Founder and CEO at Deconstruct Malini Adapureddy’s inspiration behind Deconstruct was a mix of both business and personal experiences. Her personal motivation was fuelled by the ambiguous marketing manners of most skincare brands being sold in the country, which she found archaic and demeaning.
“As a consumer, I wasn’t happy with their results due to the lack of innovation in these products or the industry at large. I was worn out by their ‘fairytale marketing’ and wanted to build a brand that I could identify with and trust, and so could its customers,” she says.
From the business perspective, she observed that the Indian skincare market was flooded with the concept of natural and ayurvedic products. “Most products were being sold with assumptions, without the logic being told about their ingredients and chemical compositions. People were made to believe that everything natural is good. So I decided to build a brand that provides evidence for every claim it makes,” she says.
Having worked in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries, including Flipkart, Proctor and Gamble and Kraft-Heinz, for almost a decade, Adapureddy was already actively engaged in market research and development of products and this led her to invest in this massive opportunity.
She undertook primary research and spoke to over 500-600 women on products they would like to have in the market in the personal care and beauty space, their preference of the skincare product branding, and the preferred product category.
Deconstruct is primarily a science-based skincare brand for the knowledge economy that focuses on educating consumers and bringing transparency in the skincare system, she says.
At Deconstruct, the team provides evidence for every claim they make and operates with the motto of ‘information over impulse’.
“What sets us apart is that while our product formulations are highly effective in driving results, the addition of certain ingredients ensures that they are perfectly gentle on the skin as well, which makes us ‘Highly Effective Yet Gentle’.”
Speaking about the company’s business model, the IIT Kharagpur engineering graduate says that it is purely digital-first or D2C. Currently, it’s an online enterprise available on over 15 platforms including leading e-commerce platforms such as Myntra, Flipkart, Nykaa, Amazon, Purple, Vanity Wagon, Sublime Life, Big Basket and more, apart from its own website. “We offer cash on delivery, prepaid as well as interest-free instalment options. In the coming years, we plan to expand to the offline/retail approach.”
Earlier in July 2021, the company raised a total of $4,00,000 from Bee Next Ventures backed by marquee angels and investors such as Binny Bansal.
In August 2022, the company raised $2 million in seed fund from Kalaari Capital’s flagship programme CXXO and Beenext. The capital is being utilised for research and product development, innovation and expansion, hiring and marketing initiatives.
In the coming months, the startup intends to increase its product range within skincare and adjacent categories, giving consumers greater choice, while also exploring international markets such as the UAE and Southeast Asia. The company’s current valuation is Rs 75 crore.
According to Allied Market Research, the Indian skincare market size was valued at $2,478.4 million in 2017, and is projected to reach $5,033.7 million by 2027, registering a CAGR of 9.5% from 2021 to 2027.
Talking about the startup’s future plans, she says, “We are planning to solidify our reach beyond the tier 1 cities, to the masses, as well as expand to new geographies overseas, as we receive frequent queries from the USA, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the UK, etc. The goal is to continue to launch innovative brands suiting the evolving consumer need and hit a topline of Rs 200 crore in the next couple of years.”
She also aims to expand the team in the near future. “Currently, we are a team of around 25 people, we plan to increase that to more than 40 in the next 3-4 months,” she says.
The team consists of professionals from diverse domains, such as research, engineering, marketing and operations and 70% of the team members are women, just like the company’s consumers.
However, there are multiple challenges being a woman founder because the market is not as open, she says. “In most of the paths I have chosen in life, I was in the minority. Even in IIT, it was 700 men and 45 women, but that did not stop me, and it has given me a more well-rounded approach as to how to tread the right path. Even today, I am one of the few female founders and also a single founder.”
Her advice to young entrepreneurs is to be determined about what they want to achieve. “Hard work is the key, but what is also important is determination with patience. The journey of entrepreneurship can be a tiring, challenging and tough one but it is very important that you trust yourself throughout the process and go easy on yourself. Make sure you are patient, since it is also a time taking process. It is very important to be decisive and emotionally aware in any given situation.”
While she is of the opinion that anyone who wants to innovate and make a change will have to face some level of adversity, she says, “Now if being a woman brings an added layer of adversity, that is quite sad, but true.” She believes that every woman who is driving change should definitely try to bring down these adversities and pave the way for more women to achieve things without having to face the same challenges.
“We need more stories of role models who have gone that path and faced the adversities upfront, in order to instill courage and motivate people,” she says.