(January 28, 2024) When she was just 19, Anshita Mehrotra, a student, was on a winter break at her Varanasi home. Having curly hair, she did a casual Google search on curly hair products that gave her empty results, and anything available was ridiculously expensive. She realised, in an epiphany, that curly hair is rarely represented in pop culture, media, or even on beauty racks on stores. The wide gap in the haircare market for curly hair was evident and Anshita decided she would provide a solution.
As a kid, Mehrotra was very interested in pop culture, writing, reading and storytelling. She studied at Pathways World School Aravali, and she admits that this experience shaped her into who she is today. “I loved fiction books, diving deep into stories that were far off from my actual life, it was my way of relaxing. I initially thought I would grow up to write, and I did write a collection of poetry in college which I self-published later, titled ‘Love Comes Full Circle’ at 19,” she reminisces. At home on a college winter break she realised that she had no products for textured curls, or wavy Indian hair. “I realised no one in our country saw curly or wavy hair as worthy of being taken care of, so I felt very strongly about it and began researching formulations. I took the semester off, and realised I wanted to make Fix My Curls much bigger than what I had initially thought,” she says.
That’s how Mehrotra started working on her product, Fix My Curls, whose main USP is specially-crafted formula meant for curly and wavy hair, which is also free from silicone, sulphates, paraben, waxes, mineral oil and drying alcohols, as they can worsen the dry, frizzy tendencies of textured hair. “We choose softer, balanced formulations that use butters, oils, and naturally occurring cleansing agents that are not as harsh as those in the mass market to care for our curly headed customers. With upto eight rounds of formulating per product, we take anywhere from 6-8 months to launch each product, to make sure we get it just right. We also pride ourselves on choosing ingredients from France, and Germany as well as locally sourcing from India when it makes sense,” says Mehrotra.
Women all over the world are turning their problems into multi-million dollar businesses. “They are the ones who go back home and manage the house and get back up to go manage their empire. I especially admire women venture capitalists that are pushing the notion that women led ideas and businesses deserve funding now more than ever. My biggest inspiration would be my mother, Shaily Mehrotra, she runs Fixderma and has taught me some invaluable lessons on making sure product is king,” says Mehrotra.
Now, curly hair products are flooding the market, which Mehrotra sees as a positive sign. “I love it, in fact we encourage more and more brands to enter this space because it helps us further educate and grow the market,” she says. And while it’s not an easy journey, it’s worth it, she remarks. “Our once-niche segment is now thriving and gives our customers so many options and communities to feel like they belong. At the end of the day that is our goal, to give them a space where they feel good about their natural hair, curly, wavy, or coily,” she adds.
She plans to make Fix My Curls a community-driven brand and says that she loves her customers and trusts their instinct on the product and what they should make as they move forward. “They drive the brand and have supported us immensely, so we look to make the product experience the best for them as we move forward. We also plan to begin our offline retail journey with salons and are present in Shoppers Stop branches across India currently. We also aim to make sure quick commerce is PAN India for us through BlinkIt and Swiggy Instamart so our customers never have to wait for the product,” she says. The brand has also begun their journey into the US market with the help of CurlsMonthly, a monthly subscription service that gives curly hair products from all over the globe to their customers to try before they buy. “We still have to properly set up distribution in the US but Amazon has been a great help in getting us there because they’ve made it incredibly easy to onboard and sell the product. We have also always made sure we are compliant, and our formulations are approved by FDA standards to be sold in the US. We aim to work much harder this year to reach that market the best we can,” she explains.
Mehrotra usually takes challenges one day at a time and says that she has learnt the valuable lesson of worrying only about what is right in front of you, rather than worrying for the future as that is not here yet. Basic operational and supply chain challenges are most common in the personal care industry, and take time and consistency to move through, Mehrotra has learned, in her journey with Fix My Curls. “I have learnt many lessons, but there have been some that have stuck. Your gut will make some of the best business decisions for you, but knowing to listen to it is when it can be hard. Say no more often than yes. Don’t work with everyone, it’s not worth your time,” she says.
In her free time, Mehrotra loves trying new coffee shops, Pilates classes, tennis lessons with a coach, reading fiction fantasy books, and cooking. “I also love going on the hunt for authentic Japanese and Korean eatery spots in Delhi NCR with my friends,” she says. The 24 year old is taking giant strides in the cosmetic industry by catering to a niche that has been seldom explored and this reflects her business acumen that belies her age.