In 2019, The Sass Bar introduced delectable dessert-shaped soaps. With an initial Rs 25,000 investment, they now sell around 3,000 soaps each month. From cupcakes to doughnuts, eclairs, macarons, popsicles, and ice lollies, Rishika Nayak Shetty’s creations are a visual treat.
Mumbai’s online soapery, The Sass Bar, specializes in handcrafted soaps resembling delectable desserts. These SLS and paraben-free creations are enriched with cocoa and shea butter, featuring skin-safe colorants and biodegradable glitter. Fragrance options include lilac, rose, black raspberry vanilla, spearmint, Argentina lemon, peony, and more. The journey began differently for Rishika Nayak Shetty, a business graduate with a finance major from Welingkars Institute and a master’s in brand management from Istituto Marangoni, London. Her ambition was clear: to establish her own business.
Rishika’s entrepreneurial journey started with a women’s fashion brand, co-founded with another partner. While she cherished the creative side of the business, the industry’s wastefulness troubled her. Over time, she transitioned from feeling like her wardrobe had nothing to wear to being overwhelmed by the excessive clothing she owned. This shift in perspective led her to desire a sustainable brand, even though the exact direction remained uncertain.
Inspiration in Suds: Rishika’s Journey to Dessert Soaps
Rishika’s soap venture was sparked by an unexpected encounter in 2017. While traveling in Sydney, she stumbled upon a farmer’s market and a vendor selling cold-processed soap bars. These were no ordinary soaps; they were infused with exotic scents like key lime pie and chocolate espresso. This unique experience transformed her perception of handmade soaps, which had previously seemed mundane with only essential oil fragrances. Inspired by her curiosity and love for these exceptional soaps, Rishika embarked on her journey into the world of dessert soaps, giving birth to The Sass Bar.
What began as a hobby quickly transformed into a flourishing venture. Rishika commenced her soap-making journey in late 2018 with an initial investment of less than Rs 25,000. She shared her creations on social media, and the response was remarkable. One of her friends purchased her soaps, and their friends, in turn, bought more, setting off a chain reaction through word of mouth. Within just two months, the demand had grown so much that she had to establish a dedicated workshop.
In 2019, The Sass Bar was officially launched, living up to its name, which embodies the spirit of living a sassy life. The brand’s uniqueness lies in its innovative creations and distinctive packaging. It challenges the conventional perception of handmade soaps typically associated with earthy colors and fragrances. Instead, The Sass Bar infuses a sense of fun and sass into their products, all while maintaining a commitment to quality ingredients and innovative approaches.
The Sass Bar’s soaps are priced from Rs 185 to Rs 350 per piece, catering to a range of budgets. Additionally, they offer enticing gift boxes, with prices starting at Rs 1,500. Among their offerings, the French pastry-inspired soaps like Mille Feuille and eclairs are highly sought after. Their Christmas collection, featuring adorable penguin, reindeer, and snowman popsicles, received tremendous popularity.With a customer base of over 10,000 individuals, The Sass Bar has achieved a remarkable customer return rate of approximately 15%. Their monthly sales amount to around 3,000 soaps. However, the founder prefers to keep profit and revenue specifics confidential.
Market Trends and Future Prospects:
The market for chemical-free skincare and hair care products is on the rise, thanks to the increasing awareness of skin and beauty care. Handmade, chemical-free soaps are in high demand and are projected to continue growing in popularity in the coming years.
Rishika, the founder of The Sass Bar, considers her brand to be a contender in the competitive world of handmade soap and body care. Her notable competitors include renowned names such as Forest Essentials and Fab India, as well as emerging players like Juicy Chemistry, Vaanya Soap Co, Fiducia Botanicals, and Bon Organics. In addition, The Sass Bar competes with smaller yet equally innovative brands like Bare Essentials, Ruharoma, Soaps by Kadambari, PaNee, Almitra Sustainables, Chennai Soap Company, and Mud and Moon, contributing to the vibrant and evolving landscape of chemical-free skincare products.
Rishika is optimistic about the future and believes that there is space for many players in the market. She describes The Sass Bar’s journey as “amazing” and highlights their rapid sales. While they have made progress in managing demand and supply, there is still room for growth. Notably, established brands like Dune London (Reliance), Vero Moda, Face Shop, and Amazon have reached out to The Sass Bar for influencer gift boxes, further underscoring their growing reputation.Following a successful Christmas collection, the company is now focused on launching two new boxes. Rishika emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement and staying true to your brand identity. She advises that in the early stages, it’s easy to become confused, but focusing on what works for you is the key to success.
The Sass Bar was part of India’s inaugural season of Shark Tank, securing funding from two supportive sharks. Rishika and her team are excited about the future, with plans to scale their company significantly.
The Sass Bar’s Appearance on Shark Tank:
Rishika presented her innovative product on the popular TV show Shark Tank India during its first season. She sought a Rs. 40 lakh investment in exchange for an 8% equity stake in her company. The “Sharks,” Anupam Mittal and Ghazal Alagh, expressed strong interest in the business and negotiated a deal, ultimately investing Rs. 50 lakhs for a 35% equity share.
The Sass Bar remains a self-care brand with a unique appeal, creating a deep emotional connection with its customers. The soaps feature vibrant colors and a whimsical dessert theme, setting them apart in the market.
Rishika shared her motivation for starting her own business, stating, “I always knew I didn’t want to work for somebody or do a 9:00 to 5:00 job. I did it for a couple of years and knew it wasn’t working out for me. The entire process of creating the brand, products, and packaging design is incredibly exciting.”
1.What makes The Sass Bar’s soaps unique?
Answer: The Sass Bar offers handmade soaps that resemble delicious desserts. They are rich in cocoa and shea butter, free from SLS and parabens, and come in a variety of delightful fragrances.
2.Are The Sass Bar soaps suitable for all skin types?
Answer: Yes, The Sass Bar’s soaps are designed to be suitable for all skin types. They use skin-safe colorants and biodegradable glitter to ensure a gentle and enjoyable cleansing experience.
3.What fragrances are available for The Sass Bar’s soaps?
Answer: The Sass Bar offers a range of fragrances, including lilac, rose, black raspberry vanilla, spearmint, Argentina lemon, peony, and more.
4.How do I purchase The Sass Bar’s soaps?
Answer: You can purchase The Sass Bar’s soaps directly from their official website or through select retail partners.
5.Do they offer gift options?
Answer: Yes, The Sass Bar provides gift boxes starting at Rs 1,500 onwards, making it a perfect choice for special occasions and gifting.
6.Can I find The Sass Bar’s soaps in physical stores?
Answer: While The Sass Bar primarily operates online, they may also partner with select retail stores.
7.Are the soaps eco-friendly?
Answer: The Sass Bar emphasizes eco-friendliness by using biodegradable glitter in their products.
Mumbai’s Dessert Soaps by The Sass Bar offer a delightful fusion of creativity, innovation, and self-expression. Rishika Nayak Shetty’s journey from the corporate world to creating these delectable soaps showcases the power of entrepreneurship and following one’s passion. With a growing market and an innovative approach, The Sass Bar is poised to continue captivating customers with its sweet-scented soaps that add a touch of fun and luxury to everyday self-care routines. As the brand’s success story continues, it’s evident that there’s a bright and fragrant future ahead.
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