Iba Halal Care launched by Mauli Teli and her sister Grishma Teli is reportedly India's first halal-certified cosmetic brand. In 2012, the sister duo started their company, Ecotrail, which was a manufacturing unit and research lab.
In September 2014, after a thorough market research and talks with consumers, salon owners and several other people, the duo launched Iba Halal Care. From lipsticks, face sprays and face creams to shampoos, conditioners and perfumes, they have a wide product range.
The smart, suave, CEO of the company, Mauli Teli, has people coming up to her often and asking what 'halal' has to do with cosmetics. Mauli said, "Halal has a deep meaning. It means it's pure, safe, and healthy. What it means in terms of our cosmetics range is that our products are organic, free of animal fat and animal-derived products like keratin, collagen and gelatine, and alcohol free. They are free of any harsh chemicals and animal cruelty. Therefore they are good for everyone."
Teli moved back to India in 2011 after studying and working in the US for seven-and-a-half years. "I have a technical background and was into management consulting. My sister had studied biotechnology in the UK. Both of us have always wanted to start something on our own," she added.
Teli hails from a family of entrepreneurs and personal care products were of interest to both sisters. "Our father is into equipment manufacturing for the cosmetics industry. Since I had worked with (market research agency) AC Nielson, I knew that the field of personal care was very competitive and in order to succeed we had to make a unique proposition. In the US, natural, ethical products are much sought after and we found that halal cosmetics was a niche field that could be explored," she explained.
Considering that India has a large Muslim population, the sisters realized that there was a need for such products. Mauli said, "Halal certified products are popular in Southeast Asia like Malaysia. Britain also has a few small brands. But, in the Indian context, we had to take care that ours was not a high-end brand, but something that the market could bear."
As they launched Iba with their first stand-alone store in Ahmedabad, it triggered a lot of interest among the people. Mauli said, "People were curious. They would come and ask me all kinds of questions. Sometimes even Muslims did not understand what halal had to do with cosmetics. Once we told them about the fat free lipsticks and alcohol free perfumes, they understood," she said.
The concept also appealed to people from the Jain community and those who opt for a vegan way of life. "Actually, 35% of our consumers are non-Muslims, and the interest is increasing. The products - priced between Rs.40 and Rs.250 - are no less effective on the skin or hair. They have the same look and feel like any other modern cosmetic product with no side effects."
With two stand alone stores in Gujarat, they are now starting new outlets in Aurangabad in Maharashtra, before venturing into Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Baroda and Surat. They also have their products available online, on shopping portals like Amazon and Flipkart.