Tammena Singh’s experience as an investor and entrepreneur gives her the background and perspective she needs to help other startups, women entrepreneurs, in particular, get off the ground by providing such services as funding advice, helping them develop marketing and operational strategies, and providing insights for global expansion plans.
Building businesses has been her passion for more than 20 years. Tammena Singh is currently the Managing Director for UberLux Group of Companies, UberLux India (India), and UberLux Global (Australia). She is also the founder of “House of Wellness”, an organic beauty brand, and “Ubervida”, a health supplement brand with a global presence.
Professional Beauty speaks to her about her entrepreneurial experience, life lessons, as well as insight into the sustainability movement in the beauty and wellness industry.
How has your entrepreneurial journey been? Where did you learn the most and what mistakes did you make?
The learning curve has been steep for me and my husband. We come from a defense background and we are first-time entrepreneurs. However, I firmly believe that hard work, determination, and discipline to achieve your goals can help you a lot. Educating myself and gaining domain knowledge was crucial to my success. Trusting in yourself, your vision, and your team also helps go a long way. A few of our earlier mistakes included hiring too many consultants, taking people at face value, and spending too much money on unnecessary things like big offices, extra staff, etc.
How do you view the Indian skincare and wellness industry? Particularly in light of the recent covid pandemic, where is it headed? How does it go forward?
The Indian skincare and wellness industry is experiencing exciting times. Nykaa, leading the way, has shown and proved the love of Indians across all age groups in the beauty and wellness industry. New unicorns on the block have also inspired many to come up with new products and labels. Both during and after covid, we become increasingly aware of how important and powerful it is to take care of ourselves and our loved ones as naturally and healthily as possible. Customers want to try new products, which are clean, affordable, and ingredient specific. Minimalist and result-oriented approaches will be the future of our industry!
What is the difference between vegan, organic products, and plant-based organic products? How can they be identified?
It’s a minefield out there. Beauty, skincare, diet, cleaning products, you name it. They’re nearly all labeled with some sort of promise, and it’s not easy to know what is going on behind the scenes. The terms ‘natural’, ‘organic’, and ‘clean’ all seem to blend into one. Their nature is more complex than a simple label.
To be labeled as ‘natural’, a product only needs to be made of 1% naturally-sourced, plant-based, or mineral ingredients, regardless of the other ingredients. As a rule of thumb, the longer and harder to pronounce words listed mean there are fewer natural ingredients.
For products to be labeled as organic, 95% or more of the ingredients must be organically produced. Only products where all the ingredients are organic can be labeled as ‘100% organic’. A brand can’t use organic clay, water, or salt as ingredients so they are lying if they label them as such. The organic regulation only applies to farmed ingredients.
If a product or its manufacturing process does not contain animal extracts or by-products, it is vegan. A vegan product does not contain animal testing. There is no guarantee that a product is vegan just because it wasn’t tested on animals
Similarly, a vegan label isn’t synonymous with a plant-based label. Many plant-based products contain plant ingredients, but they do not contain all of them.
Finally, your way forward? What are your plans for H.O.W? What are the goals since the dynamics have been changed completely?
We are on our path to achieving 100% of all the packaging we sell to be recycled, recyclable, refillable, or made from bio-sourced materials by 2025.
Our R&D team is already planning for a new product line on these themes. Beauty innovations of the future will start to focus on sustainability and waste problems in addition to clean ingredients. Several innovations have already been introduced that focus on reducing packaging and waste, such as water-free shampoos, refillable body lotions, and deodorants in biodegradable paper packaging.
We are committed to a healthy skin regimen with a less is more approach—no harsh chemicals, parabens, SLSs, or fillers—but still containing high levels of actives, antioxidants, and vitamins, for environmentally conscious skincare that delivers results.