Website – I AM LOVE
Founders – Shilpa Rathi, Gaurav Rathi.
“When in doubt turn to food first.” The right nutrition can solve all problems, so why leave it behind when it comes to skin and skin concerns. I AM LOVE, a Mumbai-based Nutraceutical skincare brand is a D2C brand that blends advanced science with Ayurveda to deliver effective and gentle skincare products such as immunity booster mix, oil and acne control mix, scar treatment and pigment control mix, protein powder mix, and many other. The composition of these products is free from toxic preservatives, additives, artificial flavourings and sweeteners and even artificial colours.
“We believe that the answer to all our bodily concerns is deep within our food. Whether it’s for our skin, hair, cognitive functions, our physical or even our mental wellbeing” says Shilpa Rathi, Founder, I am Love.
Shilpa Rathi, founder of I AM LOVE along with her brother Gaurav Rathi launched the brand in the year 2020 with the aim to redefine the relationship people have with their health especially when it comes to skin. Delivering effective health products related to skin implies working with clinically proven formulations and natural compositions which are sourced responsibly keeping the quality in mind. The idea behind launching this brand was when Shilpa suffered and battled severe acne problem back in the year 2009, in her 20s. Her acne problem was the result of her personal loss that resulted in changing her body’s reaction to handling depression and even the stress load she had which resulted in an outbreak of acne. Shilpa literally tried everything to get rid of her acne problem but nothing worked. The duo, Shilpa along with her brother, who then worked at Pfizer developed a formula that would help Shilpa to control her acne outbreak, and it came out as a positive result and functioned really well to tackle acne and skin-related concerns. Earlier, this formulation was just made to cure Shilpa’s acne but when she realized that in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic people were more concerned about their health and nourished skin, this realization led Shilpa to improvise the formulation with others who were tackling the same problem as of her.
“Hiring funds at I Am Love is clear, someone who is always willing to think outside the box, I believe that the most important criteria when looking for talent, even more than experience is whether that person is an initiator, can look at a situation from all fronts but also knows when to drop the ball and act fast” – Shilpa added.
Shilpa’s brother Gaurav in the US is taking care of and looking for funds and investors for their brand whereas Shilpa staying in India looks after the product development and marketing. To date, all of us were told that eating right is the way to good health, but when it comes to the skincare industry with its self-serving intentions influenced people minds and made them use nature damaging chemicals of topical care. But, here at I AM LOVE serves people with the greatness of nutrition in a natural way, adulteration free form without harming people nor the planet. At I AM LOVE, their solutions and products go beyond surface-level application to find the root cause of well-being from inside while keeping in mind the external beauty as its subset, to serve people with the best. Keeping in mind the ‘Make In India’ drive by the Government of India, the products at I AM LOVE support and strengthen entrepreneurship in India by strengthening India’s Natural extracts and Manufacturing sector, boosting India’s economic growth and job opportunities.
“We have always encouraged the idea of rebuilding from within instead of promoting concealment. After experiencing the trauma of acne and oily skin for my whole adult life, I concluded that no matter whatever you apply to your skin, it cannot give you long term relief, so my team and I started to execute this mission of awareness and providing solutions to other sufferers,” Shilpa said, explaining the motive behind the brand
The team of I AM LOVE realized that their consumers liked real stories, getting in touch with real people! Who featured in the ads. I AM LOVE was so focused on that and knew that its products worked that the team initially only partnered with Influencers who had acne or skin concerns. The startup wanted their consumers to believe and few of them even went out of their way to give it deliveries or shout out when the product worked for them.
Exclusive Interview with Ms.Shilpa Rathi
What made you strike this business idea? What inspired you to start this company?
2009 was a difficult time for me. I was battling cystic acne in my late 20’s. It was the result of a personal loss that led to changing the body’s reaction to handling the depression. That along with my work stress led to the acne outbreak. I literally tried every solution I could get my hands on. Around that time, I was travelling to the US and along with my brother there, who then worked in Pfizer, we developed a formulation for me to tackle my acne outbreak. It worked really well.
