‘To see an idea become a household name is my dream:’ Serial entrepreneur Jessica Jayne on her latest brainchild Pahadi LocalRakhi Chakraborty
Jessica Jayne is unashamed about the failures in her entrepreneurial trajectory. “When I was 21, I launched a magazine that failed miserably. I went on to set up SharkFin, a successful creative merchandising solutions company. I’ve always had a strong sense of design, aesthetic, and fashion and a keen sense for diving deep into production and procurement systems which I have honed over the last few years. SharkFin has catered to some of the best brands in the country and come up with merchandise of unparalleled excellence.”
But with age came maturity and the desire to do something different. Jessica is proud of her accomplishments with SharkFin, but her latest venture is as different as humanly possible from the radical upbeat brand that has been her identity for so long. Pahadi Local, the flagship offering of her newest startup Oros Organic Pvt Ltd is a holistic organic brand catering to the new age consciousness of the informed consumer.She says, “We identify and source interesting and local products from the Himalayas, package and put it together beautifully and retail the goodness of the hills in cities. Behind this simple setup is a stringent program for logistics, quality, packaging, and more. One has to deal with a lot of quality control to maintain purity of the product, registration paperwork and testing, logistics and eventually building a ‘my customer’ experience that is loved by everyone.”
Born and bred in Mumbai, Jessica was a total city girl till she moved to Shimla temporarily and discovered the benefits of ‘Gutti ka tel’ (apricot kernel oil) for herself. “Over time, my sensibility has moved from processed to natural, from blended to pure, and I strive to use products that have the least environmental impact while ensuring the results I desire. When I discovered Gutti Ka Tel – it was magic. I have used it for moisturising, aches and pains, stretch marks, hair oil, and skin irritations. I was amazed at its diverse use, yet exacting results. After immense research, it would be right to say that the oil has some cancer prevention properties as well amongst many more uses. It was clear to me that this fabulous multipurpose oil must be shared with the world.”
Jessica believes the time is ripe for brands like Pahadi Local to dominate the market. She says, “Natural and chemical free products in FMCG and the cosmetic industry are fast becoming the first choice for many consumers. It is almost like a backward integration of sorts; we are all going back to basics and the more simple the product is, the more attractive.”
A ‘hugely successful’ pilot run powers her confidence in this regard. “It lasted for about a year. That’s enough time for me to assess and evaluate consumer needs. So far it has been a very positive experience. I have had a lot of personal support from friends and influencers like MissMalini and Brown Paper Bag who helped spread the good word,” she says.
Pahadi Local is in the process of creating tie-ups to partner with hotels, spas and salons, wellness centres, and stores. “We have a plethora of interest already within our database. It’s time to push the product,” she beams. While there is no doubt that city folks would readily accept an organic and holistic potion from the mountains, would the fragile Himalayan ecosystem be able to withstand the logistical pressure that comes from such demands?
Jessica supplies, “I will ensure that supply chain is prioritised before demand. If at any time we face the problem of any kind of stress or pressure on the fruits of the Pahad, I will personally slow it down. It is my intention to work organically, and ensure that the market and supply chain are balanced.”
She continues, “It may be early stages but we are already investing in CSR. We are also creating employment, helping build infrastructure and to give back we are tied up with an NGO based in Shimla which is dedicated to empowering women and educating children, especially those with special needs.”
Jessica’s different entrepreneurial portfolios facilitates her performance rather than slowing her down. She says, “Each of my companies has a little bit of me – creativity, care, and customer experience, which are the centre pieces of my work.
While the magazine was a little ahead of its time, it was fun and inspiring. It provided a platform to talk about young people doing interesting stuff with their lives.
SharkFin allows me to be creative – from garments to leather bags to even a cool keychain! I’ve been fortunate to work with esteemed companies and amazing people at brands like Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Viacom 18, Rajasthan Royals among others.
Shiny Happy was created because of my fondness for children, and because everyone close to me was having a baby around the same time! The idea of a novelty onesie brand popped up and was superbly executed and well received.
Pahadi Local is the part of me that’s grown up. A sense of maturity and responsibility I’ve finally discovered. I believe it is time to give back in some way, create initiatives that help the customer and the supplier. At Pahadi Local, we are true to the brand name; we source locally and carefully, we are pure, and we ensure that our customers get the goodness of products that urban India has yet to discover but are available in niche areas.”Above all, her dream for Pahadi Local is the same that she’s had for each of her companies when they were first founded: “To see an idea become a household name is my dream. Being able to realise that dream everyday, and to execute this idea as best I can, is the excitement.”