In this special interview, we meet Akanksha and Tanay Sharma, the founders of CITTA, a brand that makes special stuff for babies’ skin and bath time. These two, along with their mom, Monisha Sharma, decided to make something that combines old Indian ways with new science to take good care of babies’ skin. They believe that every baby should feel as loved and cared for as they did when their grandmas looked after them.
Their products are gentle and safe, and they want to share the love they have for babies with parents everywhere. They also care a lot about the Earth and being honest with people, which is why they’re open about what they put in their products. In this interview, we’ll learn about their journey and what makes CITTA so special.
An introduction to the founder
Born and brought up in a business-oriented family, entrepreneurship was common in Akanksha and Tanay Sharma’s lives. Turning their qualms into wins and taking an evolutionary approach to succeed in this David & Goliath scenario, at this young age, Akanksha and Tanay co-founded CITTA with their mother, Monisha Sharma. They are testaments to the precious connection between a mother and her children. This dynamic mother-daughter-son trio co-founded CITTA with the belief that every child deserves to feel the endless love of a grandmother. While Akanksha and Tanay had the wholesome, grounding experience of being cared for by their grandmothers, not every child today has that privilege. CITTA’s goal is to bridge the gap between Indian traditions and science and create skincare products that are the best of both worlds. They want to provide babies with that nourishing experience so that one day, they will remember the fragrance of CITTA just as fondly as they reminisce about the aroma of their grandma’s hands.
What inspired you to start Citta in baby bath care and skincare?
When I was studying in the U.S., my mom and grandma used to call and check up on me regularly, like most Indian moms, and offer their advice in the form of ‘nuskhe’ — drink turmeric milk before you sleep for healthy skin, use rosewater when you’re out in the sun, oil your hair with coconut oil before you wash them! This was their way of caring for me, even though we were a thousand miles apart. These ‘nuskhe’ are based on Indian traditions and ingredients that we Indians have been using for thousands of years; it is time-tested wisdom that works! I wanted everyone to experience the love and care that I was fortunate enough to experience.
Also, around the same time, a famous baby care brand came under fire for using unsafe ingredients in their baby powder. It was a big deal; I knew so many friends and family back in India who were loyal to that brand and using this product for their babies! This incident gave me and my mom the final push to create a safer brand for babies, and that is how we started CITTA.
How does Citta balance tradition and science in its product development?
CITTA seamlessly blends tradition and science in product development, carving a distinct path in baby skincare while yielding innovative solutions. Drawing from our rich traditional heritage and infusing it with scientific rigour, we craft products designed to simplify the lives of modern parents while prioritizing their child’s skin health. We carefully curate ingredients and formulate products that fuse heritage with cutting-edge research, and we found a unique balance that bridges the gap between tradition and science. Our formulations harness the power of natural ingredients to address the specific needs of delicate newborns, toddlers, and children’s skin. Our approach mirrors the wisdom of our grandmothers, viewing ingredients through a multifaceted lens and ensuring they cater to diverse skin issues, types, and ages. For instance, coconut oil, not only nourishes but also offers antibacterial properties, addressing various skin concerns. Efficacy and safety remain our guiding beacons, fostering lifelong skincare habits from infancy and ensuring that the next generation grows up with healthier skin, a testament to CITTA’s profound impact.
Citta’s products are suitable for a wide age range. What makes them work for both children and teenagers?
CITTA’s products offer a skincare solution that transcends age boundaries, catering to children and teenagers alike. Our approach to skincare is rooted in the understanding that our skin is our body’s largest organ and deserves attention from the beginning of life. By introducing CITTA into the skincare routines of babies and children, we pave the way for a lifetime of healthier skin. Our product formulations are the result of extensive research, striking the perfect balance between tradition and science to provide a nurturing, safe, and effective skincare experience.
One of our core principles is to keep away toxic ingredients, ensuring that our products are safe for even the most sensitive newborn skin. What’s safe for a baby’s skin is unequivocally safe for individuals of all ages. CITTA’s formulations address skincare concerns at their root, making them suitable for users across various age groups. For instance, our Moisturizing Balm, with its innovative zero-water formula, effectively combats skin dryness. It’s as gentle and effective on a baby’s delicate skin as it is on an adult’s, a testament to our commitment to all-encompassing skincare solutions.
CITTA’s products stand as a testament to our unwavering dedication to nurturing, safe, and enduring skincare, making them the ideal choice for a wide age range, from infancy to adolescence.
Can you highlight some natural ingredients used in Citta products and their benefits for children’s skin?
CITTA’s baby skincare products are crafted with a deep commitment to harnessing the power of natural ingredients for the delicate skin of our little ones. Among the carefully selected components, Coconut oil, a wonder oil, not only deeply moisturizes and nourishes the skin and scalp but also boasts anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, making it ideal for treating acne and preventing skin infections. Almond oil, another key ingredient, provides profound moisturization, preventing dryness and soothing sensitive skin. Its gentle touch helps combat conditions like eczema and cradle cap, promoting better sleep for your baby.
Oats bring their anti-inflammatory and exfoliating prowess, making them an excellent choice for soothing diaper rashes and sunburned skin while promoting healthy hair growth. Aloe Vera, with its soothing and moisturizing properties, further aids skin healing and provides natural conditioning for the hair and scalp.
Corn starch keeps diaper areas dry, soothes skin irritations, and absorbs excess sweat. It’s a cool and soothing ingredient for minor skin discomfort. Olive oil adds hydration and relief for inflammatory skin, reducing itching and frizz in hair, and turmeric oil’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties help combat infections and even skin tone.
