Naavyaa Ranjan took part in the Business Start-Up Journey pitching finals 2021 with her inspirational vegan haircare brand, Rganica. Here, to celebrate Earth Day, the final year KBS student explains how her own hairloss highlighted a gap in the market, one that could be filled by traditional Indian remedies her mother had used for years…
21-year-old Naavyaa Ranjan, a third-year student, hadn’t predicted that the pressure she placed herself under during her work placement year would actually develop into a successful start up idea.
“I learned so much, but the world of work was new to me. I found myself feeling quite stressed, even though my colleagues were nice and I was appreciative to learn so much.”
After a few months, she noticed her hair had started to fall out in patches.
“I went home to India that summer and my mum noticed my hair loss. I went to the doctor who prescribed medicinal shampoo which just didn’t work. My mum had always made Ayurvedic pastes, a traditional Indian medicinal paste made from dried flowers and minerals, for a variety of things. She made one for my hair.
“I applied it every day and within a few weeks, it had started to grow back. When I returned to university in the September it had stopped shedding.”
“At first, I saw it as a social activity, a little bit of fun and good experience but soon a fire was ignited in me and I realised I wanted to launch my own business one day. The support and advice from the team was so valuable.
“Vegan, sustainable and ethical”
“After my experience with my hair loss, I suddenly realised I’d hit upon an idea. There was a genuine demand for all-natural haircare offerings at the time and the history and culture of my mum’s recipe tapped into something interesting and different. I had a real belief in the product, I knew how to make it and it ticked the boxes of being vegan, sustainable and ethical.
“Following some discussions with Rebecca I thought, why not? We called the product Rganica and I pitched it at the Business Start Up Awards 2021 in March and while I didn’t win, I was incredibly proud to be a part of it.”
Naavyaa is now busy with prepping for final year exams but as soon as they are over, she is hoping to apply for a start up Visa to stay here and will start to launch production of the product on a bigger scale, using Indian factories as well as working on marketing materials and a website.
“My packaging is all recyclable and sustainable and producing it in my home country keeps costs low. I am first hoping to sell directly and via outlets like Etsy as well as vegan stores and websites. One day, I hope you will see Rganica on the shelves of chemists and supermarkets.”