INR 10 lakh funding for UPES staffer’s organic soap start-up
Aakansha Simra, a lab technician at UPES, founded W&W Organics with a friend to provide organic soap solutions for people with skin issues
Aakansha Simra, a lab technician in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UPES, had always been on the lookout for a skincare solution that would not harm her skin. Taking care of her naturally-sensitive skin proved to be a big challenge for her as nothing that she tried ever worked. Be it Ayurveda or Korean skincare routine, Aakansha’s skin never recovered from the damage inflicted by harmful chemicals present in the store-bought products used by her, until she visited a friend’s house in Dehradun.
“I once visited my friend Pratiksha’s farmhouse in Dehradun and saw that they grew everything, from vegetables to rice and wheat. I liked the idea and that is when we thought of soap-making. We had to do a lot of research on how to make soaps from vegetation, plants and flowers. Finally, after a lot of hard work, we had a formulation for an organic soap which did no harm to the skin. It was soothing and since that day, bathing has been a pleasant experience for me,” Aakansha says.
Thus was born W&W Organics, with the name being derived from the meanings of the founders’ names – Aakansha, which means ‘Wish’ and Pratiksha, which means ‘Wait’. Their venture was thus named ‘W&W Organics’ or ‘Wait and Wishes Organics’, Aakansha reveals. “We are a three-member team. I handle the production, Pratiksha looks after marketing while, our Director, Vaibhav Bhatt, deals with the scaling and sales of the product,” she says.
While seeking funding and financial support for her venture that was still taking baby steps, Aakansha heard about UPES’ start-up incubator Runway from a colleague.
“I came to know about Runway from a colleague. The team at Runway helped bring my idea into fruition. I got every kind of support from Mr Vaibhav Mishra, Mr Mohit Nagpal and others at Runway. They helped me prepare my pitch deck, the logo design and gave me financial advice. I was given the opportunity to share my business idea with investors. I got valuable feedback and a funding of Rs 10 lakh from Mr. Rahul Narvekar, the founder of The India Network. It was one of the best experiences of my life,” Aakansha says.
She adds, “Runway is a great platform for people who have ideas and need help or guidance for their next steps. We get to interact with financial and legal advisors as well as other start-up founders who guide us on our journey.”
Aakansha says she is extremely thankful and grateful to be a part of UPES as she feels it gives one a lot of opportunities to prove oneself. “We are encouraged to think out of the box. The place and the work environment transform you completely to be the best version of yourself,” she adds.
The young entrepreneur says she will be focusing on making a product that will be environment-friendly, and therefore her goal is to make soap bars which will come wrapped in paper, rather than plastic. She is also not a fan of liquid soap as they come in plastic bottles.
“The idea is to make organic soap bars in paper packaging. ‘By nature, for nature’ is our motto. There are obvious benefits to opting for a bar of soap when it comes to protecting the environment. The big plastic bottles for liquid soap are the type of waste that is avoidable. They are unnecessary and make for heavier transport, leading to a bigger carbon footprint,” Aakansha says.
The product will be launched in three categories, for men, women, and children. The soap will be fully organic and made with natural ingredients.