Meet the ’80s entrepreneur couple who became an overnight sensation

When Vinita Agarwal had a hair loss problem during the second wave of COVID-19, her parents RK and Shakuntala Devi Choudhary, also known as Nanaji and Naniji– decided to make a natural hair oil at home to solve it.

Today, the couple have become an internet sensation, especially when the company made it possible for Nanaji to recently buy his first car at the age of 85.

After Vinita saw positive results using the oil, RK and Shakuntala decided to send some to their friends and other family members, who also saw a reduction in hail loss and an increase of hair growth. Eventually they began to receive orders from relatives living far away and acquaintances.

From one to two orders a day, Avimee began receiving thousands when their grandson Siddhan Agarwal and his wife Ambika posted about hair oil on Instagram and made a page for them.

“From July and August of last year, we started to receive large numbers of orders. We weren’t prepared at all. However, our Nanaji was happy as his years of Ayurveda knowledge was giving great results. We then filed the trademark Herbal Avimee as owner in August, which we handed over to Pvt Ltd in December,” says Siddhant, in an interview with SMBStory.

In a year, Avimee Herbal achieved around Rs 13 crore in sales till July, rising from Rs 80 lakh in sales till November. The brand, which started with just one hair oil, now has 17 SKUs in its kitty, including skin care, beard care, and other hair care products.

RK Choudhary aka Nanaji with his first car

Family run

“We are a family of founders,” says Siddhant, adding that all family members started this brand together.

“When we started getting orders, we were all clueless. We never planned on doing a business; it just went with the flow. And so everyone in our family, including the help housekeeper, used to stay up until 4 a.m. to get orders ready,” he adds.

Avimee Herbal is run by Nanaji and Naniji, along with their daughter who serves as the company’s manager. Additionally, Siddhant is the managing director and handles strategy, technology and operations, and his wife is a director who handles marketing while their other grandson Vibhor is the operations director.

Siddhant says the company hasn’t spent any money on marketing to date. Business also increased when Mira Rajput (actor Shahid Kapoor’s wife) posted a video of Aimvee’s hairspray.

He says, “We didn’t even give out free samples; there is no expense for our marketing and we would like to keep it as is until we can. Our clients are our endorsements. What else does a brand need? »

The brand’s Keshpallav hair oil is its best-selling product. Additionally, its Hair Tone PV1 Scalp Spray and Ortho CP Pain Relief Oil are also popular with customers. Siddhant claims that since they enabled cash on delivery (COD) orders, the return rate has increased to 3% from the previous 1%.

RK working with his daughter at the factory

Overcome backlash and thrive

While Aimvee has become an internet sensation, the company has also had its fair share of criticism. Several people on the internet called the company a “scam” and Siddhant says that was because during the first few days many orders couldn’t be shipped on time because only a handful of them did everything. .

Nanaji and Siddhant had no experience in online business since they both come from textile backgrounds.

“We launched the website last August and online customers prepaid us for the product. They would share the payment screenshot on our whatsapp number. We were very new to the online world and used to check every message received on our order number and there were thousands of messages every day. Even if we could read one, we received hundreds of notifications from different customers,” Siddhant recalls.

Gradually they were able to respond to customer concerns over the phone and Siddhant says things have improved now with around 20 people hired in different departments. The company has also partnered with logistics startup Shiprocket to ship its products.

Recently, Avimee Herbal set up a 7,500 square foot manufacturing facility in Surat where all products are produced in-house with raw materials sourced from across the country. From now on, the brand has its products tested in a laboratory in Roorkee. Siddhant says that in August, an internal laboratory unit will be set up, which would reduce the turnaround time.

Avimee Herbal products

Market scenario and future prospects

The Ayurveda market has seen significant growth since the onset of COVID-19, mainly fueled by recommendations from the Ministry of AYUSH. According to a report by Research and Markets, India’s Ayurvedic products market reached a value of Rs 515.5 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach Rs 1,536.9 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 19 .78% in 2022-2027.

This period also saw the rise of many other Ayurvedic brands in India including Amrutam, Kapiva, Krishna Herbals, etc. According to Siddhant, while Aimvee is very new to the market, the brand plays heavily in the area of ​​results orientation.

“Avimee Herbal’s organic market is what makes it unique from other brands,” he says.

Speaking of scaling and expansion plans, Siddhant says they are in full hiring. By the end of the year, the company should have 50 employees. He is also hiring a chemist to formulate skincare products and plans to expand into child and pet care soon.

(This story has been updated to correct a typo.)

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta