Episode 115 / May 2, 2021

The journey of a 100 cr D2C brand in India with The Moms Co. Founders, Mohit and Malika Sadani

40 min

Episode 115 / May 2, 2021

The journey of a 100 cr D2C brand in India with The Moms Co. Founders, Mohit and Malika Sadani

40 min
Listen on

In this episode, we chat with Malika Datt Sadani & Mohit Sadaani, The Moms Co. which deals with toxic-free products for newborns and mothers.

The Mom’s Co’s journey started from a personal experience. Both the couple’s daughters had skin conditions which made them scourge for natural products that were free of toxins and artificial fragrances.

During the podcast, they talk about how to build trust amongst customers in D2C products, what are the things a first-time entrepreneur in D2C should consider, and how they’ve built a closely knit community to stay connected with their customers, amongst other things.

Notes –

01:12 – Background of The Moms Co.

02:32 – Family & career background prior to The Moms Co.

03:27 – Meeting each other as life partners & co-founders

05:22 – Mindset prior to the launch of the first product

07:47 – Raising initial funding for a D2C brand in 2017

10:22 – Life-changing conversation & insight for Malika in the early days of The Moms Co.

16:12 – “How do we change the definition of what mom’s skin, face & hair care look like and allowing us to play into a lot of other very large categories with a very different proposition.”

17:32 – Consumer journey over the past 5 years

19:04 – Close touch with customers over Whatsapp & Facebook community

22:27 – Brand advocates, including Genelia D’Souza to build brand trust

24:55 – Challenges while setting up distribution channels

29:35 – Advice to D2C entrepreneurs

31:36 – Malika’s experience shifting from a home-maker to an entrepreneur

38:43 – Founders & Mentors they reach out to for brainstorming


Read the full transcript here:



Siddhartha Ahluwalia 00:00

Hi, this is Siddhartha Ahluwalia. Welcome to the 100x entrepreneur podcast. Today we have with us co-founders of the moms co. Malika and Mohit Sadani Welcome Malika and Mohit to the podcast.


Malika Datt Sadani 00:13

Thank you. Thank you for having us. Thanks.


Mohit Sadaani 00:15

Good to be here.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 00:18

So just you know, before we start up, I like to give the audience a background about the Moms Co., Moms Co. is a skincare company, and mom and baby care brand started in 2016. It provides toxin free products for would be mothers and newborn babies. When Mohit and Malika shifted to India from London in 2012. They had a tough time with their year-old daughter, their daughter had dry skin, whenever she was exposed to any chemical irritants or skin tone. One day a doctor suggested Malika to use purely natural and safe moisturizer. It didn’t finally work and but you know, as they say, they are not able to find any such products in India, so they have to import all their baby care products from outside India. And I believe that that was the genesis. But before we come dive deeper into the moms co journey, I would like to know how each of your background before you became entrepreneurs, right where you grew up your families.


Malika Datt Sadani 01:17

So, I’m an army kid, I grew up almost all across the country, my dad will get transferred every two years. And that is what we did. So, like literally very nomadic moving every two years learning about new cultures, and new, new spaces and new ways of living. As far as education is concerned at my engineering and in my MBA, post MBA. I was working in the bank in the Treasury for a bank where we used to raise debt back.


Mohit Sadaani 01:43

Yeah, I actually grew up first in Bahrain and then the Middle East. I came back to India because I was very convinced back in 2000, that India would be a massive hub of opportunity. And so, I came back here for my engineering, worked in TCS for a couple of years then IIM Ahmedabad and then I was in McKinsey for seven years, where I did a lot of work in consumer goods and retail. And yeah, after that, I saw ecom boom. And so, I moved out of McKinsey to join Snapdeal when I was heading growth and heading strategy, and then, you know, when Malika came to me with this idea, I jumped ship and joined her as the first employee.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 02:20

So, you know, you’re the unique journey, both co-founders as well as partners in life. How did you both meet each other, you know, with way back


Mohit Sadaani 02:33

That’s also quite an interesting story. So, we met in IIM Ahmedabad, Malika had come from her college in Bombay to be a part of our Confluence festival. That’s how we met and started talking. And I think values met and mindset mapped. And that was 23rd. November 2016 2016. Yeah, 2017. And two years from that date. Exactly. We were married. So yeah, I think, a match made in heaven.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 03:04

Wow and while you both, you know, thinking of becoming entrepreneurs, since you started your life journey together, or is it that came more accidentally to you?


Malika Datt Sadani 03:21

So, it’s very different with the two of us actually, I think Mohit always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I am a taken up a course on entrepreneurship as well. I had absolutely zero chance of becoming an entrepreneur, I was very, very happy. My banking job, I used to love it. But I think it was just the need of the hour, we really struggled to find good quality products for our daughters. Sorry, fortunately. And I’m an obsessive mother. And when I realized that I cannot, you know, I cannot find it, I decided to create it myself. And that’s where the entrepreneur journey started from.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 03:51

And what was you we all know this the you know, the genesis of the story, but what was the process of building listed the first product or doing your first set of research? I remember meeting you Mohit, back in 2015. When I was on 2016, when I was running my own company, Babygogo, I believe we met in Gurgaon. At that point in time, you are meeting your first set of investors.


Mohit Sadaani 04:22



Siddhartha Ahluwalia 04:24

so, what was, you know, the planning that went into getting the first product out


Malika Datt Sadani 04:33

was a really long journey that came out, it took almost two and a half years to get the first product out. I think, largely, you know, for us when we decided to do this, and we saw it as an opportunity after we joined. The first condition that you would put up was the fact that I will join the company if you create products after which we never import ever. So, for me while you know as an entrepreneur, the biggest task I had at hand was to basically make products that I could confidently use on my own kids or my own family. And that’s where it started from and but someone who has a background on what you want to do, I didn’t have just start from the basics of figuring out what safe meant. What naturally meant I there’s so much non understanding of the topic that we had to first start with saying, what does it mean? You know, what does it mean? What do you have to take as approval? What is it necessary to do in terms of tests? So, all of that started, we call in touch with a lot of toxicologists from across the globe. We tied up with scientists across India, Australia, Switzerland, to kind of create the best and the safest range of skincare products. And after we have done a lot of our research, we realize that we went ahead and tied up with this one particular scientist who is who decided to take it up on the project where he was just very amused with what I wanted to create. Because when he told me, I can make this for you in about two weeks, because he had done a lot of natural populations before it took him almost seven months to make my first product. And I think through the course of the period, he just took it up as a challenge. So, I don’t know what you’re trying to build. Because you’ve literally asked me not to put like these 100 things that any other brand would easily put, right. So, I think that was where we got really lucky in meeting, the guy who took it up as a challenge, create the first set of products, and we launched them. And then of course, since Ever since then, it’s been history, like it’s been a great journey, we did not know when they launched if people would get the love and affection that we got from people and whether people would like the products or not, they will initially purely be created from a perspective of saying that they have to be products that I can use on my kids and my families confidently and without being afraid of any harmful ingredient.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 06:37

And what was your journey of raising your first round of investment? What was the challenges the hurdles back then D2C was not so popular as it is now?


Mohit Sadaani 06:46

Correct? Yes. So, it was a very early day of D2C right. There were hardly any D2C brands. I think what I was very convinced of and Malika came up with the idea Malika essentially decided that there is a space and there are moms who are clamoring for products. And I came at it with experience from Snapdeal saying that, with social media picking up an e-commerce picking up there is a space for new brands to be created. And so, I had that conviction. And also, you know, a little bit of privilege, I had access to people from my McKinsey days and from my fact consulting work. So, I essentially to create this three-page document that laid out the thesis. And we never wanted to shortchange, right. So, our initial fundraise was also more than a crore from Angel money, where we raise money from people who have knowledge of fmcg. And under the understand the internet, e commerce space, and we raise money, because we wanted to make sure that as we hit the market, from day one, we build a highly trustworthy brand. So, we use that capitals actually, like about 20% of that capital to go out and get a great agency to work on our design and our creatives to help us come up with the mom call with the name called the mom co with a very sharp vision from the beginning of helping moms make safe, natural effective choices, right? So, our fundraise journey in the beginning was over invested product and the brand. Because in the long run, that’s what customers really care about. And through that, you know, that’s where the funding journey started. With the first products that we had in our hand, we got DSG and sama capitals on board, they were both fantastic fmcg investors with a great track record, and they had been looking at the baby care space for a while now. So that is a fantastic match. And yeah, since then, we’ve gone back to them multiple times. We’ve had multiple other term sheets, but we’ve just been very comfortable. So, we’ve done three rounds of capital with those investors. Yeah, that’s been our fund raise journey. So far, four rounds of capital raise so far, a total of $10 million.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 08:42

And if you can share your numbers, you know where you would be in terms of revenue? The numbers you’re comfortable sharing?


Mohit Sadaani 08:51

Yeah, I think this is in the public domain that we run rating over 100 crores now. That’s where the brand is. And I think over the next two to three years, we’re looking to take the number up over 300.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 09:01

Yeah, so I’m asking, was breaking that price barrier, which had been in the consumer minds for mom and baby care products? What was the challenge?


Malika Datt Sadani 09:13

Surprising now, you know, when we were doing our research, and we were trying to find out, you know, when we’re trying to cater to the, to the needs of the moms, you know, I love quoting the examples I’m going to try now also, you know, I had, I had a lot of consumer research before we started the company. And there was one time that we will lead to a very small household in South extension. And you know, because the costs are concerned, it’s a premium property in Delhi. So, we thought it would not really be a tiny space, but it’s literally a two-room house. It wasn’t even a two-bedroom, two room houses where the woman was four months pregnant. And when I had a conversation was, I think it was it was a moment of realization for me when that happened, because you know, while we were on our way up with the agency, I have to say that this is the wrong space for us to be in, because from the quality of products that we had made me realize it’s not going to be very mass, right. And that’s when we were going up. I was like, no, maybe it is not the right place for us. But now that we have a conversation, and that conversation was the most brilliant conversation that we had had, it was life changing for us, because the biggest insight we bought was at the segment that we operate out of which is pregnancy and baby is led very high by safety and transparency and belief and trust of the brand. It’s not got to do with pricing. Because it is it is a moment of everyone’s life, where pricing, if you have a disposable income to spend on it, this would be the first place you would spend, you always spend on your child you always spend on, you know, when you’re pregnant. And that’s the reason why I don’t think we had a problem in terms of breaking the price barrier. Also, our products are extremely costly Right? They may economically price for the nature of products and ingredients and proposition that we kind of put out to people. So luckily, we haven’t faced the price barrier so far.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 11:03

And what about going into, you know, tier two, tier three cities of India, how has your journey been there?


Malika Datt Sadani 11:12

It’s very interesting that because even till now, about 45% of our sales comes from tier two or tier three, it’s not from the tier one cities. And, you know, you know, when we started, we were like everybody was importing, we’ll be the first set of people to adopt and get into our product space, we very soon realized that that was not the case, what happened was, there was a lot of people in India who did not have access to international products, who did not have families and friends traveling to abroad on a constant basis. And these people were conscious, and they were aware, and the Internet has built up a huge set of awareness for everyone, right. And there is a lot of money in tier two and tier three as well. So it is not a barrier. And once they realize that there is something of international standards as available in India, they were the first set of people to buy into the product, like from our own website, we’ve done what 15,000 pin codes, and went all the way from, you know, the North East, to Jharkhand to like anywhere everywhere across the country right now. Right? I don’t think there is a barrier on tier two, tier three, or enough people of every segment available, we’re looking at the natural, safer, conscious products, and you find them everywhere.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 12:24

And oh, Mohit, you come from a background of, you know, working with top brands, you were on the I believe distribution side of Snapdeal. What do you what was your distribution plan when you started? You know, they say for the first 10,000 sales, and how did it evolve over a period of time?


Mohit Sadaani 12:47

It evolved in month two. Very interesting, right? That just teaches you that whatever plans you go in with the change quite dramatically. So, our intent always was to build trust with Mom, which is why we said the way we do that is with pregnancy first. And our first launch was for products, which are pregnancy only a very soon to realize that finding pregnant women in India online is very hard. Because women don’t share their pregnancy status. Even Facebook doesn’t know that it’s very hard. So, while our distribution strategy initially was a lot of conversations with moms, on Facebook groups, and so on, which did very well. And the immediate new thing that we did was by month two, we’ve already talking to doctors and hospitals. And they were the first brand in India to actually create stores on store and store the shop n shops inside the waiting areas of hospitals, right where our insight was that during the pregnancy phase, the mom is very concerned about what she puts on her skin. And she has very little knowledge because this is the first time, she is dealing with concerns like morning sickness and stretch marks. So yeah, by month two, we had stayed up with a few hospitals, and we had started putting our own people and gone offline already within one three of the business, right? The original plan was we’ll go to offline and year three of the business now and we ended up doing that by the third month.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 14:05

And when did you know marketplaces like Amazon and first cry started working for you.


Mohit Sadaani 14:11

When we expanded the portfolio. So, they started working early on, I think by the third or fourth month of launch, we had identified a great gap. And so, we’ve already number one, number two in the stretch marks maternity category online, right, we had a very large portfolio and our marketing efforts were really doing well. So those started working well. Now, but at that time, you know, marketplaces themselves are much smaller. And maternity was a small sub segment within that. Right. So, what we did within the first year itself is we started expanding the idea of a mom to also have larger category plays, right? So, we were in hair care, for example. And we went body lotions, for example. And body butters, which are all concerns that moms have after delivery as well. So that really helped us expand into newer categories. And that’s when our marketplaces took off. Now and the real take off comment, you know, came in after we launched baby care as well. So, baby I’ll show you after that baby is a largest segment online and maternity. That’s why maternity we had a leadership position on baby also that started kicking in. So, our journey has constantly been, how do we change the definition of what moms skincare haircare facecare looks like, and allowing us to play in a lot of other very large categories with a very different proposition.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 15:22

And if you can share how many SKUs or different products you have currently?


Mohit Sadaani 15:27

About 40 SKUs today


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 15:29

And how many do you plan to have, let’s say by the end of December 2021


Mohit Sadaani 15:33

Oh, we’re a different phase now. So, in the last six months, what we’ve done is really expanded the definition of mom’s skincare again, my dad’s constantly been the journey of the brand. So, six months ago, we launched age control, right? Because we had so many moms who are coming back to us and saying, I have other concerns like aging. Now I trust you as a brand to be natural, safe or effective. Can you come and have an age control range or an anti-aging range? So, we launched that? Now then we started going into slightly broader categories as well. We launched a toner in Jan this year, where again, the conversation was moms came to us saying, look, there’s all this complicated skincare advice. I trust you for advice, can you give me simple solutions. So, with that, we started now expanding the product portfolio, though we’re still very thoughtful. So, I think unlike other d2c brands, we’re going to keep that a little bit focused. And we’ll probably end the year with about 50 to 60 products on hand.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 16:27

Malika, when you started interacting with the first set of moms in 2016, and it’s been five years now, how has the consumer change in these five years, if you can share the consumer journey also?


Malika Datt Sadani 16:42

They’ve changed a lot. I think from you know, I think I’ve just seen a trend of women becoming far more confident, and becoming far more aware as well. So, the conversations which we started was, first we had to explain what toxin free meant. We’re not any more in the similar space where women don’t understand toxicity, but people understand that. And now it’s moved not just from what you keep out in your product, because safeties become more of a hygiene. But it’s also more about what is the goodness that your product has? And what difference is it going to make in my life? Also, in terms of, I think beauty as a segment in general, over the last two to three years, I’ve seen a massive, you know, awareness spree, which has happened, right. So, toner is Mohit mentioned as a conversation was not every day every house would use a product. Today, this is a question that people want to understand what a ctm routine is, there are conversations happening of ingredients like AHA BHA like acid, which was not where it was right? About five years back, it was about Coco Shia, why is that you use a coconut oil is actually really popular. But now I think the consumer is becoming a lot more, you know, open to trying out new ingredients, new brand stories, or newer products, and they’re inventing a new regime, which wasn’t the case about five years back.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 18:05

And How has your journey been, you know, of being on the top of mind of your consumers for let’s say, over a period of three to four years? Because once she cries the product, she likes it, but how do you ensure that, you know, she tries out even more products of yours, and is constantly exposed to the brand in a positive way? Yeah.


