Roshni Mehta is a dual MBA-MPP student, currently finishing off her Masters in Public Policy degree at Harvard Kennedy School. She formerly worked in the Government of India and as a Management Consultant in New York City. She has seeks to set up a purpose-driven venture, one that is able to meet a market need while creating grassroots livelihood in India.
Hibiscus Monkey is a new-age millennial self-care brand. Our products are made from family recipes passed down by my grandmother that are rooted in ethnic Indian care and curated from all-natural, chemical free ingredients. Growing up in a society, where traditionally Indian women have been expected to put others ahead of themselves, we want to tell them to embrace their self-care and to be absolutely shameless about it! Using direct-to-consumer distribution, in 4 months alone, Hibiscus Monkey has had sales in 90 cities across India and counting. Over the summer we launched 5 products and we have been approached by indie stores and large spa brands to retail our products.
In a country, where consumer products and beauty market is highly competitive, where new brands are popping up weekly, our brand has been catapulted by our growing loyal community of consumers who we lovingly call the #HMTribe. They are the backbone of the brand and have become self-appointed champions, propelling Hibiscus Monkey forward.
Here are five commandments for building a brand where consumers become your biggest cheerleaders!
From Communication to Conversations:
Facebook and Instagram have opened the world to two-way conversations; something that never existed in the world of television. For Hibiscus Monkey, this is a way of life; having conversations with our consumers, is in our DNA. We are always available on DM and our consumers love how responsive we are. We make it a point to sound like humans and not bots! We never hesitate to go beyond the scope of selling our products; rather, we happily engage with our consumers in thorough conversations about our skincare and haircare regimens.
From Consumers to a Community:
The pulse of a brand is defined by the engagement of its consumer. If your consumers are not talking about your brand, consider yourself dead. Our Instagram community is at the heart of our business. At Hibiscus Monkey in our day-to-day operations our engagement on Instagram as important as ensuring the product delivery to consumers. We create occasions for our consumers to come back to our Instagram page, even after they get their products. For instance, many consumers come to the page to share or discover recipes of DIY hair masks with the HM Hibiscus Hair Oil. With the Hibiscus Hair Oil, we are all about bringing “champi” back into the lives of our millennial consumers. Many consumers come to our handle to share videos of their Sunday champi sessions and we love sharing them on our page, tagging them as “#champiions”. Inspired by these champi videos, we initiated “Midweek Champi Chill” sessions where we virtually hangout with our consumers once a week on a pre-determined activity during that one hour after champi when we leave the oil in our hair! It’s the most wonderful way of exchanging thoughts and ideas that go beyond the products of the brand.
From Playing It Safe to Being Bold:
How can you be a brand that represents millennials when you shy away from talking about topics that are a part of their everyday conversation? This is why we didn’t think twice before launching Comforter, an all-natural product for calming period cramps. Yes, it’s a product for Periods – no big deal. This product has been an amazing vehicle for us to encourage our consumers to open up about a topic that’s otherwise a taboo. How do we talk about periods? We use tongue-and-cheek humor, we don’t shy away from nouns like ‘vagina’, ‘period’ and ‘menstruation’ and we share ‘period tales’ from our consumers.
From Celeb Endorsements to Consumers’ Voice:
While the traditional beauty brands go for renowned celebrities and models to endorse their brands, Hibiscus Monkey has taken a different approach. Nothing is more compelling than one consumer telling another how soft her hair has become after champi-ing with our Hibiscus Hair Oil or how Cuddles has overtime even toned the skin on her elbow and knees. Many have taken it upon themselves to get their sisters, mothers or friends hooked onto their favorite Hibiscus Monkey products. Our consumers understand the power of their word and when they fall in love with Hibiscus Monkey, they voluntarily take to social media to confess their love! And we take no time in promoting their candid testimonials to our audiences.
From Owner to Consumer:
As an owner of the brand, I have sought to be as much a consumer of my brand as my consumers! I not only use my products, but I share that experience with my consumers. As a company, it allows Hibiscus Monkey to develop an intimate relationship with the consumers and for them Hibiscus Monkey becomes more than a brand when they can forge a relationship with the person behind it.
Hibiscus Monkey #HiByeKiss