Innovation and entrepreneurship are inseparable ingredients of any success story. What happens when you add childhood trauma to the mix? You then get Geetha’s story. Geetha Chiniwalar overcame a turbulent childhood peppered with the early loss of her father to become a business woman in her own right. She founded CosMyTick, a boutique brand of personal care products. Over lemon tea and cookies, Geetha shares with HerMoneyTalks her mesmerizing story and the secret sauce for running a performing business.

Geetha is an MBA graduate with more than two decades of operational and finance experience in MNCs. She is also a first generation woman entrepreneur born and brought up in Bangalore.

CosMyTick is a manufacturer and supplier of specially formulated cosmetics and personal care products. Their skin and hair care products are enriched with natural essential oils and herbals. The company’s customer-centric approach and transparent business dealings have made them a showstopper.

Making up for fate’s shortcomings

Geetha started her career at the age of 17 with the help of her mother’s friends because of some financial constraints. On course to join Seva Sadhan for her future studies, a chance occurrence changed the entire trajectory of her life. A friend of her mother, Mrs. Sukanya, got her the opportunity to work and study as well.

Geetha began her career in AstraZeneca as a front office receptionist. “I would like to thank Dr. S. Anand Kumar, Mrs. Sukanya’s brother and Director of AstraZeneca Research Foundation India, Bangalore, Mrs. Kumud Sampath, Head of Operations at AstraZeneca, and Mrs. Shalini Charles (Head of Front Office) for helping me become what I am today.”

I would like to thank Dr. S. Anand Kumar, Director of AstraZeneca Research Foundation India, Bangalore, Mrs. Kumud Sampath, Head of Operations at AstraZeneca, and Mrs. Shalini Charles (Head of Front Office) for helping me become what I am today.

She then pursued distance education for her Bachelor’s degree and Master degree in Commerce from Mysore university. She also did her MBA from IIBM Institute of Business Management, Meerut, while on the job.

Geetha gleaned vast experience working at Astrazeneca India Private Limited, IBM Bangalore, and PharmaLeaf India Private Limited, working as Junior Assistant Manager, Global Reporting Manager, and later as Senior Manager Finance.

Blending the right mix for a personal care products business

While working for a multinational company, the increased workload induced work–life imbalance and emotional stress in Geetha’s life. It was then that Mr. Sridhar Rao, an expert in Perfumery and Cosmetics, recommended aromatherapy oils to soothe her disturbed mind.

Seeing the genuine and realistic effects that these oils had, I began my journey with COSMYTICK.

This literally changed her life. Geetha felt the zest for life once again, with a long list of family and friends asking for products that would help them as well!

“Seeing the genuine and realistic effects that these oils had, I began my journey with COSMYTICK,” beams Geetha. Her ability to understand her potential as well as her limitations drove her to become an entrepreneur. Geetha began her entrepreneurial journey in 2014 from scratch. In her own kitchen, she started formulating and manufacturing some personal care products.

Fanning away the pungent odor of business challenges

If innovation and entrepreneurship sound glamorous, a great leveller would be business challenges. Selection of vendors of essential oils, proper blending of these oils to have a good effect on skin and hair, regular quality tests, packaging and labelling, and branding were Geetha’s biggest challenges initially.

“These were compounded by other challenges like balancing client service, sales, and leveraging network,” reveals the feisty businesswoman.

“Developing trust between workers and business partners, creating awareness among customers regarding the benefits of essential oils, meeting of deadlines, and getting manpower were really hectic during the initial phase,” adds Geetha.

Time management was another secret ingredient Geetha used to good effect, in addition to her skill in innovation and entrepreneurship. To overcome time management problems, Geetha prefers to prioritize both personal and official works, stick to her commitments, and devote weekends for family time.

Developing trust between workers and business partners, creating awareness among customers regarding the benefits of essential oils, meeting of deadlines, and getting manpower were really hectic during the initial phase.

“While manufacturing a product, financial decisions are a must and needs proper analysis of raw material cost to become established. Startup costs and preoperative costs are unanticipated, hence decision making is very crucial in business life,” avers Geetha wisely.

Where the scent of future business is wafting

Today, Geetha owns a small manufacturing unit today at Hebbal, Bangalore. CosMyTick has also launched a unique brand, COSMYRA and their bestselling products include a Transparent Bathing Bar with pure essential oils for all skin types, Sulfate & Parabens-free Conditioning Shampoo, Face wash with Tea Tree essential oil, Natural Lip Balms and Herbal Hair Oils.

My advice is to focus and have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish as an entrepreneur on the areas in which your company creates value and make customers happy.

Inspiringly, Geetha and her company have won 3 MSME Awards, 10 State Awards, and 2 National Awards. Her future plans are to develop hormone balancing blends of aromatherapy oils and incorporate them to her natural formulations. Thus, she stands today as an icon of innovation and entrepreneurship.

She also plans to go overseas with products based on mood enhancing technology, increase her range of products for everyone to avail benefits of essential oils, and provide employment to farmers by extracting essential oils from crops that yield essential oils.

Money lessons from a master crafter

While managing her company, Geetha learnt to manage finances as well as a pro herself. Manufacturing products at affordable rates without compromising the quality, rolling of funds to execute the orders, product pricing, budgeting, maintaining positive cash flows – all lent her valuable experience in the art of managing money.

She shares a few timeless tips for budding businesswomen:

(1) Make proper budget plans

(2) Always ensure Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place to manage finances

(3) Figure out the high value activities to minimize costs

(4) Use interesting or unique people management methods

(5) Think big and spend small

With an optimistic attitude in accepting both victories and failures, Geetha has won various awards and recognitions during her tenure. Married to C S Chiniwalar, she is also the mom of her daughter, Harshitha, a merit student in B.Tech (Cosmetic Technology), who is pursuing her MBA in Edinburgh .

Geetha winds up her story on a profound note: “My advice is to focus and have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish as an entrepreneur on the areas in which your company creates value and make customers happy.”