Swati Kapoor, 42
Founder, SoulTree, Delhi www.soultree.in
Swati Kapoor and her husband, Vishal started SoulTree, an organic beauty brand, after sensing a lack of genuine natural products in the market. The idea was to offer products that were free of chemicals and carcinogens with an authentic third-party guarantee. Kapoor started the company with her own savings and some from the family.
The brand has hair, skincare and make-up products made from ingredients sourced from Uttarakhand. Kapoor says, “Since we work directly with farmers and NGOs, we know the exact location where each ingredient is coming from.” The ingredients are processed in their factory on the outskirts of Gurgaon. The production is in tandem with the traditional processes prescribed in Ayurveda for preparing herb extractions.
Kapoor believes that there are several brands selling products only on the basis of a few ingredients, leaving room for loopholes. This points to the challenge of being authentic and reliable and not being seen as a quasi-organic brand. SoulTree has the certificate from BDIH Germany which assures that the entire product, and not just the ingredients, are natural.
Whats different: The rose and turmeric face wash is infused with aloe vera and forest honey to provide a natural glow. They follow an unaltered 3,000-yearold traditional recipe using almond, camphor and ghee for preparing kajal.
Stick to these: Kapoor believes that having a healthy mind and soul is the biggest skincare tip she can give. Keeping the skin hydrated by cleaning, toning and moisturising is important. PRICE Rs 350 to Rs 650
By Jagriti Sharma
Bubbles Singh, 62 and Simrita Singh, 35
Co-founders, Just B Au Naturel, Delhi www.justbaunaturel.com
There could be many reasons that make a business work but what makes it special is when empathy meets enterprise. And that’s precisely how the business plan unfolded for natural and organic skincare brand Just B Au Naturel. Bubbles Singh, owner and formulator, remembers how her mother always made her own deodorants.
Toasting success (from left to right) Simrita and Bubbles, mother-daughter duo are making natural ingredients popular. Photo by Vikram Sharma
“She would make me try them and they were all very effective. But she died young and so I never knew any of her recipes. When my friend got breast cancer, and couldn’t use any product, I told her that I’d make her a deodorant that would be effective, all-natural without using toxic chemicals,” she says. Needless to say, a friend in need was the seed that grew into a business that is today 100 per cent chemical free from fillers, talc, sulphates, GMO ingredients, parabens, mineral oils, phthalates, and artificial colours or synthetic fragrances. That was 20 years ago, and the formulation was simplistic, even though it delivered on its promise.
Since then, armed with a degree in skincare formulations from the UK in addition to her pre-med, driven by a passion for all things natural especially bach flower remedies, Singh and the brand have created their own niche, but their probiotic natural deodorant still remains their star product.
The growth: With an initial investment of Rs 20 lakh followed by an injection of another Rs 25 lakh from friends and family in the next three months, the motherdaughter (Simrita) team launched in 2015 and are currently cooking up a storm in their tiny office in Hauz Khas, Delhi, retailing face, hair and bath and body products. While Bubbles, as the formulator, summons a studied and informed wisdom to the brand, Simrita infuses her infectious energy and effervescence to marketing this lowdecibel but hyper efficient brand.
With a limited supply of botanicals, particularly organic and sustainably harvested, sourcing remains one of their biggest challenges. But they have identified some certified organic farms in Haryana and Punjab from where they source, while the manufacturing is done from their factory in Chattarpur. Another problem is the shelf life of their products. In order to ensure that they remain fresh, they make small made to order batches (usually 30 to 50 units at a time).
Future perfect: For a boutique brand that does not cash in on volumes, growth is slow but steady but it doesn’t bother the dynamic duo. They believe that an honest product riding clean values and ingredients will make a mark. The future seems to hark back to the kitchen for the brand as Bubbles hints at some confections of strawberry Kombucha and coconut Keffir. PRICE Rs 470 to Rs 2,200
By Chumki Bharadwaj
Rajni Ohri, 42
Founder, Ohria, Gurgaon www.ohriaayurveda.com
As a child accompanying her parents every year to Rishikesh for their religious trips, Rajni Ohri would spend time learning Ayurveda from a teacher. The more she learnt from him, the more inquisitive she was to know more about this ancient science. It was under his guidance that she learnt how to prepare hair oils, butters and salves, pishti and bhasms.
Go traditional: Ohri believes in following ancient Ayurveda practices for beauty fixes.
The training stayed with her while growing up and inspired her to make her own cream at 12. “Back then, I had no idea that I would utilise these experiments and knowledge, but I kept learning and made notes to save all that from fading from my memory,” says Ohri, who holds a postgraduate degree in design from NIFT Delhi and also learnt aromatherapy from Penny Price, UK. It was this inclination to natural ingredients and Ayurveda which inspired her to come up with Ohria, a self-funded, natural skincare brand earlier this year.
“I kept on experimenting and never put the books down. I would read about natural products whenever I got some free time. I began working on the Ohria range in 2016, and after two years of intensive research, managed to give my teacher’s formulations a deliverable form,” she says.
In sync with nature: With certification from the Ministry of Ayush, the products are free from silicones, sulphates, parabens, heavy metals, mineral oil, synthetic fragrances, colour and pesticides. “The line contains Ayurvedic herbs, essential oils and pure plant extracts which are super foods for the skin and hair,” says Ohri. With the manufacturing plant in Delhi-NCR, all botanical extracts, distillation, titration of herbs and plants are made in-house in Ayurvedic tradition and mantras are chanted during the process.
Beauty from within: Ohria suggests that cosmetics take 26 seconds to go full strength directly in the blood stream. So, think of beauty products not as cosmetics but as food. PRICE Rs 425 to Rs 3,300
By Shelly Anand
Shabia Walia, 43
Founder, Wild Earth, Mumbai www.wildearth.in
A self-made woman, Shabia Walia founded Wild Earth, a natural beauty brand, almost by accident. “My husband once got me a body scrub from Fiji which I eventually ran out of. After hunting a lot for something similar, I came across one but it was ridiculously expensive.” That triggered Walia to create her own coco almond body scrub using brown sugar, almond oil, coco powder and salt particles.
Bright idea: Walia is showing others how to be experimental when it comes to beauty. Photo by Danesh Jassawala
“I made it and took it to my daughter’s school where it was bought by all the mothers in no time. That’s how Wild Earth was born in 2016,” says Walia, a mother of a nine-year old daughter. In no time, she started creating batches of soaps, body butter, body scrubs, lip balms and lip scrubs in her kitchen using essential oils, beeswax and natural food colours. Without any business background or seed funding, her homegrown brand entered the market and in a year’s span, her company recorded an annual turnover of Rs 1.23 crore in 2017-2018.
Wild Earth is Walia’s attempt to provide products using ingredients such as exotic butters, herbs, essential oils, plant derivatives, sandalwood, turmeric, tulsi, honey and milk, sourced from local vendors or imported from Brazil, Spain and Turkey.
The best bet: Wild Earth is for customers wanting to opt for natural, clean and green products without creating a hole in their pocket. PRICE Rs 199 to Rs 850; hampers between Rs 750 and Rs 5,000
By Harshita Das