Profile - Simply Natural


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Sharma holds his Masters Journalism and Mass Communication but what got him interested was working with nature to protect it and bring the best out from it. Launching his maiden venture – Simply Natural in 2007, Sharma had his feet tight on the ground and made sure he was footed to give a positive shape to his company. Instead of jumping to be an entrepreneur from the first day, he decided to learn the tricks of trade working for other companies. This paid off very well for him not only to get his finances in place but also in adopting the best practices for his own company.

Shares Sharma, “I decided to work for other companies and learn the ethics to run a good business and I think it was a good decision which gave me great experience to carry forth with my own start-up successfully. I managed to float my company in 2007 February comprising of making of eco- friendly disposables and holiday homes followed by getting into organic commodity business and e- tailing ventures (this is being taken care of by his wife Meetali).”

Talking specifically about the business of disposables that he has got into, of disposables that he has got into, Sharma says, “I love animals and it always disturbed me to see them eating plastic and other harmful products from the garbage that we throw. The idea of having a business of manufacturing bio-degradable plates was first thought of by my friend Vidyarajan who lives in the South. I have just helped him to scale up the business. Our product is unique and does not add to global warming nor does it cause any harm to the animals if consumed by them.”

Sharing his plan of action once he decided to be on his own, Sharma says, “Before being on my own, the first thing which I did was planning. One of the key components of planning was to work out on the finances. I made sure that for next two years my monthly household expenses should not have any impact upon quitting the job, so I deposited a lump sum amount in my mom's account to run our livelihood successfully. Another key component of the planning was to select the right team to take our company to second level. And at last but not least , the financial arrangements to run my company for next two years.”

Sharing the on-going challenges he faces, “From the very beginning, we have been facing acute power shortage in both the states we produce our products. But then, this problem is prevalent across India so we are now working to get some good alternate to produce power to maintain our production. The other challenge we faced at the initial stage was with regards to creating a need for our products as substitute for plastic and thermacoal disposables which were available in the market comparatively cheaper than my products. Here my experience and expertise in the field of mass- communication played an important role to help me create a niche for my brand in the market.”

Sharma and his friend undertook a massive survey to first find out about the availability and the possible acceptability of the products they had to offer. As he shares, “When we undertook a market survey before the official launch of our product, we realized that there was tremendous scope to grow within the retail and the fast food industry. As for the availability of the raw materials for manufacturing the product and the logistics thereon, we have a team right from collecting the raw material with the help of tribal women to processing it then we also have our supply chain management in place to take care of the distribution.”

Sharing more insight on the initial marketing for the product, Sharma shares, “As of now we do not intend to get in to direct retailing of our product for mass consumption. We have established a very strong clientele which includes sweet - shops , bakeries, confectionaries, caterers and fast food joints. Initially, we located some of the prominent sweet shops of North India and convinced them to try our disposables for serving their mithais / chats etc to their customers. This was done free of cost. We would then take feedback from their customers and share the same with the shop owners. We would always receive extremely positive feedback and this helped us convince the shop owners to use our products.”

As for the pricing factor, inspite of the product being expensive, Sharma is confident of it being accepted well. As he shares, “There is no other product available in the market in our category which is 100 per cent biodegradable which is not only study but also aesthetically designed. Also our products go with the theme and concept parties where spending more is not an issue these days.”

Sharma has two manufacturing units based out from Kerala and West Bengal which are equipped with stateof-the-art facilities taking care of the hygiene factor for molding the disposables and secondly, the company makes sure to employ the tribal population thus taking care of providing employment to the socially excluded section of the society. On the production bit, Sharma shares, “The production capacity per month as of now is of 3 lakhs pieces comprising of eighteen different varieties of products available with us. We are facing acute power shortage at both the places and now working to bring some alternate to generate power to carry on with the work.”

As for the future plans, Sharma says that 2013 shall see an expansion as there are talks on with a Venture Capitalist who has shown keen interest in the company. Now isn't the age-old adage – 'Where there is a will, there is a way!' apt for Simply Natural?