Meet The Maker : Ollie
Leaving behind her day job to pursue entrepreneurship, Rithika, founder of Ollie, has shown us how her passion for essential oils has grown over the years as she pathed her way into Ollie, giving us all the natural goodness that mother earth has in store for us.
Read on as Rithika shares more about her entrepreneurial journey!
Rithika Gupta, Founder of Ollie
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your journey to owning your own business/brand.
After completing my undergraduate and post-graduate studies in Computer Science and Networks, I started my professional career in the technology division of a global investment bank. After a few years of learning the corporate ropes and with a persistent urge to do something more exciting, my partner and I started a wood fired pizza place in Bangalore, India, at a time when wood fired ovens were uncommon. Fast forward to a couple of years after, we sold and wrapped up the restaurant, and I was ready for my next adventure.
This adventure turned out to be in the family business – the business, at that time, was going through a very low phase. So, in 2014, I set up my essential oils wholesale business in Singapore, and shortly after, moved here with my family – husband, and two fur babies. It took me a few years to learn about this whole new exciting world and get comfortable with it. The more I learnt, the more I fell in love with it. I wanted to do more than just manufacture and manage B2B trade, and so in late 2019, I created the brand, Ollie, with the intention of sharing the joy of natural living and helping people better harness the power of essential oils in their day to day life.
2. What is the first item you created? What was the story behind it?
While Ollie was launched with 100% pure essential oils, I consider the bug spray to be the first item we created. A few years back, at home. My husband and I love our long walks with the doggies. We wanted to continue having them without getting bitten by all sorts of bugs or having to use chemical based repellents. So, we began researching and experimenting on ourselves. We kept changing the formula - adding to it, removing from it, for over a year until we were finally happy with the result. We then got our close friends and family from different parts of the world to try it out in their various environments, and the feedback has been extremely positive and encouraging! In fact, our two-year-old loves it too :)
3. What are some problems you have faced when creating a brand?
To be honest, creating a brand turned out to be much harder than I originally anticipated. Having worked in the B2B space over the last five years, I was confident about the product and procurement aspect but I grossly underestimated other critical aspects involved in creating a brand – design, packaging, brand image, perception & positioning. It’s safe to say I’m still learning and will continue to, for a long time.
4. What was the most heartwarming comment that you have received for your business?
A customer told me that she hoped her daughter would grow up to be like me! It is the nicest and most humbling comment I have received!
5. How did you envision your brand in shaping the world around you?
Ollie was born out of our overwhelming need to make a small contribution towards enabling a circular economy. The fundamental pillars of Ollie, as a brand, lie in its product and quality, design and packaging, and green and sustainable sourcing. We place very high importance on brand ethics and believe in open communication – no greenwashing, maintaining transparency with our customers and sharing information, ideas, recipes as much as possible. Ollie aims to create essential oil based natural and holistic lifestyle products with a promise to reducing dependency on nasty chemicals in our day-to-day lives.
6. What is the greatest lesson you have learnt while building your business?
There is no replacement for hard work. There are no shortcuts to success.
7. What wise words do you have for people who want to start their own business?
Follow your passion by all means – but also be realistic. Do your research, work out the details and understand your audience. Don’t get me wrong – it’s very important to dream and it’s very important to be passionate, for it's that passion that will carry you through good times and bad. But have your feet firmly planted on the ground, so you will know when to march forward versus when to pull the plug.
8. How do you feel the Naiise Marketplace can help sellers with their business?
Naiise Marketplace is a wonderful platform to find aesthetically pleasing and well-designed everyday products at reasonable prices. They help small businesses and designers find an audience for their products so that the creators can focus on creating while Naiise Marketplace manages the selling and all things marketing. As someone who has met the team, I can tell you that they are a group of young, energetic, friendly and lovely people that are fun to work with!