Indus Valley Cosmeceuticals Pvt Ltd: A commercial testing cum R&D laboratory

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During moments of calm solitude or solitude blended with curiosity, one often thinks about how one’s ancestors had lived and gone about their lives. And the questions are usually basic and often mundane. What did they eat? What did they think? How did they have fun? How did they work? How did they find their materials? Where and what did they buy? What did they build? What did they do? 

As the world grapples with immense challenges and problems on a global scale, one only needs to pick and choose a few of its problems to start their entrepreneurial journey. What is the problem you care most deeply about? Think about it, read some literature about it on the internet and in fits and starts, depending on your mindset and psychology, you’re bound to get up and take some action. Historians and social scientists have always held this fact close to their chest: that our answers lie in our understanding of our past. The fact that modern capitalism has ‘forgotten’ its true roots and origins in a blind pursuit of reckless economic growth at all costs. 

Today, at Bangalore Insider we spoke to the Husband-Wife duo, Dr (Mrs) Harinder Arya & Shyam S. Arya, the founders of Indus Valley Cosmeceuticals, who have chosen to tackle the problem of chemicals and artificial ingredients being used in skincare and beauty products. Below are the excerpts from our interaction.

Give a brief info about your startup?

Indus Valley Cosmeceuticals Pvt Ltd, started by scientists turned industrialists husband & wife duo Dr (Mrs) Harinder Arya & Shyam S. Arya. A journey started by taking over a commercial testing cum R&D laboratory & next step was setting up a cosmetics manufacturing unit in Shimla which eventually landed to brand ‘Indus Valley’.  ‘Indus Valley’ is a brand known for using nature’s best scientifically proven Organic ingredients, thus making safer and Organic cosmetics. These products go through the ultimate quality measures before reaching customers involving all GMP & ISO measures. 

What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?

The use of harmful & notorious chemicals in cosmetics was something which was greatly disturbing us for a long time. After watching it for several years, we thought to use our scientific background & identify safer substitutes for these chemical ingredients. During this research, we observed several natural ingredients in cosmetics products were having lots of pesticides & fertilizers traces. We started working on these 2 aspects of cosmetics products i.e. substituting chemicals with safer ingredients & using organic ingredients instead of natural. These 2 most important aspects of our research resulted in the development of ‘Indus Valley’  beauty products using organic & safer ingredients only. 

Hair Colour in general had several issues from its chemicals/ingredients like hair fall, hair damage, allergies & an increase in greying at early ages. While developing ‘Indus Valley’ hair colors, We kept these issues in consideration & developed a range of hair colors solving the issues related to the hair coloring category as a whole. 

Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?

In 1986, in his early 20s, Shyam S Arya was working with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as a Senior Scientific Assistant. He was deeply dissatisfied in his role and he quit his cushy government job after seven years, and took to the rather unpredictable and adventurous path of entrepreneurship. He had a biotechnology background and R&D was his area of interest. He was doing my PhD when he came across Faridabad-based Food Drug Research Analytical Labs, set up by Dr BD Narang. which was bought by him to develop formulas and technologies for various industries.

Where is your startup based? Why do you think that is the best place for you?

The startup is based in Delhi & the factory is based in Shimla. The capital of Shimla is nature’s beautiful city with great environment/weather. The factory is located 10Km before Shimla adjacent to the designated forest in the middle of nature. We procure several herbs from the nearby areas. Water in the manufacturing of cosmetics is used from a nearby Himalayan spring with lots of healthy minerals. The cold weather preserves the natural herbs which we procure from other parts of India for a much longer time.          

As a startup founder, what are your fears and challenges?

I resigned from a Government job & the fear was, ‘will I succeed?’. However, when I started working bit by bit & there was no looking back. There are always challenges when you start a new venture but believing in yourself & enjoying your work thoroughly leads us to this small success. 

Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?

Several global brands are our competitors with respect to delivering similar results & they all have great brand equity. They all are offering results using chemicals, However, we being natural & safer products have a sharp edge upon their product range.    

How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?

As you know that promoters are husband-wife, so work viz personal life didn’t have any issues. We enjoy our work & this sole reason helps to keep this work-life balance. 

Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If not then please tell us if you are looking to raise.

No, we didn’t. We are not looking for it at this moment. 

What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?

I never thought about it & being focused on the work doesn’t allow me to.

What gets you excited about this company?

The world is moving towards nature or basics & the philosophy of our company is going to basics. Even the brand name ‘ Indus Valley’ which is the oldest civilization indicates the same. Going to ‘Indus Valley’ is going to your basics.

Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.

After normal day activities and breakfast, the day starts with checking emails or groups on our company platform, replying to them, and later going to the office. There are several meetings which are already scheduled & reach back home by 6 o’clock. Having evening tea with my family & playing with them until dinner. This is just like any other person’s normal life, nothing special!  

Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?

Our team includes people from the scientific team for product development, the creative team to give shape to make it a marketable product, online & offline teams to market these products, Accounts & customer care teams to support our partners (vendors & customers).

Concerning meeting them; I’ll say that it’s a long journey wherein we started & people kept joining. ‘Karvan badhta gaya’  

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