DUBAI: When Anisha Oberoi received an aggressive breast cancer diagnosis ten years ago, it prompted her to reassess everything about her life. She received treatment, kept up a great job at Amazon and moved to Dubai. But this did not fulfill her ambition.
“I was put on hormone treatments after surgery and began to feel quite desperate at not being able to find clean, toxin-free alternatives to beauty products widely available to consumers,” said Oberoi, founder and CEO of Secret Skin.
“The more I learnt about hormone disruptors and carcinogens present in conventional mass-produced personal care, the more I realized how important it was to do something about this when I was ready, by creating a brand built on trust in the beauty and wellness space.”
This motivated her to set up a beauty e-commerce startup called Secret Skin. The award-winning startup was dedicated to sustainable, body and earth-friendly products.
For Oberoi, Secret Skin has become a personal story in many ways.
Secret Skin was launched online in October 2020 as a discovery platform that connects mindful consumers to conscious beauty brands from around the world. (Supplied)
Secret Skin was launched online in October 2020 as a discovery platform that connects mindful consumers to conscious beauty brands from around the world but is built differently than a traditional beauty business model.
It is based on a triple-bottom line framework that focuses on social and environmental impact — not just profit.
Within six months of launching, Secret Skin won the Women in Tech 2021 Global Pitch competition hosted by Sharjah Research Technology & Innovation Park.
Not just skin deep
The e-commerce startup recorded a 66 percent month-on-month growth in customer base, with an average basket size of 2.2 items per order. A surprising 40 percent of customers were repeat users, with no cancelations or returns in six months of operation.
The plastic recycling program incentivized customers for pro-environment behavior, resulting in 60 percent user conversion at the first interaction (within two days).
“The market for clean or conscious beauty is not saturated, but nascent here in the Middle East, while it is past its prime in other markets like the US and UK where the movement started much earlier,” explained Oberoi.
“We are the fastest growing platform for clean brands with five new brands and categories added every month to address consumer needs. As an agile startup we are able to take quick decisions to pivot when the value proposition needs to be enhanced,” she explained.
Typically, the act of purchasing a clean beauty product was labor-intensive, cost-prohibitive and time-consuming.
Routinely, a customer had to wait three weeks to receive a product ordered from outside the UAE, paying between 55-80 percent overage in shipping and customs. There was no local customer care and the experience was severely impacted.
“I had to engage …….