwal in 2022.
What is the market size of Indian baby care products?
- The Indian baby care product market is estimated to reach around $ 39.54 billion by 2029 with a CAGR of 17.40% during the forecast period of 2022-2029.
Who are the competitors of Shishu?
- In the Indian market, Shishu is highly competed by brands like Johnsons and Himalaya.