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  • Writer's pictureGreat Companies

Sreela Pillai Roy, Co-Founder & Director at Organic Orchards Pvt Limited

Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

Sreela Pillai Roy: Watching a documentary on BBC about the rainforest destruction in South East Asia, we realised the enormity of the harm that indiscriminate palm cultivation is doing to nature and the habitat. Palm cultivations are done for the supply of Palm oil , used in more than 50% of edible products and 70% of cosmetic products consumed worldwide. However, due to increased demand for palm oil, the forests are being cut down to the size of football grounds daily. We were alarmed by this revelation and decided to bring out our cosmetic and personal care product brand, which will not use palm oil. India’s first No palm oil product brand Urvija was born from that thought.

Great Companies: What are the various services provided by Organic Orchards Pvt Limited

Sreela Pillai Roy: We have a wide range of skin and hair care products, including cleanser bars, shampoos, day and night cream, foot and body lotion, and a serum. We are a D2C brand having adequate distribution through significant e-commerce portals and our website. We have also started exporting our products to the USA beginning in 2021.

Great Companies: What makes Organic Orchards Pvt Limited from hundreds of other similar service providers?

Sreela Pillai Roy:

While scores and hundreds of brands talk about sustainability, we practice sustainability in our entire supply chain. We have our research and manufacturing set up, directly evaluating the balance between customers' need for skincare and the environment, bringing out the best products in efficacy and sustainability.

Replacing palm oil in our products is the first step toward the call to action. We substituted palm oil with locally available forest ingredients, giving equal or better results in efficacy. Through this, we can generate a sustainable livelihood for the local tribal community by procuring bulk raw materials. Our personal care products are used and appreciated by the cross-section of consumers who consciously choose sustainable ingredients and processes, keeping a long-term environmental impact goal in mind.

Great Companies: What were the struggles and challenges you faced, and how did you overcome them?

Sreela Pillai Roy: Setting up our GMP-certified manufacturing plant at the incorporation stage entailed heavy investment and liaisons at a different level. Urvija is an entirely self-funded project to date.

At the product formulation stage, replacing palm oil was a steep challenge. Leveraging our research, we replaced palm oil with oils of madhuca Kusum and other forest produce.

Offering a comprehensive sustainable solution at various stages, we changed our packaging, discarding single-use plastics to adopting glass jars for a few products.

Finally, the beauty product industry is becoming intensely competitive. In the absence of a sizeable budget for marketing, product visibility is a challenge for us.

We are trying to address the situation by leveraging the social media channel to promote user-generated content and networking with like-minded consumer groups.

Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for Organic Orchards Pvt Limited?

Sreela Pillai Roy: Pursuing the goal of Sustainability has a price, and we believe that is high-speed growth. If Urvija aspires to be a sustainable brand, it must consider the growth elements cautiously in the coming years. While our D2C brand is poised to grow, we are focusing on product lines that will be unique and relevant in changing times, and we will also be open to exploring direct to Business verticals.

In 5 years I look at Urvija as the most trusted name in Sustainable personal care domain, generating incremental employment opportunities for local youth and women.

Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Sreela Pillai Roy: Be prepared to be disheartened. Be ready to pick yourself up every time you fall.

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