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Interview: Upma Kapoor, Founder, Teal & Terra

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Founded in 2017 by Upma
Kapoor, Teal & Terra is an organic beauty product startup that is into the
supply and manufacturing of cosmetic products made up of using natural
ingredients and the age-old principles of Ayurveda. This is a homegrown company
that was established with the funding of INR 7.5 lakh and is
now worth of INR 2.24 crore. At a tender age of 12, Upma lost her dear parents
in a tragic car accident and was raised by her older sister and brother-in-law.
In a short span of time, Teal and Terra has been able to position as a well-recognized brand in the beauty industry. 70% of it’s revenue comes
from repeat buyers in this highly competitive market.

Upma Kapoor, Founder, Teal & Terra
Upma Kapoor, Founder Teal & Terra
Teal &
Terra’s bestselling product has been it’s unique Onion and Castor oil. Other products such as the Kumkumadi face oil, and Moroccan Argan oil are
also quite popular among customers. Priced between INR 500, to INR 2,690,
Teal & Terra’s products primarily cater to hair and skincare segments. Teal &
Terra is among the very first Indian brands to use onion oil as an ingredient in
its products. The ingredients used in Teal & Terra products are sourced
from cities such as Panchkula, Gurugram and Delhi.
The company has
its own online retail portal and its products are also available on major
eCommerce platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart. After the positive response to
the existing hair and skincare products, Teal & Terra is now working on an
upcoming winter care range, and there are plans to launch a baby care range in
next couple of years.
The company
hires women on a work-from-home model to allow homemakers to have a profession
while taking care of their families. It has a team of 18 female employees who
take care of marketing, sales, and administrative roles. They are all
work-from-home employees who earn anywhere from INR 7,000 to INR 15,000 per month,
depending on the number of hours clocked in.
In an exclusive
interaction with
Startup Terminal; Upma Kapoor, Founder Teal & Terra shares more
insights about her venture and future plans.
Excerpts:
ST: When did you start your
venture? Please briefly explain more about your venture.
Upma Kapoor: I started Teal and Terra as an organic skincare brand in 2017.
Prior research made me realize that in our country, we pay huge amounts for
international cosmetic brands while Indian beauty products were no match to
these. I determined that if I could find a way to harness the natural benefits
of our abundant flora, as in the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, I could offer
consumers a line of completely pure, organic and natural products at a much
cheaper price with greater benefits. Thus was born Teal and Terra.
ST: What business
opportunities do you see particularly in your industry (Organic Beauty
product)?
Upma Kapoor: When it comes
to beauty products, consumers have been demanding for natural products. Over
the years, the Indian market has phenomenally grown with the availability of
organic brands to match the consumer’s beauty and skincare routines. According
to RedSeer, the Indian organic skincare products market is valued at $125
million, growing at 25 per cent per annum. With the rising demand for
chemical-free products, combined with an awareness of their harmful effects,
there has been a paradigm shift in consumers purchasing behaviours. They are
increasingly seeking for organic beauty products that are value-for-money and
both natural and beneficial. This has created further opportunity for
businesses, SMEs, and even investors to come up with innovations to enhance the
sector, which will not only create more compelling products but also boost the
sector overall.
Moreover,
as consumers become aware of the new-age cosmetics and the latest trends in
personal grooming, the world has to spend money on providing unique products
and experiences, which is exactly where the Indian cosmetics industry is headed
.

Teal & Terra Online Portal
ST: How has been the journey
so far?
Upma Kapoor: The journey so far has been extremely challenging yet at the same
time also immensely fulfilling. Form a 7.5 lakh company in 2017, in less than 2
years we have become a company worth 2.4 crore. From a small client base and
plenty of negative feedback in an online community, today Teal and Terra have
amassed a wide base of loyal and appreciative consumers. On the bank of growing
popularity and revenue, we are now ready to expand our base of operations to
introduce more products
ST: As an entrepreneur, what
challenges do you face in your day to day, if any?

Upma Kapoor: As I
mentioned before, taking an entrepreneurial plunge was a significant risk for
someone like me who had a cushy corporate job for 15 years. The initial days of
my journey in establishing Teal and Terra were tough ones. To find seed funding
for this venture, I had to rely on my savings and obtain funding from friends
and family. Their goodwill and support helped me launch Teal & Terra
without having to rely on external investors. There was also the challenge of
brand acceptance and stiff competition from the established players in the
segment. I faced a lot of negative propaganda in online communities but over
time, as consumers began to know of and use my products, word of mouth helped
Teal and Terra gain acceptance and recognition. On the personal front too,
being a single mother to my son, I had to struggle to balance my personal and
professional lives. Now, within a significantly short span of time, all the
hard work and perseverance has paid off and Teal & Terra has managed to
carve a niche of its own.
ST: How big is your team? Are
you planning to hire more?
Upma Kapoor: Currently, the team at Teal and Terra is a small one. My team of 18 female employees take care of marketing, sales,
and administrative roles.
I have made it a point to give more work opportunities to women in
my company and hence, my team is mostly composed of women.
ST: What are your future
plans?
Upma Kapoor: In the near future, I intend to take Teal and Terra to greater
heights. It is my vision to multiply the revenue of the company further in the
next three years and also introduce a wider range of products. We are already
taking a step forward to this end without a new line of winter skincare and
baby care products. Also, as a socially responsible company, I intend to employ
more women in company operations across the board.

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