Simran Kalra is reinventing the skincare industry through her digital platform Haldi. With an emphasis on finding products that benefit your skin, her platform has created a unique approach to a personalized skincare store and experience for all users.
Simran Kalra, Haldi Founder and CEO
Finding the right skincare can be a daunting task, but Kalra and the team at Haldi make the process seamless. The way the platform works is that all users take a quick questionnaire discussing current products and concerns. Haldi comes in to fill the gaps in your routine, while also giving an insight into some of your current products which might be “offenders” in your routine. Following your personalized skincare routine, you are able to purchase all of the suggested products directly from your personal store on Haldi’s website, taking out the hassle of running to the store.
As a female-founded and run business, Kalra is breaking the glass ceiling one day at a time. She expressed, “I am really inspired by all the amazing founders who have built companies ahead of me. Their trials and tribulations, ups and downs and relentless drive to ‘make it happen’ inspires me. I love listening to podcasts of founder stories, especially from their early days and always walk away inspired and renewed.”
We caught up with Kalra to learn all about Haldi, the power of skincare and the future of the exciting, first-of-its-kind company.
How did the idea of Haldi come to light?
It all started when a girlfriend over dinner talked about her frustrating trip shopping for skincare at a big box retailer. She said “I want to prevent wrinkles and want unscented skin care, and willing to splurge on a few products but not all, and am not sure what my skin type is etc etc” She felt overwhelmed by the unlimited choices and found it impossible to find skincare that met all her unique needs.
I realized there was this massive gap in the market. The shopping experience was catering to how our moms shopped. Gone were the days when a woman would say “my skin is dry” and was happy to walk away with Clinique 1-2-3.
Today’s women are expressing their needs and preferences in a multi-faceted way and don’t want to be limited to one brand. And there is absolutely no way for them to find the right products, and definitely not across brands.
As the first of its kind, how have you grown a customer base?
We’ve really grown by word of mouth. That’s the great thing about beauty, if you discover something you love, you are likely to share it with your friends and that’s what happened to us. I helped my friend build a skincare routine and she told her friend, who told her friend, and soon I had 300 people emailing me for skincare recommendations. And that’s how Haldi was born. And we kept growing like that. We could barely keep up with the demand.
Then later we started working with micro-influencers who started telling their small group of followers. We have not needed to do any other marketing until now.
What was the process of curating which brands you work with for your personal store?
Haldi’s offering is clean, but we believe clean is not nearly enough. Just because a product is clean does not mean it will work for you. A product might be too strong for your sensitive skin, or too aggravating for your acneic skin or just not work at all. So we believe in Clean-For-You. Not only should ingredients be clean, but they should work for your unique skin needs.
Do you focus on any specific category of products?
As mentioned above our philosophy is Clean-For-You. Beyond that we personalize what the customer wants. If organic and all-natural is important to the customer we’ll personalize taking those preferences into account, but we believe it should be the customers choice.
We think it's like food, we are all focussed on being healthy, which in our mind is equivalent to Clean-For-You. Beyond that someone might be vegan and someone might enjoy an occasional steak, and its all good.
What is a major red flag you see a lot in individuals’ skincare routines?
One major red flag we see in customers' routines is they have a lot of "active/acid-based" products (eg glycolic acid or retinol). In fact, many of which they may not even realize have acid/active ingredients, unless they really read the ingredient list carefully.
As we all know, active products play a really important role in solving skin concerns, from acne to fine lines. But over-use of them could lead to sensitivity over time.
So we evaluate our users' bathroom shelf’s and if we find multiple active products, we customize their routine accordingly and equally importantly we counterbalance their routine with products that nourish and hydrate the skin.
Would you ever consider creating your own skincare line?
Definitely a possibility. We are very guided by what our customers need and want, so if we see a need that is not being fulfilled in the market, we will create it for them.
What is next for Haldi?
Our mission is to revolutionize the e-commerce experience for people who don’t want to deal with the overwhelm of Big-Box retailers. Shopping at these retailers is great if you know what you are looking for but is painful for users who are looking to discover products that will work for their unique skin and concerns.
We are challenging this one-size-fits-all massive store approach and creating a personal store for each user. This is a huge opportunity and we are focused on that.
As a women-founded and run business, do you have any advice for other entrepreneurial women?
Follow your instinct, listen to the customer and be prepared for unpredictable but amazing When I started there were many people who told me this could never work. But my instinct told me there was a massive gap in the market and customers kept coming to me which validated my instinct. I designed the entire product listening to questions users were asking and I would recommend that to everyone.
Photography by: Courtesy Haldi