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The Kaushik brothers said that after diving deep into the properties of shilajit, which is a naturally occurring substance found in high altitude mountain ranges, they realised that it was only marketed to men as an aphrodisiac or virility product, but had properties that can also help women for various ailments & disorders. The research led the team to discover that shilajit has more than 80 essential nutrients and is a great gender-neutral product. The company claims to be the category creator for women-centric shilajit products.
Revenue in the fiscal year 2021 was INR 11.74 Cr, but it claims to be on track to surpass this comfortably. January 2022 is said to have been the company’s top grossing month since brand inception. Besides this, the focus on D2C is paying off with 60% more SKUs sold between November and January from its native store.
The company has a strong network of supply chain partners. The brand sources its ingredients directly from farmers and large processing centres that can provide the materials at scale. Each ingredient is put through months of extensive R&D by leading ayurveda experts to meet global standards for naturally-derived products. From sourcing to manufacturing, the company has operations in various parts of the country. Manufacturing is done through channel partners. It sources Shilajit from top global sources, saffron from Kashmir & Afghanistan and ashwagandha from Uttar Pradesh, while several other ingredients native to other parts of India are also part of its product line-up.
While it started the journey with health & wellness products such as Shilajit & Kesar in 2017, the brand scaled up its product line-up with 11 ayurvedic immunity and 4 beauty products despite restrictions in the year 2020 which were able to bring in sales from consumers across segments. The start-up also solidified its channel partnerships during this time given the boom in ecommerce and focussed more keenly on D2C selling. It claims to have a presence on more than 30 ecommerce platforms.
Today Upakarma has D2C operations focussed on the USA and UAE markets, and is venturing into Europe soon, the founders said. It wants to establish a global market position and achieve high brand recall in all markets, but even international brands have jumped on the ayurveda bandwagon. It also wants to spread its wings beyond ayurveda and into the broader health and fitness category, with these forays led by experts in each domain.