Pokonut, celebrates milestone of delighting 100,000 customers, an insightful discussion with Suchint Karnatak

Pokonut

Introducing the visionary behind Pokonut, Suchint Karnatak with an indomitable spirit and a passion for innovation, Suchint has revolutionized the way we approach health and wellness. As the driving force behind Pokonut, he has seamlessly blended Ayurveda with modern-day skin care needs to create a unique product range under Pokonut. Suchint Karnatak is a true trailblazer in the field of Ayurveda Skin Care & wellness space.

Table of Contents

How your journey has been after college? What kind of work have you done before starting this?

After completing my engineering education, I embarked on a fulfilling 12-year journey in the pharmaceutical industry. I gained invaluable experience working with esteemed pharmaceutical companies. During this time, I honed my skills in Project Management, and formulation development and gained a deep understanding of product quality and safety standards.

How did you happen to start Pokonut? Why did you decide on this particular business space/ genre only?

The genesis of our venture stemmed from a deeply personal experience; my child faced challenges with modern-day formulations, prompting my family to resort to traditional remedies passed down by our grandmother. Witnessing the transformative effects of these remedies sparked the idea to create a venture that would offer natural solutions to modern-day ailments. We aimed to cater to working parents like us who seek effective and safe alternatives for their families’ health and well-being.

Which particular product in the Pokonut portfolio is your favorite and inspired by your personal experience?

My personal favorite from our Pokonut portfolio is our Stretch Mark Cream and Kumkuamdi Face Oil. It holds a special place in my heart as it was inspired by my own experience during the second pregnancy of my wife. This product embodies our commitment to providing effective solutions rooted in personal understanding and empathy.

What is the core thought behind this business? What problem are you trying to solve?

At the core of our business is the belief in the power of nature to heal and nurture. We recognized a gap in the market where consumers, particularly millennials and Gen Z, were interested in Ayurvedic products but deterred by their traditional attributes such as strong smells, textures, and stickiness. Our mission is to bridge this gap by offering Ayurvedic formulations that retain their inherent benefits while catering to the preferences of modern consumers.

What were the 3 challenges you faced while starting up Pokonut & 3 challenges you still face after scaling up to this level?

In the early stages of our bootstrapped venture, we encountered several significant challenges. Firstly, limited financial resources posed a constraint on our ability to invest in research, development, and marketing efforts. Secondly, our major challenges included sourcing high-quality ingredients, formulating products that meet both Ayurvedic principles and modern consumer expectations, and establishing a brand presence in a competitive market.

As we scaled up, we encountered challenges related to maintaining quality standards while increasing production capacity, optimizing supply chain logistics, strengthening our backend operations and effectively managing rapid growth without compromising on customer satisfaction.

Marketing remains a challenge in our competitive space, primarily due to the evolving landscape and the need to stand out amidst numerous offerings. Specifically, navigating digital marketing channels effectively and ensuring our message resonates with our target audience amidst the noise pose ongoing challenges.

What were the failures in your journey? If anyone is starting now, what advice would you give to avoid such failures? 

Like any entrepreneurial journey, we faced our share of setbacks and failures.  One notable challenge was initially underestimating the complexity of formulating products that seamlessly blend Ayurvedic principles with modern preferences. However, these failures served as invaluable learning experiences, reinforcing the importance of thorough market research, iterative product development, and resilience in the face of adversity.

My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to keep patience & embrace failure as an opportunity for growth, remain adaptable to evolving circumstances, and never compromise on the quality and integrity of your vision.

Tell us about Pokonut’s flagship offerings and what value additions customers can expect from your offerings.

Our flagship offerings are a range of Ayurvedic products meticulously formulated to cater to the preferences of modern consumers. Our lineup includes Stretch Mark Cream, Haircare Essentials, Skin Care Essentials, and Baby Care products. These are carefully crafted with Ayurvedic formulations, ensuring safety and effectiveness for both mom and baby. By leveraging our pharmaceutical expertise and collaborating with renowned scientists, we have created formulations that retain the efficacy of traditional Ayurveda while offering enhanced sensory experiences, such as pleasant fragrances, lightweight textures, and fast-absorbing formulas. Customers can expect products that not only address their specific health and wellness needs but also delight their senses and elevate their overall experience.

