It was the intention to create a safe, simple and sustainable range of products for skin and hair that goaded Shoba Hiremath to launch her own cosmetics brand, AestheBio, in 2013. Today, Shoba has now made a mark for herself and her brand with a range of over 45 products.
After completing her BPharma in 1995, Shoba worked as a quality control analyst for around two years before getting married and moving to Dubai. There she got a chance to work with several global pharmaceutical companies before returning to India a few years later. In 2007, Shoba and her husband launched a company and started importing cosmetics from a French brand, which had to withdraw its operations in India as the recession hit. At the same time, a flood in their storage unit led to a huge loss. Despite these challenges, Shobha continued looking for business opportunities. “That’s when I realised that as I know a lot about quality control, I could start my own cosmetics brand and that’s how AestheBio came into being,” says Shoba.
Building a brand
AestheBio is an ISO 22716 certified brand and its products are manufactured in a GMP-certified facility in Bengaluru. In 2017, the company bagged the Manufacturing Excellence Award in MSME category which was conferred by the Karnataka government. Apart from being biodegradable, AestheBio has developed products that are free from harmful chemical ingredients and are safe for long-term human use. These products also meet quality standards set by international regulators including those from US and Europe. By December 2020, the company was clocking an annual revenue of Rs 74 lakh.
“AestheBio takes full responsibility of the manufacturing process at its manufacturing unit, right from product development, to manufacturing and batch release. AestheBio’s independent quality control and quality assurance teams ensure multi-stage quality compliance,” she says. Shoba says that the brand has showcased its products at international trade shows in New York, Moscow and London from 2015-2017.
Turning a crisis into an opportunity
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, AestheBio was one of the few businesses that turned out to be extremely essential. “We were producing hand sanitisers from a licensed facility, and they were in great demand when COVID-19 was at its peak. We ended up supplying our hand sanitisers to various sectors including the police department and the government,” says Shoba.
Talking about her future plans for the label, Shoba says her growth targets include achieving a revenue of over Rs 25 crore in the next 10 years and expanding to markets in the United States, Europe and Japan. At the same time, Shoba feels that a lack of guidance in sales, marketing and finance is limiting her company’s growth. She expects participation in GAME’s Xcelerator Bangalore programme to help her tie those loose ends. “Xcelerator Bangalore is a great programme for networking opportunities. I am looking forward to learning more about financial management and how I can pitch my ideas the right way and to the right people,” she adds.
Xcelerator Bangalore aims at accelerating the growth of women-owned, non-IT businesses in Bengaluru. It provides support to the women entrepreneurs to learn, collaborate and network with various stakeholders through a multitude of workshops, learning and mentoring sessions. This series highlights the work of 24 women entrepreneurs who will be participating in the first cohort of the Xcelerator Bangalore programme.