At that point, the idea was only to cure my own acne. Now, fast forward to 2020, I realised the Indian population was open to the Idea of supplements for health reasons and this led to me improvising the formulation that worked for me and launching it for everyone who was battling the same fight.
When did you start your business?
I Am Love came into existence in early 2021, with the aim of redefining the relationship we have with our health. We work in the Nutraceutical industry where we would like to re-educate people about the saying “Let food be thy medicine”. We realised that most brands did not look at skincare holistically. They try to patch up problems by creams or masks, which doesn’t completely solve the problem. Our products are to be taken orally to counter skin and health concerns.
What does success mean to your company?
Our company is based on science and innovation to ensure that our customers get the best products. For us, success means being able to reach an audience who appreciates this method of healing and we want to be the frontier brand for specialised skincare solutions.
How are you performing currently?
We have just sold our 10000th bottle and are on our way to reach our next milestone, What has worked for us is Social Proof! We realised that our consumers liked real stories and we got in touch with real people who were featured in our ads. We knew that our products worked, so we partnered with Influencers who had acne or skin concerns. We wanted them to believe and few of them even went out of their way to give us deliverables or shout-outs when the product worked for them. We plan to continue engaging with more people so that people see our positive results.
What is the biggest risk to your company?
The biggest risk right now, especially for I Am Love, is that The Nutraceutical Market in India is at a nascent stage. Covid has impacted the consumption of Nutraceutical at a Major level but the population is now understanding the importance of being healthy from within.
What are your plans for the funding?
We have already received 35 crores in funding from Xentel Investments in the seed round in September of 2021
What is the biggest challenge you faced during your start-up setup?
We Believe that the answer to all our healthcare concerns is our food. Our skin, hair, cognitive functions, our physical or even our mental well-being are dependent on our eating patterns. Solving these problems requires a well-rounded solution.
A lot of people were wary of supplements because they were used to creams and masks for skincare solutions. We faced major convincing customers to share their progress, asking them to feature so they can help someone who was battling the same concerns. We had to convince our consumers that skincare wasn’t a quick fix and for an effective solution they would need to be patient. The battle is still ongoing, but we keep pushing.
What does growth mean to you and your business?
For us, growth will be able to capture a bigger market demographic so that we reach a bigger audience. We want to take our solutions to the mainstream so that people realize how effective our solutions are. We also want more products in the market to combat more skincare problems.
How does your product stand different from others in the market?
We blend science and innovation to deliver effective, yet gentle solutions. That means working with clinically proven ingredients and natural extracts which are sourced responsibly keeping the quality in mind. Our formulas are free from toxic preservatives, additives, artificial flavourings and sweeteners and even artificial colours.
Where are your start-up services spread?
Right now, we have a website, Amazon and Flipkart. We are now launching in Nature’s basket, Noble Plus and Wellness Forever Medicare
What does it feel like to be the founder of your start-up? How does it feel to get up every morning and get on to work?
It has been exhilarating. I never thought that I would be this tired and fulfilled at the same time. I almost think of I Am Love as my child and seeing it grow into this beautiful brand that has been helping people inspired me. I see how our products change the lives of people who have been trying to find solutions and it gives me immense joy. People come up to us with positive reviews and I feel like I’ve accomplished something.
Where do you see your business standing in the next 5 years?
We have a new product line launching very soon. We are working on developing more intuitive products that are backed by research. We see ourselves being one of the premier Nutraceutical brands in India.
The business model of the company?
Our business model currently is online sales. We have a brand website and we all also deliver through online retailers like Amazon and Flipkart. We are planning to launch offline as well. We have considered stores like Nature’s Basket, Wellness forever and Noble Plus to launch offline.
How many employees are working?
Right now, they are a team of 12 and growing.
Who supports you to stand this business and how?
I always have the support of my brother(Gaurav Rathi) who has helped me in hard times and has always been my rock. He helped me develop products for I Am Love and his knowledge in the pharmaceutical industry has helped us gain insights.