Malika Datt Sadani 18:29

So, we constantly tailed stay in touch with everybody. So, either we had done this very interesting thing when we started. So, when we started with the first set of 1000, to about 5000, or customers that we had, we had a WhatsApp number, which was the customer case number, it was not an it’s not a board line number. But everybody each of the customer care executives had a particular number, and they would get assigned to the consumer. So, the consumer had a one-on-one contact with someone from the company through a WhatsApp message they purchased with us what we shared with you. The largest reason why we as a brand they did was because we wanted a lot of feedback from moms and we wanted to kind of, you know, launch with pregnancy. And then I knew I was going to launch baby in about six months, it was very important for me to see the transition of everyone who was pregnant, and you just move to a baby care range as well. So, we stayed in touch with them. And our entire first two batches that we had made for baby production were sold to these consumers because they were the ones who were the first people who came back and made the purchase and all of that happened through staying in touch with them for WhatsApp, our biggest insight also the segment that we realize that moms genuinely are starved for time, right because you know, constantly running after kids. And just the fact that you have a WhatsApp number, you could just send out a message to saying that you know, I need a daily wash in this place the order with me my address remains the same. You send it across a cod order and make the payment for it just kind of had a very positive impact on the sales and it was this as an exercise that helped us build the board with our first set of consumers You know, it is it is very interesting to see that on a customer getting lots of time initially for almost about a year, I think that more than I also had the customer care number. And there was a lady who messaged us about 9:30 at night and we were just wondering what happened at 9:30. At night he was like, isn’t Is there any way you could get the set box that you have? You have everything for baby kid? And you can you just get the sketch to my house by day after tomorrow. We said yeah sure or when are you due to that I’m on my way to the hospital. Right now, I’m in labor. And we want to have those moments, but I don’t think would be happy able to create those moments based off personal touch. And that personal touch has actually gone a long way for the brand, where you’re the first few words that people think about when the brand comes to their mind is trust and honesty. Right. So, we’ve always kind of held ground to the fact that you’re to be amongst trusted partner in our journey into motherhood. And we will always be honest about everything. And we’ve stayed in touch with them not just through products, but also through content. And we have a very strong Instagram and Facebook community where we constantly giving out pieces of content to them on pieces that is bothering the pain moms most. And this could be really the segment of beauty or baby care as well. So, I think that’s what’s helped us over the years build stronger bonds with moms.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 21:14

So, Malika, can you let me know about how you got your first brand advocates? And then you know, today you have Genelia D’Souza as an advocate, how did you get her you know, from there to getting the first set of moms as advocates to know her, so the how the journey been of getting them.


Malika Datt Sadani 21:36

The brand has always been very personal and personal to everyone around, right. So, the first set of advocates actually came from personal posts, I Both Mohit and I had put on Facebook and on Instagram accounts. Also going forward, I think the first brand video that got released was a video that I made with my daughters in my house and got published. And it was my story. So, I think the first set of people who kind of came to purchase came from this whole belief on someone’s own personal story. And the fact that the person says story resonated with a large set of audience was where we got our first set of people from, I think, as a brand, but we were always careful on was on the quality of the product that we put out in the market. So, one’s in the belief. And the trust came from the brand and the story behind the brand and the people behind the brand. There it was all about trying the product and constantly believing that the product was also good. And when they found that even the product lived up to the promise that was made by real people behind the brand. It kind of gave us a first set of advocates who went ahead and spoke to a lot of people you know, we were about to say beautiful stories where kids got born on third day, there was a message sent to the brand saying My child is your it’s proudly a mom’s go baby. Right. So, I think those are those beautiful stories that we had. And that just continued with the brand. So, you know, we’ve had two brand ambassadors who have done certain ranges for us. We had Kalki for age control and we got Genelia for our baby care range. And both the times when we met the ladies, you know, and I met them before the shoot started. And both of them just turned around and said, Oh, it’s so great that you’re actually, you know, kind of endorsing a brand that I’m actually using for my kids as well. Right. So, I think just the fact that the connection that you see when they also put those videos out, was largely because the brand was there in their houses, and they had a strong connection with the brand and the brand story. So, I think what’s played for us beautifully over the years is a real story that the brand had to put out. And the belief that you know, we lived up to our promise and did not change the brand promise over the last four years that we’ve been around for.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 23:49

And Mohit, if you can share your journey of building distribution channels. What are the required, you know, for entrepreneurs listening on the podcast, specially we’re aspiring D2c or already in d2c? What are the channels that you use and how you allocate resources for it from the journey of zero to 10 lakhs monthly revenue, 10 to one cr monthly revenue, and then 1 to currently 8 cr monthly revenue?


