14-year-old entrepreneur launches perfume brand and earns 65,000 rupees in 3 months
OWhat were you doing at 14? Immersed in your own little world of friends, books, and the herculean task of nailing math?
Mumbai-based Aryahi Agarwal, a class 9 student, has an extra thing or two on her plate. At 14, she is the founder of Bella Fragrances, which aims to be a line of “100% organic” perfumes for teenagers.
“This is my second entrepreneurial adventure,” says Aryahi, who exudes confidence. The best India. “When I was 11, I started a business to turn old t-shirts into bags. I won first place in a competition for it.
Three years later, she launched her second business. The idea, she says, was born out of a personal desire to buy an affordable perfume for herself. “Most good quality perfumes cost over Rs 2,000 which is high for a student to buy on their own. I wanted to do something that my friends could buy without feeling a pinch,” she says.
Citing Walt Disney’s autobiography as inspiration, she says, “The idea of becoming an entrepreneur and running something on my own has always excited me. It’s a dream come true,” she says.
The birth of an idea
“During confinement, I was looking for a good perfume. I have never found anything that I like. The notes were either too old for me or extremely floral in nature. Nothing seemed tailor-made, and talking to my friends made me realize that many others felt the same,” says Aryahi.
This is how the idea of creating a perfume brand exclusively for teenage girls struck Aryahi. “I wanted to develop a fragrance that we could afford without relying solely on our mothers’ reserve. I also wanted to find something that was soft and could be worn to school,” she says. It took Aryahi almost six months to formulate his plan and start the business, she says. She describes this as the hardest part of the job.
“I had the chance to speak to several industry experts and veterans, all of whom dissuaded me from going into space. They said it would be impossible to make an organic fragrance in the range of price I was aiming for,” she says. On top of that, she says none of the sales people were able to figure out what she was trying to accomplish, so no help came from that side no more.
Aryahi’s mother, Raji Agarwal, who has been a constant support throughout her daughter’s entrepreneurial journey, says, “It was hard to see her feeling so disappointed after her discussions with her mentors. There were days and times when she cried. Sometimes she asked us if there was any interest in continuing. We continued to encourage and reassure her that trying was important, the result was secondary.
Aryahi notes, “It was terribly demotivating, but at the same time, I woke up every morning feeling confident. I felt that I had it in me to create the right perfume. My dad would often quote famous people who were successful in life when others told them they wouldn’t.
Handmade fragrances in every bottle
Aryahi has experimented with essential oil blends and says it took him over six months to finally get the right blend. “Everything is handmade and I work on all the formulations myself. Every batch I made was given away to friends to try. It was through their feedback that I refined the formulation at every stage,” she says.
Since her target audience is teenagers, she says she had a test group ready when she pitched the product. “Every few months I would hand a bottle of perfume to my friends and ask their opinion. They were the best and most critical givers of feedback I could ask for. They never minced their words and told me exactly how they felt.
She jokes about how her room perpetually smells of rose and other floral notes. Currently, two flavors are available, called Bella Organics and Bella Naturals. Both are priced at Rs 599 for a 30ml bottle. Aryahi says Bella Naturals has 21 notes, is safe on skin, lasts longer, and has a very floral scent. Meanwhile, Bella Organics has three notes, is sweeter, and comes primarily from rose. She also adds here that each bottle contains up to 80 sprays, which should last up to three months.
Since going live and accepting orders from December 2021, Aryahi says there has been steady growth, with which she has managed to earn over Rs 65,000. “My dad initially invested Rs 20 000 in my business, and I’m proud to say that I managed to return double that amount to him in less than three months,” she says.
“I’m also open to customizing a scent for anyone who wants it,” she says.
Orders are shipped across India. You can contact Aryahi via Instagram or call +91-98208 21213.
(Editing by Divya Sethu)