All these natural ingredients, including others like sunflower oil, castor oil, basil oil, shea butter, brahmi oil, ashwagandha oil, etc., work in synergy to keep your baby’s skin safe and nourished while ensuring that CITTA’s baby skincare products are a comprehensive solution for the unique needs of children’s skin.
Tell us about the #BabiesCantMakeRightChoiceButYouCan campaign and its message to parents and caregivers.
The tagline says it all! Babies really cannot make the right choices — they will happily eat dirt if left on their own, right? But parents — they are the ones who can consciously make good choices for their babies. Through this ad campaign, we wanted to tell parents how choosing CITTA would be the right choice for their child’s skincare. Our products are made with the highest quality natural ingredients and are free from harsh chemicals like talc, parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, allergens, and toxins. They are dermatologically tested and approved to assure safety and quality, and every parent should choose wholesome, safe wellness for their baby.
How does Citta ensure the highest quality and safety standards in product manufacturing?
At CITTA, we prioritize the utmost quality and safety in every step of our product manufacturing process. Our commitment begins with carefully selecting ingredients, all of which are rigorously vetted and certified by reputable organizations such as Eco-Cert, COSMOS, and the FDA. These ethically sourced components are processed in meticulously maintained, hygienic environments that adhere to stringent Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards. As a cruelty-free brand, we uphold the ethical values that every product should embody. Before reaching the market, each product formulation undergoes rigorous quality checks to ensure it meets our standards, particularly when catering to the delicate skin of infants. Our formulations draw from time-honoured traditional practices from across India, which have stood the test of centuries, combined with the expertise of medical professionals to create innovative and safe solutions. These dermatologist-approved products embody a harmonious blend of natural wisdom and scientifically endorsed, high-quality, naturally derived ingredients. We firmly believe that no parent should ever have to compromise when it comes to their baby’s skincare, and we work tirelessly to ensure that they don’t have to.
Have you received any memorable client testimonials showcasing Citta’s positive impact?
CITTA has indeed left a lasting positive impact on countless individuals, as reflected in the heartwarming testimonials we’ve received. Our dedication to promoting healthy skin from an early age has not gone unnoticed. Parents have shared how CITTA’s products have transformed their children’s skincare routines, ensuring they grow up with radiant and resilient skin. Moreover, the emotional connection to our Indian heritage resonates deeply with our customers, as they appreciate how CITTA products are a bridge to cherished dadi-nani traditions. These testimonials reaffirm our mission to nurture healthier skin and cultural bonds, making each truly memorable.
What’s Citta’s vision for the future in the baby care and skincare industry?
CITTA’s vision for the future in the baby care and skincare industry is encapsulated in the mantra, “Good for your kids and babies, good for the planet.” Our commitment to sustainability shines through in every aspect of our operations. From ethically sourced ingredients to eco-friendly packaging and cruelty-free formulations, we ensure that our products are not only safe for your little ones but also kind to the environment. CITTA aims to expand its presence across India through General Trade and Modern Trade channels while focusing on educating healthcare professionals about the products. With an eye on international markets, we aspire to become a leading Baby Bath and skincare brand, drawing strength from our Indian heritage and scientific foundation. CITTA also envisions a future in the adult skincare and women’s beauty segments, with plans to establish experiential stores nationwide. This journey embodies the fusion of tradition and science, paving the way for a sustainable and holistic approach to skincare.
Any advice for parents on choosing the right skincare products for their children?
We want every child to experience the nourishing care and wisdom of a grandmother. Indian traditions are a treasure trove of time-tested solutions. We back these traditions with rigorous science to give you the best of both worlds. We understand the paramount importance of choosing the right skincare products for your children and we believe everyone deserves to know exactly what they are putting on their skin, which is why we are 100% transparent about our ingredients.
A few tips that might help you choose the right skincare product for your little ones:
Prioritize products that are gentle, allergen-free, and free from harsh chemicals. Always read ingredient labels and opt for natural formulations whenever possible. Keep your child’s specific skin type and any sensitivities in mind when making your selection. Regular moisturization is key to healthy skin. Remember, your child’s skin is delicate, and CITTA is committed to providing safe, nurturing products for your little ones.
What core values does Citta embody in caring for children’s skin?
At CITTA, our core values in caring for children’s skin are deeply rooted in tradition and supported by scientific rigour. We’ve crafted CITTA to be a brand that parents can trust wholeheartedly when it comes to their baby’s skin health. We’re committed to bridging the gap between age-old Indian traditions and modern science, providing the best of both worlds. Our mission is to offer genuine care and love to every child, akin to the nurturing touch of a grandma. Our product formulations draw inspiration from the time-honoured remedies of our dadi-nani, featuring familiar ingredients like turmeric, coconut, almond, and aloe vera, instead of foreign, unfamiliar ones. We believe in caring for your baby’s skin just as your grandma would. We understand the challenges new parents face, and we strive to make our products as convenient as possible, alleviating at least one of their worries. Transparency is a key element of our care; that’s why we list all our ingredients on our product labels. With CITTA, you can trust that we have nothing to hide and that our commitment to your child’s well-being is unwavering.
Akanksha and Tanay Sharma’s journey with CITTA is a heartwarming example of how love, tradition, and new ideas come together in the world of baby care and skincare. Their brand acts as a link between the wisdom of Indian grandmas and the latest scientific knowledge, offering parents a reliable and clear choice for their little ones. CITTA is all about quality, safety, and taking care of the planet. As they keep growing, their goal to provide safe and lasting skincare solutions for babies remains strong, making sure every child can enjoy the love of a grandma through CITTA’s gentle products.