Mohit Sadaani 24:17

Yeah. So, zero to 10. I will go back to the decision and the brand, right? We said as a brand at that time, we want to help moms make safe natural and easy choices, right before we realize how impactful effective would be and when he then he changed the mission. When he said easy. The simple question we asked was where is the mom today? And do I want her to take an additional effort to come and look at my product? Right and just, that decided that decision had to say no, even when we start with the not be website only because I don’t want them to build trust on my website experience. They already trust Amazon let me be on Amazon and then we only fight the battles of helping them trust the brand. So even at launch we were our own website and on Amazon and first cry, which is where the maternity and baby care audience was. And so, zero to 10 journeys were all let’s be where be moms are online. And let’s make sure that the products are visible to them, right. And of course, the spends were commensurate to the sales at that times zero to 10. With 10 to one, we then I think it expanded to saying online other channels where we can start to be present where moms aren’t, right as an example. So, at that time, 1mg was new, right, we started going down the pharma ecommerce route, saying this is where moms and as a brand, I can get additional visibility, even in a larger set of audience, right to really get people talking about our products. We also test the hospital channels in parallel. Right, again, very focused, saying, if pregnant, women are going to hospitals, and my mom counselor and a doctor, are the two decision makers that can help them make that choice, can we help you make an easier choice? So very targeted, offline distribution and very sharp online distribution focused on where the moms are, and where she’s making a decision? Right? I think the one to eight has been all about expansion. Right is a one to eight to 10. The question really is, as our products are expanded, where are those moms looking for the products? And in particular, I think the difference that happens from one to eight to 10, is you can’t just say, is there demand for the product that I’m selling? The question is really is the product demand for my brand and my branded product that I’m selling? Right? So, when we launched, for example, the facewash, the question really is in his mom looking for facewash? Because of course she is she’s in and across galleries, but there’s also much more competition. So, as we expand into larger competition sells and bigger brands, the question is now is the demand for your product. And this is both relevant online and offline. So really, every, at every step of the way, we’ve said, Is there demand for my brand and my product? Or can I create that demand with all the other activities and I’m doing and therefore we’ve expanded it. So slowly, the expansion has gone from all of that to our own website, where we really cracked, I would say, great performance advertising and community building and influencer marketing. So, focus on D2C website has come in from that. In the pandemic, actually, in the last year, we’ve also now started expanding into the pharmacy chain as an example, because what happened was as online sales dried up last year, and deliveries weren’t possible, we started getting a lot of phone calls from mom saying, I need your product, can you be available in the local pharmacy? Right, so as our demand shifted to say, offline, we will get a fix, you also started going offline as well. Now it was the other D2C website and marketplaces and offline, will all be the big reverse as we take the journey from 8 to 80.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 27:50

if you can share the mix, you know the percentages of currently offline, an online and an online one, which would be the largest channel in terms of the percentage for you.


Mohit Sadaani 28:03

so offline went from zero to about 10% in March. And within online, our website and Amazon and Nykaa are pretty much similar numbers, depending on months, and depending on activations that we do the positions one, two, and three. But those are our three biggest channels. Very close seconds, right now our Flipkart and First cry.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 28:28

And when D2C entrepreneurs start building, right, and what would be your advice be? focus on the brand’s story first, and distribution later, or focus on distribution and then evolve with the brand story as you continue to know your customers,


Mohit Sadaani 28:46

the all of them have to go hand in hand, actually. So you can have a brand story. But if you get no distribution, there’s no point. Right, and if you get all the distribution model brand story doesn’t sit and you there’s no demand for a product that also doesn’t work,


