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The zero to one story behind India's biggest D2C exit Dr. Vaidya's | Arjun Vaidya | Xartup

Updated: Jul 15, 2021


Ayurveda is considered to be the oldest healing science. In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “The Science of Life.” Ayurvedic knowledge originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is often called the “Mother of All Healing.” It stems from the ancient Vedic culture and was taught for many thousands of years in an oral tradition from masters to their disciples. And a big name in the field of Ayurvedic Medicine is of Dr Vaidya’s


IN RECENT NEWS


The brand was acquired by RP Sanjiv Goenka Group – making it one of India’s first D2C exits. The latest acquisition has tripled the valuation of the Mumbai-based ayurvedic firm from Rs 50 crore in June of 2019 to around Rs 144 crore at present. Talk about BOSS EXITS!

Arjun was the first AyurvedicEntrepreneur to be featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia List for 2019 and BW 40 Under 40 List In 2020.

Dr Vaidya’s also won Youth SMB of the Year from Amazon and a Retail Startup Award from the Retailers Association of India.

Arjun Vaidya also achieved an Indian Achievers Award by the Indian Achievers Forum for his remarkable work in Ayurveda.




EARLY LIFE



Arjun Vaidya credits his background for what he built today at Dr Vaidyas. With His last name Vaidya which means Ayurvedic doctor, his career path was destined from the beginning. He comes from a legacy of 150 years of Ayurveda in his family and his grandfather and generations before that were Ayurvedic doctors. His great grandfather moved from Gujarat to Bombay in 1993 and in 1971 his grandfather took over his great grandfather’s business.

In the 1980s and 1990s, their Ayurveda clinic became one of the most successful Ayurveda clinics in India with 300 to 350 patient visits a day. But this was the time when FMCG services came to India for the first time and advertisement was just starting. But his grandfather believed in service so he gave free consultations as he did not want income to prevent people from coming into his clinic as he cared more about the medical side and not the business aspects of it. So his grandfather continued with the clinic and his father ran his own business.

Arjun grew up with Asthama and had juvenile bronchitis and was not allowed to play as there was too much dust in the cricket field but after14 years of Ayurvedic treatment he was cured of Asthma. And that according to Arjun was his starting point for his now successful startup.


EARLY START OF DR VAIDYAS


Arjun Vaidya went to Brown University with an educational background in Biochem and Biotech to rebrand and repackage Ayurvedic products to appeal to modern India. But in college he studied economics with politics and his experience in the US is what shaped his thinking. At the same time, a revolution of organic products was happening all around the world with Yoga now branded with Yoga mats and gyms and also yoga apparel. But India was not a part of that revolution much like its own products were repackaged outside and then resold to India at much higher prices. His first job out of college was in a private equity firm in 2013 called L capital now called l-carnitine investing in a consumer brand. Where he got to witness the evolution of e-commerce first hand and also the change in Ayurveda as the Ministry of Ayush was created at the same time. So in 2016 when enough people started showing interest in Ayurveda, Arjun quit his job and started his journey towards his business.


HOW DID HIS PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE HELP WITH HIS STARTUP?


Financial jobs helped him get exposure as he got to meet 150 consumer sector entrepreneurs including people in apparel, lifestyle, wine and spirits, beverage, cars and bikes, restaurants etc. Most importantly he got to know how it felt to be a brand. He saw first-hand how E-commerce built in India. His exposure to the deal-making and financial side eventually helped when he had to sell his business. Even though the exposure was exceptional he still had to learn the operational side of the business from scratch.


DR VAIDYA’S 0 TO 1 STORY



Arjun thought that Ayurvedic products had lost their connection with Indian consumers and he wanted to solve that problem by repackaging and rebranding Ayurveda to appeal to modern consumers.

At the very early age of 24 1/2 he did not want to sell medicine for diabetes, asthma and arthritis-like his grandfather did instead he launched a hangover medicine and called it to leave it up and another product Chavanprash repackaged in a capsule form.

In between January and February 2015, he launched his products off-line at Bombay Taj and it was a big event.

For a good student with good educational background and a good career, this was his first real loss and he felt that his world was coming to an end.

Arjun Vaidya got his first taste of disappointment when 9 lakhs of the 10 lakhs of products he sold were brought back to him which he then realized were primary sales. But now thinking back about it makes him feel grateful as only in his failures had he understood the true meaning of success.

So one Saturday evening when he sat down to identify the cause of his failures did he find out that one of the reasons was his company was not famous and there was a lot of competition already in the market with Dabur, Emami and Patanjali already leading the Ayurveda brand.

His then-girlfriend now wife who worked for Goldman in the UK and was one of the first 20 people who got hired at Nykaa alerted him that the market was online and also convinced him that all the opportunities that lay ahead were online too.

So in November of 2017, his wife and he launched 29 products instead of the earlier two products and relaunched their brand now completely remodelled online.

In the earlier days, they were only getting one order every three days which was enough for them to go ahead with their website online. And the rest as we know is history.

Within a year they build a small core team that had to learn everything by themselves including websites UI/UX, Facebook, Google marketing etc.


This one year was DR Vaidya’s turning point and Arjun’s 0 to 1 story.


OTHER SHENANIGANS



Outside of his work, he is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, a Mentor at AIM and a part of Brown University’s Young Alumni Advisory Council.

He also runs a podcast called Direct to a Billion Consumers on navigating India’s complex and exciting FMCG ecosystem.

He is also actively angel investing and mentoring brands in India’s DTC ecosystem and if you are an early-stage startup you can easily reach out to him via his Linkedin and email.

















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