Do you have in-house manufacturing or do you outsource?

The core thought behind our business is to address the evolving needs of modern consumers while operating within a light asset model. We outsource our manufacturing processes to ensure agility and cost-effectiveness without compromising on quality. POKONUT boasts a full-scale in-house R&D lab, staffed with qualified scientists who develop groundbreaking formulations. Additionally, our dedicated quality team oversees manufacturing processes, ensuring adherence to the highest standards of quality at every step. This approach allows us to focus on innovation and product development while maintaining operational efficiency and delivering exceptional value to our customers.

What is the pricing strategy for you? How do you arrive at a specific pricing, what is the process you undergo?

Our pricing strategy is centered around delivering exceptional value to our customers while ensuring sustainability and profitability for our business. We conduct thorough market analysis to understand pricing dynamics and consumer preferences. Additionally, we consider factors such as ingredient costs, formulation complexity, competitive pricing benchmarks, and perceived value to arrive at pricing that is both competitive and reflective of the quality and benefits our products offer.

What is your strategy to market the product? What kind of promotional strategy would you suggest to entrepreneurs who are just starting up?  

Pokonut’s marketing strategy revolves around storytelling, education, and engagement. We leverage digital channels to communicate our brand story, highlight the science behind our formulations, and educate consumers about the benefits of Ayurveda.

Additionally, at Pokonut we prioritize customer engagement through social media, influencer partnerships, and community-building initiatives. For entrepreneurs starting up, I would recommend focusing on building a strong brand narrative, leveraging social media platforms to engage with your target audience, and cultivating authentic relationships with customers.

While social media undoubtedly plays a crucial role in brand building, particularly in high-involvement categories like skincare, it cannot fully replicate the tactile experience offered by traditional below-the-line (BTL) activations. In skin care, where sensory elements are paramount, experiencing the product firsthand can significantly influence purchasing decisions.

Therefore, a balanced approach that leverages both social media for reach and engagement and strategic BTL activations for immersive experiences can create a holistic brand experience for Pokonut.

What is the revenue you have clocked in this financial year, and at what growth rate?  

In the last financial year, we achieved remarkable growth, with revenue increasing by 100X compared to previous years. The Pokonut team is proud to have served over 1 Lakh customers since our inception, demonstrating the strong demand for our products and the effectiveness of our business strategy.

How competitive is this category? And how do you take on competition? Have you worked on creating a competitive advantage for Pokonut?

The category Pokonut operates in is highly competitive, with numerous players offering Ayurvedic products in the market. To differentiate ourselves, we have focused on innovation, quality, and customer experience. By continuously refining our formulations, investing in research and development, and prioritizing customer feedback, we have cultivated a reputation for delivering superior products that resonate with modern consumers. Our commitment to quality, transparency, and authenticity serves as our primary competitive advantage, enabling us to carve out a distinct position in the market.

What has been your prime focus area: A quality Product, aggressive Promotion, serviceability, or operational efficiency and why? 

At Pokonut, Our prime focus area has always been on delivering a quality product that exceeds customer expectations. While promotion, serviceability, and operational efficiency are undoubtedly important aspects of our business, we believe that product quality serves as the foundation for long-term success. As we have a strong narrative among us that “Marketing sells once, quality sells multiple times”.

By prioritizing quality in every aspect of our operations, from sourcing ingredients to manufacturing processes to customer service, we have been able to build trust and loyalty among our customers, which ultimately drives sustainable growth and profitability.

Considering your strong experience as an entrepreneur, what advice would you give to budding industry leaders?

One of the most critical pieces of advice I can offer to budding industry leaders is the paramount importance of assembling the right team. Surround yourself with individuals who not only possess the necessary skills and expertise but also share your passion, vision, and values. A diverse team with complementary strengths and perspectives can fuel innovation, foster creativity, and navigate challenges more effectively. Additionally, prioritize continuous learning and development, both for yourself and your team, to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving business landscape. Remember, success is not achieved in isolation but through the collective efforts of a dedicated and empowered team.

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