In Conversation With Swati Taneja – Head - Online Business, Kerala Ayurveda Ltd.

Kerala Ayurveda has about 25+ wellness centres, 2 5-star wellness resorts, 350+ products and academies in India and the US

How has the company grown over the years, resting on the foundation of legacy, power of Ayurveda and customer trust?

Ayurveda Acharya Vaidyan KGK Panicker (Kollasseril Govindan Kunju Panicker) founded Kerala Ayurveda in 1945 on the banks of river Periyar at Aluva, Kochi. He started a mission with his philosophy to promote the richness of Kerala variety of Ayurveda by providing Quality Wellness Services to Mankind. Dr Anil Kumar, son of Dr KGK Panicker, continued the legacy and tradition; and developed numerous classical and proprietary medicines to serve the mission. Ramesh Vangal, now Chairman of the group, invested his trust and the much needed resources.

Kerala Ayurveda has about 25+ wellness centres, 2 5-star wellness resorts, 350+ products and academies in India and the US. Over the years, we have built a community of Ayurveda counsellors and wellness seekers. For those who know little about us, we treat more than 1.5 lac patients every year. We have served over a million customers online, adding about 50k new customers every month. Our repeat rate is unbelievably 50%. We are grateful to our people.

How does KAL differentiate itself in today's overcrowded market where many brands are trying to position themselves as Ayurveda brands and banking on the wisdom of Ayurveda? 

We are a traditional, old-school Ayurveda brand. Our recipes still follow the 5000 yrs old scriptures. Talk about Chyavanprash, Neelibringadi Keram, Dhanwantharam Oil, etc. Our recipes are the same as would be found in the Ayurveda recipe books of Ashtanga Hridyam or Sushruta Samhita. There are many new-age brands in the market, some of them are impressive but our offering is different. We make original classical recipes of Leyhams, Thailams (Oils), Kashayams (Kadhas), etc. procuring herbs from our herbal gardens in Kerala.

We particularly observe Kerala's variety of Ayurveda which is believed to be the original Ayurveda that exists. Kerala has never been invaded in the history of India by any outside rulers, British, Mughals, or others. It is known that the Ayurveda knowledge was kept safe by the vaidyas in the state for thousands of years. As a result, the Ayurveda found here was untouched, unadulterated, and original.

What are the key areas that the company focuses on in the next five years?

Our strategy is two-fold -

·       We are working towards building a more accessible community; the Kerala Ayurveda community. We are one and the only group in India that has this huge network of Ayurveda doctors, Ayurveda students and Wellness seekers in both IN and the US. We want to connect them on an open platform, educate the common man and help them build a healthier lifestyle.

·       However, we understand that as a brand, we need to evolve with our community, so we plan to launch some new and fun dosage forms like Ayurveda effervescent tablets, latte, shots, and protein powder, etc.

Can you also tell us some key products and categories that the company plans to venture to tap urban markets in India and abroad?

We are very excited to launch new & easy to carry dosage forms like Ayurveda shots, latte, sprinkles, latte etc. this year. While we are prepared to bring five new categories eventually, the first one that’s making its way to the market is the effervescent tablets in 4 flavours- Turmeric, Triphala, Amla and Ashwagandha. This is a pack of 10, one just has to dissolve a tablet in water and get the benefit of ayurveda super herbs. Our brand is evolving to suit the millennials.

While we launched our Personal care range in the US last year. It is coming soon for the Indian market as well. This includes beauty oils, ubtans (face packs), sheet masks etc.

What made a brand like Kerala Ayurveda foray into the D2C business model? How has the response been and what sorts of revenue has the company generated so far via this sales channel?

Kerala Ayurveda’s D2C Business was launched in April 2019. We started our online business with a simple thought of making our products available to our community.

We were surprised to see the overwhelming response. We realised that people are willing to learn and switch to a natural, chemical-free lifestyle given a chance. Our website gets a foot fall of 2,00,000 monthly.

It’s been 3 yrs since we launched on Amazon, Flipkart, 1MG, NetMeds, Pharmeasy etc. We have achieved more than a 100% growth on revenue year-on-year.

As industry experts when it comes to Ayurveda formulations, how has the perception of wellness changed over the years and how has the brand accommodated these changes?

We believe that Covid has changed people a lot, of course. People are actually going back to grandma's remedies. Trying oil abhyangas (massages), replacing their beauty creams with beauty oils, using kitchen ingredients to treat their ailments. People are looking for wellness, naturally. This is what we provide.

You will find leyhams, grithams (ghee), kashayams (kadhas) etc. in our shop. The 5000 yrs old recipes. Our products can be easily prepared at home, your grandma would do that. But if your grandma is busy relaxing, you can buy it.

How do you see the market evolving for pure Ayurveda in the next five years and how prepared is the brand to meet these changes?

We believe that Ayurveda has the capacity to revolutionize the modern healthcare systems. It is sustainable. There are ailments where Ayurveda is preferred over allopathy. Think of arthritis, weight management, digestive disorders etc. In a time when we see surging demand, investment, and competition in the Ayurveda industry – we have to be prepared.

We have created an ecosystem where we can proudly say that we are a full spectrum company. We have academies where we train our doctors and therapists, they are then placed in our wellness resorts/clinics/hospitals and treat wellness seekers. We have our own herbal gardens and facilities in Kerala where we produce our herbs and medicines. As a company we are keeping a close eye on the changes in the market and have adopted a proactive approach to stay ahead of the competition. Kerala Ayurveda's biggest strength is its legacy which has helped the brand to sail through changes seamlessly. 

Tags assigned to this article:
Swati Taneja Kerala Ayurveda Ltd. (KAL)


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