AHMEDABAD: In 2012, Mauli Teli and her sister Grishma Teli started their company, Ecotrail, which was a manufacturing unit and research lab. The company’s Iba product is India’s first halal-certified cosmetic brand. People come up to them often and ask what ‘halal’ has to do with cosmetics. “Are such cosmetics only for Muslims?”
Mauli, who is not a Muslim, explained, “Halal has a deep meaning. It means it’s pure, safe, and healthy. What it means in terms of our cosmetics range is that our products are organic, free of animal fat and animal-derived products like keratin, collagen and gelatin, and alcohol free. They are free of any harsh chemicals and animal cruelty. Therefore they are good for everyone.”
Personal care products, she said, were of interest to both the sisters. Considering that India has a large Muslim population, the sisters realised that there was a need for such products. In September 2014, after a thorough market research and talks with consumers, salon owners and others, the duo launched Iba Halal Care with their first stand-alone store in Ahmedabad. It triggered a lot of interest.
The concept also appealed to people from the Jain community and those who opt for a vegan way of life. “Actually, 35 percent of our consumers are non-Muslims, and the interest is increasing,” Mauli said.
With two stand-alone stores in Gujarat, they are now opening outlets in Aurangabad in Maharashtra, before venturing into Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Baroda and Surat. They are getting into the franchise model as well as have their products available online, on shopping portals like Amazon and Flipkart.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2015.