From Inspiration to Innovation – An exclusive Interview with the Founder of Spicta Oral Care!

Spicta 1

Image used for illustrative purposes only

We believe that the Oral Care category in India is up for disruption. And Spicta is here to do just that! – says Jigar Vachharajani , founder of Spicta. Read on to know more about this fast growing Oralcare brand and their future offerings.

What inspired you to start Spicta oral care brand? Tell us how you began.

Jigar: Over 50mn Indians suffer from bad breath. More than 25mn suffer from the side effects of excessive fluoride consumption. And 9 out of 10 Indians have some or the other kind of Oral Health issue. The reason for poor oral hygiene in India is because Indians do not have access to good quality oral care products – be it fluoride free toothpaste, alcohol free mouthwash, or non-charcoal-based teeth whitening products. With a market potential of $ 10 Bn, there is strong shift in consumer preferences for cleaner, effective and innovative oral care products – we believe that the Oral Care category in India is up for disruption. And Spicta is here to do just that – Provide high quality, safe and effective oral care products that are free from sulphates, parabens, peroxide or any other harmful toxins.

Myself and Kavita Yajnik are management professionals with corporate backgrounds. We founded Spicta in Oct 2022, and got the first round of funding by 100X.VC last Jan.Since then we have increased our online footprint and are available at multiple online channels and have recently started offline as well.

How would you describe the current market landscape for oral care products, and where does Spicta fit into this landscape?

Jigar: The TAM for Spicta is USD 2.5Bn. Based on consumer behavioural segmentation, this includes the categories of Information Seekers (concerned about their overall wellbeing to find better products) and Lifestyle Living Consumers (concerned about overall persona and lifestyle). The size of these segments is ~25Mn, growing @6.5% and having an average annual spend of USD100 in the Oral Care category. The Oral Care category in India is divided into 3 sub-categories: Oral Health (Basic oral care products like toothbrush, toothpaste etc; Oral Hygiene (products like Mouthwash, flosser, Oil Pulling etc and Oral Cosmetics (Advanced Oral Care like Teeth Whitening, Colour Correctors, Aligners etc)

Indian Oral Care market has been limited to Oral Health. Category expansion is long due with growth driven by changing behavioural patterns for Oral Care, more awareness about Oral Hygiene and shift towards natural / chemical free oral care products.

Spicta is the only brand in the Mass-Premium segment in Oral Care with focus on core categories with science and nature backed formulations, along with innovative and refreshing flavours.

Tell us about your distribution strategy?

Jigar: We follow an omni-channel distribution strategy. Although we started as a digital first brand, we realised that oral care is a low involvement category and the products need to be available when customers need them the most. 95% of our revenue still comes from our website & marketplaces. However, we see good potential and growth on quick commerce, Modern-Trade and local supermarkets/Regional Modern Trade Stores.

Waterless Cosmetics

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Can you walk us through Spicta’s product portfolio? 

Jigar: Currently, we have 5 SKUs:

• Cucumber Mint Toothpaste (Fluoride & SLS Free, N-Ha Based)
• Ginger Mint Toothpaste (Fluoride & SLS Free, N-Ha Based)
• Peach Mint Mouthwash (Alcohol Free with Alum)
• Walnut Bark Teeth Whitening Dust (Peroxide Free)
• Lemongrass Mint Tooth Foam (SLS Free)

Innovation is key in the oral care industry. Could you highlight any unique technologies or formulations that Spicta has developed to address consumer needs?

Jigar: Spicta is the only brand in the Mass-Premium segment in Oral Care with focus on core categories with science and nature backed formulations, along with innovative and refreshing flavours.

We are the front-runner in developing innovative and category-first oral care products. Our Lemongrass Mint Tooth Foam is the 1st of a kind product in India and it has shown immense benefits for patients suffering from halitosis (bad breath), braces / orthodontic procedures, and even those who have recovered from certain medical treatments. We continue to invest in developing and launching new age oral care products. 

Our most unique innovation are the flavours that we have selected for each product. All the products come in refreshing flavours & research-backed ingredients, that guarantee an experience that is far superior to any other brand in India. Apart from this, every ingredient selected is backed by science & research. 

We have used ingredients like N-Ha (nano-hydroxyapatite) – a scientifically proven ingredient to help in enamel remineralisation, Hyaluronic Acid, plant-based oils & extracts – like aloe vera, avocado, tea tree oil etc that are clinically proven to improve oral health. 

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Every business face challenges. What obstacles has Spicta encountered, and how have you overcome or mitigated them?

Jigar: Oral Care is still a very low involvement category and there is very limited awareness about oral hygiene in India compared to global standards. For any new brand in this space there is a lot of work needed to educate the customers and explain to them the details of what is wrong with oral care today. Example, all toothpastes contain harmful chemical like SLS, titanium dioxide, sodium benzoate etc which are also used in detergents, cleaning products, paints etc. Even the most popular ‘herbal’ toothpastes contain these chemicals which customers are unaware of.

The category is highly price sensitive; people are ready to spend premium food items, skin care items but are not ready increase spend even 1/10th of that on oral care. However, the category is evolving quite rapidly and consumer behaviour is changing very fast and customers are open to upgrade.

Looking ahead, what are Spicta’s future plans for growth and expansion? Are there any new markets or product lines on the horizon?

Jigar: We have a multiple speciality & innovative oral care product in the pipeline focussing on overall oral hygiene and experience. Additionally, we are also looking to expand our current portfolio with new flavours & benefits. There are quite a few NPDs also that we are working on. The idea is that we continue to invest towards expanding current product lines as well as develop innovative products which solve for deeper oral care issues like halitosis, sensitivity, gum bleeding, enamel erosion – more on the preventive & cosmetic side of oral care & at the same time.

Finally, some trivia –why the name Spicta?

Jigar: The name Spicta is derived from the term ‘Mentha Spicata’ – scientific name for Spear Mint. So that’s how we coined the name – SPICTA. Our products too are the perfect blend of science with modern flavours & premium ingredients that make the oral care an experience to look forward to.

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