Eco champion: Organic Riot aiming to capture international market with strong sustainability and traceability angle

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Organic Riot is eyeing huge opportunities in mature beauty markets such as the US. ©Organic Riot
Organic Riot is eyeing huge opportunities in mature beauty markets such as the US. ©Organic Riot

Related tags India Sustainability traceability New zealand

New Zealand-based Organic Riot is eyeing huge opportunities in mature beauty markets such as the US, where it believes its emphasis on sustainability and traceability has helped it to stand out in a saturated natural and organic skin care market.

Organic Riot specialises in natural and organic skin care products that emphasise on sustainability and traceability.

It was founded in 2016 by CEO Siddharth Somaiya, who saw a gap in the market for safe, natural and organic skin care in India.

“I used to work for a raw materials supplier, and I saw that a lot of the customers were willing to pay extra for a naturally-derived product,”​ said Somaiya.

“The Indian beauty market was mostly people selling junk in a bottle – complete nonsense. They were using ingredients that were banned in Europe, Japan or the US so I didn't think that was fair considering that Indians are also world-class consumers.”

The company spent the next three years in research and development and launched the brand in March 2019.

In the last year and a half, the company has grown exponentially and is now available in India, Australia, New Zealand and the US.

“We’ve done pretty well over the last year or so. We've been scaling up ever since we launched, growing 30 times over a period of one and a half years,”​ said Somaiya.

Somaiya told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that the company has global ambitions for the brand. “I'm not just looking at India anymore, I'm looking at the world.”

Somaiya added that he believes that the brand could “stand on a shelf next to globally well-known brands like Shiseido, Glossier or Drunk Elephant and hold its own.”

Beyond India, Organic Riot has found success with its strong sustainability and traceability angle.

“In the global market there's a gap in the market for natural skin care with really good traceability. I think we are going beyond what most brands across the world are doing in terms of sustainability and procurement; we make sure our raw materials don't have traces to child labour and we don't buy organic-certified ingredients that are potentially linked to deforestation activities,” ​said Somaiya.

Somaiya believes the brand’s strong sustainable image and communication has been the key to its success in Australia and New Zealand.

“When we launched in Australia and New Zealand, we had six months’ worth of stock that sold out in four weeks. These consumers are very mature and educated about things like sustainability and traceability – I don’t think there’s any other consumer more conscious about these issues anywhere else in the world.”

The company is aiming to replicate its success there in the US, where it launched early September.

“For the next 12 months, I’m focused on how to scale up in the US. I want to do the same thing over here as Australia and New Zealand. The fact that I can sell over there is an ode to the brand. I think there’s huge potential in the US and I need to make sure I can do the same thing there,” ​said Somaiya.

Growth through education

Additionally, the company is looking at expanding into Hong Kong and Singapore.

“We’re in talks with some offline partners over there but we're going to take it slow, we don't want to expand too fast everywhere,” ​said Somaiya.

He noted that the company would continue to grow the brand in India as well, but he expected the growth to be slower compared to other markets.

“The mature markets already have an understanding of why our brand and products are better. In India, there's a lot of greenwashing. Because of that, it’s difficult to set yourself apart unless the consumer really knows how to spot a truly sustainable brand.”

Somaiya said the key to expanding in India was investing in consumer education about sustainability and traceability.

“For us, we are trying our best to educate as much as possible in India, but educating takes a lot of effort, time, and money. It's a slow process. We will continue to do that, but we also want to grow at the same time.”

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