Malika Datt Sadani 29:01

I actually have a very different point to it as well, you know, I think you need to first focus on the product that you’re offering. And if there’s a real need for your product, because if there’s no real need for the product, no matter what you will only be spending more and more money to build that. It’s really hard, not only existing needs so and I think as D2c first brand is very, very important that there is something that your consumer is looking for, which will land up creating and that you create in a fashion which is very differentiated from what anybody else has ever done. Right? So that you know the whole advantage that you can have from word of mouth is then very, very large. And that’s how brands really scale. In the D2c world. You have to get people to become advocates and people to talk about more about your product because you know on an on a retail shelf that is based in look someone makes a purchase and goes back with an Amazon or Nykaa or any other online player. It’s your journey is not just rich To purchase, there’s this whole loop of feedback that comes in after that. And that’s really important because the choice the consumer is making is making because of the set of reviews and feedback that he sees on it. Which again, brings us back to the point that focusing on your product is the first thing that you need to do. If your product is great, your consumer will tell you when he needs the product, and distribution can follow for that. Yeah.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 30:24

Malika, you have mentioned on your LinkedIn that you were a homemaker from 2010 to 2016. How’s it you know, becoming entrepreneur, after experiencing a phase where you were giving all your time for your kids have a shifted for you.


Malika Datt Sadani 30:39

The whole reason why this exists is because I took the break. So, I think what just happened to that was that when I left my job in the bank, and I became a full time, I was actually pregnant at that point of time, because I had Myra, there was always a lookout for going back to work, I had always decided I’m going to go back to work. And, you know, I think it’s very important that, you know, when a woman decides to quit her job to look after her child, it’s not spoken about often is that there’s a lot of inherent fear that we’ll ever be able to come back or not right? And kudos to my boss at that point of time. And I was willing to this whole phase, but I was made sure that even if I come back, will I have a job? Will I not have a job? And I was just having a conversation with a supervisor that part time he just called me and said to her, you have quit. So, what’s up? Where are you going? What’s the plan? And as I’m moving to London, but I’m very afraid, he said of what, and I’m not sure I’ll find a job after I come back. He said, if that’s the only worry you had, please put it out of the window, because I’m pretty sure that once you come back and you put your CV out, they’ll be enough and more people will want you back. Right. And I think just that reaffirmation from him was after listening to it was when I was actually quit my paper and put my paper down before that I was going through a lot of facing, I can extend my maternity leave start my maternity leave earlier, because I was four months before delivering actually right. And by this quit, and after I quit was when I had practically nothing to do, but to think about the child. And then we became like these parents were constantly reading on good products, good, you know good ways of bringing up your children to extra activities that you can do with child. And that’s when I got introduced to the whole concept of natural safe, toxin free good for children, a perfect diet for an expecting mom or a diet for a pregnant or for a baby or newborn baby and all of that. And that’s I think, what’s been the backbone of what the moms co stands for today. So yeah, but I think coming back to work was always on my mind. Before this, I had decided to do and try my hand on building a business model for another startup, which was again, in a very similar space of opening crashes, it was just that I want to open crashes in Bombay, and I figured the real estate price was not, it was not sitting down to a great value to make strong business propositions that went out. And then of course The mom co started, also how that starts is there’s a phase that yellow is very long period of product development and that product development phase, we could go through the point in time where I was out for a few hours to watch out for a longer period of time being out for days altogether. Right. So, I think that was a journey that we took in those one and a half years with a product development was happening. Also, during the course of the time when I came back, my younger daughter was about two years old and my daughter was about five. So, they weren’t really babies at that point of time. So, and you know, you always say that the younger child grows up much faster than the old one because they’re constantly with the older one a half cam company. So, the fact that the two of them were old enough to voice what they wanted, was comfort enough for me to go back to work full time.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 33:53

And was there any self-doubt during that six years of journey that we will be able to resume work or not work


