The Foam Pantry is the brainchild of Cosmetologists Salomi Makhija and her mother, Rashmi Makhija. They started working on their company during the pandemic and launched it almost a year ago. What started from a room today is a small factory. All their products are FDA-approved, free from harmful chemicals, with natural fruit and vegetable extracts according to skin and hair concerns.
The inception of the brand
Salomi says about their brand's inception, "We started with just two products – Shampoo and Bodywash. And today, we have a wide range of skincare and haircare products ranging from a wide variety of soaps, body lotion, face wash, and face masks to hair conditioner. We started with DIY kits to study and understand customer behaviour, concerns, and likes and dislikes. After six months of trial and research, we finally launched the best combinations in our products".
Modern-day marketing, Salomi says, is a blessing for them. They put a lot of effort into Instagram marketing strategy, which bore fruit. One of their reels went viral, which has been one of the greatest milestones of their journey. Since then, they have received abundant orders that have boosted their sales. "We have received some of our biggest orders for various occasions like birthday parties, baby showers and bridesmaids' gifts. We customise these cosmetic hampers according to one's budget, occasion and choice and try to make it extra special by adding a note on every gift", she informs.
In February 2022, they launched their website, which is a step towards reaching the masses with good, effective and affordable cosmetics.
Challenges in the journey
The mother-daughter duo has also encountered many challenges in their journey with Foam Pantry. From orders getting delayed to customers refusing to accept the orders, from raw materials getting misplaced to getting duped, they have seen it all.
There will be a lot of situations where one feels like this needs to be fixed and no one has faith in you or your business. But that is the time when one should come out even stronger. You started this business as you saw potential in your idea, so don't let small obstacles pull you back. - Salomi Makhija
"Getting track of some orders has been a task. Sometimes the courier services fail to deliver it on time, and we have to call them daily or sometimes even three times a day as customers trust us while ordering. So, choosing the right courier service is a task, and to date, we are juggling and trying to figure out what's best for us", she says.
Their team of five people helps them with raw material procurement to manufacturing, from customer interaction to customer satisfaction, from social media management to product shoot, curating special orders and packing it meticulously to see that wide smile on customers' faces.
"We do a lot of research about the latest trends before launching a new product", she says, adding that they heavily rely on Google Chrome to access journals and papers for research work and to enhance knowledge.
Lessons learnt along the way
Determination, she says, is an important quality that all entrepreneurs must imbibe. "There will be a lot of situations where one feels like this is not working, and no one has faith in you or your business. But that is the time when one should come out even stronger. You started this business as you saw potential in your idea, so don't let small obstacles pull you back", she says.
Be open to learning and reviews. You'll learn many things from people around you, your customers, and your team. So, positively taking the reviews is what helps in the long run.
"We started with an investment of 2 lakhs. My father is the backbone of our business and the sole investor in the business. Today we are generating a revenue of 40-50K per month, and we are hoping to grow this year with some new platform listings and new ideas", she shares.
Salomi and her mother plan to take The Foam Factory to every household and give people some effective skincare and haircare products. "The Foam Pantry " signifies using ingredients directly from the kitchen pantry. Every fruit and vegetable we see has many benefits for skin and hair. We plan to make people aware how science combined with nature can do wonders", she says.
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
Salomi advises aspiring entrepreneurs not to expect everyone to consume your products or become customers. She substantiates this by saying that not all her close friends and family members are her customers, but that never affected her bond with them. Similarly, some strangers have turned into their best customers and are their biggest cheerleaders.
This interview is published in partnership with Google.