A wedding planner meets her client from Assam and forges a partnership that gives birth to an organic startup – meet entrepreneurs Pooja Karegoudar from Karnataka and Tanushree Ishani Das from Assam.
Pooja and Tanushree co-founded an organic cosmetic startup called BodyCafé in 2017 to make available and promote a healthy lifestyle. The Bengaluru-based startup, with operations in Hyderabad, has their production unit in Karnataka and deliver their products across India and have a few clients in the Middle East, Canada, US, UK and Europe as well.
Born in Dibrugarh, Tanushree takes pride in her ‘Khati Axomiya’ roots and plans to start selling their products across Northeast India soon. “I was born in Dibrugarh and studied at Little Flower School. Post that, I moved to Guwahati and did my schooling from Holy Child School. I studied at City Faculty (Guwahati) till my 12th standard and then moved out of Assam,” Tanushree said, adding that she is looking for new avenues to make available her products in the region.
How BodyCafé began?
The back-story of Tanushree meeting her future business partner Pooja Karegoudar is quite interesting. “I came to know Tanu as I was her wedding planner! It was a surreal experience to witness, be a part of and organise an Assamese wedding. As time passed by, we founded our startup – BodyCafé – taking forward a relationship that started off from planning her wedding. I have heard a lot about Assam and the beautiful Northeast and cannot wait to visit. We are looking for opportunities in the region and hopefully we will be able to mix work and pleasure soon,” said Pooja Karegoudar who loves her share of ‘aloo pitika’ and Assam tea.
“We started BodyCafé purely because we were tired of brands white labelling. Frankly, at that time, we did not have the slightest idea that we would grow to be where we are today though we know we have miles to go, but having said that, it originated because both of us wanted a brand that took care of our end-to-end needs and ingredients that we could blindly rely on and not end up burning holes in our pockets,” said Tanushree. She added that while a busy lifestyle takes a toll on our body and mind, it becomes difficult to manage everything on our own – especially a healthy lifestyle. “Amid this manic hustle-bustle of life, we realized that people want a healthy lifestyle where all is well. All they need is a little support to help them start investing in themselves. Thus, BodyCafé was born,” she added.
While there are various competitors in the segment, the entrepreneur duo feels that the biggest USP of BodyCafé is that each and every product is handcrafted – handmade to ensure special care, attention and lots of love go into making every product. “Arguably, this is time and effort consuming but this practice also ensures that our users do not end up compromising on the ingredients of the products,” they said.
They added that BodyCafé products are available at very competitive pricing which helps it reach a ‘college going adult as well as someone living on retirement pension’. “We ensure to use the highest quality when it comes to butters and essential oils and also apply the science of aromatherapy into making our products so that it also helps our users to not just focus on their grooming but also give them a sense of physiological and psychological well being,” said Tanushree.
The bootstrapped startup makes their products interesting by keeping a theme that do not stick to repetitive combinations. “For instance, we have introduced a spa range dedicated to famous cocktails and another time launched artisan soaps that paid homage to Indian spices. We offer gourmet products for the soul. Our combinations are very unique such as cardamom and vetiver or cinnamon and star anise with neem. This helps our users experiment and break-free from the monotony,” said Pooja Karegoudar.
“Painstaking research, highest standards of purity, authenticity, quality, and ethical sourcing of organic ingredients go into the making of our products. Our products are made of nutrient-rich organic ingredients, purest of essential oils and lots of love to heal your skin, hair and body in a safe, gentle yet truly effective way. They are natural and organic, free from parabens, artificial or synthetic fragrances, artificial colours, mineral oils and paraffins and harmful additives,” Tanushree added.
BodyCafé offers products which are categorised under Grooming, Wellness, Babycare, Homecare and Petcare. These products are further classified under Lifestyle range for everyday use, and Spa & Luxury range to help you treat yourself to a revitalising spa experience. The startup also provides bespoke hampers for gifting purposes and travel kits.