Malika Datt Sadani 34:03

Always, always, I used to have horrid dreams when I quit work person I went to move to London, I remember telling Mohit, it’s a I don’t know what you have done a move because you had a transfer but I’m not so sure how it would go. But I think self-doubt is something that just carries and stays with you right? So there is with everybody and especially in entrepreneurship, I strongly urge people to kind of figure out not to put yourself out down kind of bring them up to surface and face them and go over it because the amount of self-doubt you will have as an entrepreneur will be will be continuous and quite a bit right because of course it will be saying that will my idea really work right at a certainly larger scale will say Will I be able to convince the right people can join the company because anybody who joins the organization doesn’t join for what you’re building at that point of time, but largely for the two of you. Right after this. The founders then are about Will I be able to attract the right kind of talent after you Done that enough, the company is going slightly longer is that? Can we get more and more customers? And then it is that can I really make it to that 1,000 cr Mark, and then it will be I’m sure I’ll go out again and make it to the 10,000 cr Mark, right. So, there’s always self-doubt on whether I am the right person for this or not. But if you’re an entrepreneur, you have to believe that there’s something that you’re really passionate about doing, please just go ahead and get started. And you know, you will find all answers for your questions during the course of the period of time.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 35:29

You send that out self-doubt kills more dreams than accidents can


Malika Datt Sadani 35:35

which is why I’m saying please address them, because you could really create great empires out of just putting yourself out.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 35:42

So how did you overcome First of all, you know, during those six years, self-doubt, as a mother, and where you want to be a working moment again, and then again, after 2016 self-doubts as an entrepreneur, what helped you?


Malika Datt Sadani 35:56

I love talking to people, and I love surrounding myself with really smart people who can help me think through stuff. And I never hesitate from asking for help. That’s one thing. So, I, I build confidence in my ideas, I build confidence in what I want to do by having conversations with people who are, you know, who’ve done things, and fun things and achieved something or done things and failed, I think both stories are great for you to build learnings from. Right. And I think that’s what’s really helped me and I think the word belief that I had in the idea saying that, you know, even if, even if no one purchases the product, but I need it for sure, and I’m sure if I needed the millions of other people as well who need it, at least I’ll get those set of first set of people to come and kind of set it was the first thing that let’s put the self-doubt out. Over the course of the last four years as an entrepreneur, I have learned say, and I strongly believe that every problem that comes in the company is my problem. And I have to solve for it right? Only if I you know, unleash talent, which we have hired, is when the company will reach greater and greater heights. So, you know, every time there is a self-doubt, I try and find answers where the doubt is coming from, and how can I bridge that doubt with actual facts, which will help build it up. And then you put the conversation out to people, and I think it’s a lot of your own confidence that you’ve built with the people in your team that builds confidence in everyone else as well. So yeah, that’s what’s helped me so far.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 37:26

And who the other entrepreneurs you mentioned that you’d like to, you know, talk about discuss a lot, and what other entrepreneurs that you looked up to, or took advice from, from time to time during this journey?


Malika Datt Sadani 37:36

Yeah, Radhika, the lady who’s the founder of shop clues, she is one person who might kind of brainstorm a lot, but she lives in the same complexes as, so she’s one person I constantly get too into. Other than that, we have a very strong set of mentors. You know, we’ve got Shripad Nadkarni, who is at the brand guru almost at India, and he helps me think through, I’ve called him but, or as with stupid questions as well, which I don’t think are stupid, according to me, and neither does he right. And every time I’ve ever asked a question to him, he’s actually spent time brainstorming with me on why do you think it’s a concern? And if it’s really a concern, and let’s just address it together. And if it is not a concern, let’s put it down. Right. So easiest thing create help. And we also have Nandu Nand Kishore, he was a global board member at Nestle. And he’s, he’s kind of helped us think through the next stage of business by just telling us beforehand, saying this is what’s going to happen next. And just the fact that you know, what’s going to happen next kind of preps you up for it way in advance, and then you kind of start working on it, right? Like if you’re fundamentally a person who is driven to achieve something and you know, your back then and the startup that you’re doing is a personal to you, you will figure a way out to solve for it, because you’re not going to give up on it. And if you’re not going to give up on it, you’ll figure a way out for sure.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 38:54

Thank you so much Mohit and Malika. It’s been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much for sharing insights from your journey. I learned a lot and I hopefully, you know the listeners, learn a lot from your journey. It’s been a pleasure.


Malika Datt Sadani 39:09

Thank you so much. Thank you.

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