Business Name: FOAMO-IS
Entrepreneurs: Isha Kapoor & Siddhi Kapoor
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 153
Skincare is one of the most competitive and aggressive sectors in India. Two sisters from Kolkata- Isha Kapoor & Siddhi Kapoor – launched FOAMO – IS, their skincare brand that sells bath essentials, daring this fierce competition from the biggies in the industry. They wanted to make bathing a unique and luxurious experience. Within a short span of time, they became successful in their venture and attracted a good number of customers from across the country.
Customised bathing bars are the uniqueness of FOAMO- IS. “Each soap bar is created and customised as per customer needs keeping in mind their skin type and preferences labelled with millennial phrases, words and abbreviations,” they say.
FOAMO -IS has partnership with an all-women NGO based out of Kolkata for packaging and procurement of the products. This way, the brand is also promoting social entrepreneurship.
We sit with the founders, Isha and Siddhi, to unravel the complete story of FOAMO- IS.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
Since a child I have been obsessed with soaps – where kids would choose chocolates I’d prefer soaps! As a kid, my Nanu would take me to the supermarket and the only thing that caught my eyes were soaps. He says, this one time I forced him to buy me the most expensive soaps not just one but ten of them! Since, then people keep gifting me handmade soaps from all over the world!
After completing my masters from Hult International Business School, Dubai I got back to my city with a vision to start my entrepreneurial journey in a completely different field – (FOAMO was not in the picture at all). But soon enough, unfortunately because of the pandemic things stood at a stand-still.
My Instagram explore has literally always been about soaps and soap making (which no-one knows) and I found the reason to follow my passion in the lockdown which is when I ordered my first DIY soap making kit and FOAMO-IS was born soon after.
After weeks of researching, attending online workshops, brainstorming, collaborating, procuring material (which was difficult during the lockdown) my sister, Siddhi and me set up the entire business and got the brand up and running in August 2020.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
Looking at people shifting from commercial brands to homegrown, sustainable, organic, eco-friendly brands and becoming conscious of the products they use is why I feel now is the perfect time for us! The two most important elements millennials are on a look out for while purchasing products are the ingredients used in the products and personalisation/ customisation of products. And our products have both of these requisites incorporated.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
My parents have always been super supportive. To the extent that all four of us brainstormed on the brand name and ultimately my parents are the ones who came up with the name FOAMO (FOAM + FOMO). Yes, they’re well aware of the millennial lingo!
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
In the first 3 months of FOAMO, the one thing I would say my biggest mistake was not delegating work. Initially, I thought I could do it all, from manufacturing, packaging, designing, social media, finance, etc., and hire once things are up and running. But that is definitely not how things work.
Building a small team and delegating work from day one is extremely important for kickstarting any startup and the smooth flow of operations. Even if you feel you can do it all alone, remember that once your startup is up running, and growing you would definitely need more hands and you can surely avoid the chaos later.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
I wouldn’t call these as obstacles but the rood ahead for me is to set up a manufacturing unit, scale/ expand, collaborate, build a team (which is already in process), revamp things a little and get FOAMO to be the next big brand everyone talks about! I guess I really need to pace it up quicker!
6) What habits contribute to your success?
I would say, I am someone who is hard-working, committed (once I make up my mind on doing something I will make sure I complete the task), eager to learn, motivated, planned, creative and a perfectionist.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
If I had the opportunity to start this business again the only thing I would do differently is work on the mistake I made as mentioned above. Definitely hire and train my team before the launch of the brand.
8) What is your favourite book?
My favourite book is – Ikigai. The book is about finding your purpose in life and giving in your 100% to achieve it. Find your passion or that one unique element in your life that would make you jump out of bed each morning!
9) What is your favourite quote?
“Don’t worry about being successful but work towards being significant and the success will naturally follow.”
10) Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration would be my family and friends. As the saying goes “Your vibe attracts your tribe” and I believe in this completely. Surround yourself with people you feel inspired and motivated by and who push you to do better everyday. That is my mantra!
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
For someone just starting out as an entrepreneur, I would say, you got to take the first leap of faith – even if you fail, you would at least not regret the fact that you did not give it a shot! You wouldn’t know how good you are unless you don’t try!
Entrepreneurship is not a comfort zone. You will face numerous hurdles on the way. You will be successful only if you tackle them.
Isha and Siddhi transformed their childhood passion for soaps into a sustainable business model. They successfully found a unique set of customers who bought their products. Now FOAMO-IS is the talk of the town with an expanding customer base.
As they rightly pointed out, you need to take a leap of faith when you’re starting a business. Everything falls in place if you’re focused on providing the best experience for customers.
You can follow FOAMO-IS on Instagram here.