Just like every brand has a distinct logo that sets it apart from the competition and, when done well, communicates the very essence of what the brand stands for, Rupal Tyagi, aromatherapist, perfumier and entrepreneur, seeks to imbibe brands with their own scent as well. And not only brands, Rupal has the answers to all your aromatic needs as well.
Driven by passion and her thirst for knowledge about essential oils and scents, Rupal gained professional training and used that training to build Wikka in 2015.
Her Story caught up with her to know more about her journey, the art of aromatherapy and the business of mixing oils and creating scents.
From finishing school to Miss Personality
Though born in New Delhi, Rupal shifted to Nagpur as a child, and attended a Parsi school with a highly disciplined environment. Since it was more like a finishing school for girls, Rupal picked up a host of skills including painting, embroidery, debating, and party hosting etiquette. The skills came in handy later in life when she aced debating competitions and even got selected as Miss Personality – Nagpur in 1997.
She went on to complete her graduation in Computer Science in 1998 and a PGD in 1999. With software engineering as her speciality, she went on to work with an MNC in the field of software marketing.
The millennial wedding and royal lineage
Given that both she and her husband were in the software sector, they decided to get married in the millennial year. “It was important to us, so we decided to mark it with our wedding,” she says.
Married into a family with royal lineage, a family that traces its roots to Raja Hamir from Ranthambore, Rupal got exposure to regal traditions and beauty secrets that she says “had changed little over centuries in our household, where simple natural products were used in grooming and maintenance.”
Regular visits to family owned aromatic plantations and mango orchards increased her interest in aromatherapy and led her to study the subject in detail in London. “The study involved the understanding of the human anatomy and physiology in detail. Essential oils are of great therapeutic value and each of the oils has an effect on various parts and organs of the body. How to create a correct synergistic blend that heals the body and appeases the mind at the same time was what I understood and developed with time and practice.”
Healing through aromatherapy
She came back from London and decided to be an aromatherapist. Aromatherapy is an ancient form of healing which uses essential oils that are extracted from plants, herbs, trees and flowers. “One or more essential oils can be blended in a base oil that is cold pressed nut, fruit or vegetable oils. These blends are used to give therapy either by way of massage application or inhalation,” shares Rupal.
Rupal had started blending oils in 2005-2006 but opened her Aromatherapy clinic in 2008. Though the response she received was good, she had to spend time educating people.
“The scent and the breeze from these aromatic plantations was charming enough to pull me into this field and make me study it extensively. To understand the healing powers of these essential oils was quite overwhelming and that made me take up the profession,” she says.
There are a variety of ailments that can be healed through the application of aromatherapy and a lot of research has also been done on the subject, Rupal points out. Aromatherapy is helpful in relieving stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, PMS, fibromylgia, improving blood circulation, digestion issues, body pain, sports injury, migraine and day to day problems such as acne, sun damaged skin, dermatitis, alopecia in women, hair fall and other lifestyle diseases according to her.
Aromatherapy has been accredited and recognised as an alternate healing with dedicated educational institutions that teach this form of healing both in the US and Europe. “However, in the context of India, it is now gaining popularity, as people are better travelled and informed,” says Rupal.
As Rupal’s clinic and her work were noticed, she was approached regarding the introduction of aromatherapy healing in some of the spas run by the Mayar Group including the spa at The Ashok.
In 2015 she started Wikka, an exclusive line of aromatherapy based wellness and beauty products. “A majority of the essential oils used in our personal care products, fragrances and perfumes are sourced from our own and associated plantations. This ensures that there is no compromise on the quality of ingredients that are being used in our products. Few ingredients are imported directly from the source. We have a very extensive range of exotic essential oils and ingredients that we use in our perfumes and personal care products,’ explains Rupal.
One of the primary challenges in this industry is the availability of pure essential oils. “For the desired theraputeic benefits of this alternate form of healing, the purity of the oil is a must. Adulterated essential oils will not give you the same effect and this is a major reason people’s trust in aromatherapy fades,” she says.
A scent to remember
The Wikka team comprises 15 members. At present, they are offering their services in seven cities across India and are expected to cover fifteen cities by the end of this year. They have started a fragrance solutions vertical as well. “The major thought behind this was to create a unique experience for the user as well as a distinct scent for the brand. Rupal shares the concept, “We thought why not create an atmosphere where a shopper/customer relaxes while she/he shops or enjoys her/his stay in a restaurant/mall. It was all about giving your customer a different experience through the power of smell, a fragrance that adds to the Visual Merchandising and makes your client stay longer at your place. We call it scent marketing wherein once a customer walks in, it is but imperative to ensure that they enjoy the first encounter with the store both visually and scent wise.”
They also plan to introduce an Indian Luxury perfume range created from exotic essential oils and ingredients sourced from India and other parts of the world. “It is an amalgamation of ancient Indian knowledge of perfume making with the contemporary practices followed in the world today. By this we intend to recreate the essence of ancient Indian perfumes to be used by this generation and beyond,” she says.
The secret to a good scent is your nose. You may like some perfumes and may dislike others. “A good scent for me is a mix of spicy, woody and floral which makes for a very exotic note,” says Rupal about her favourite scent.
“But a synergistic blend of right ingredients used in correct proportions gives a smell to savour for a period of time,” she reveals.
Rupal also provides bespoke perfume. “Every person has a different personality. Their tastes, likes, dislikes are unique. We have a session with our clients where we understand these unique personality traits and according to their answers, we make them smell a few combinations. This starts the process of creating a Bespoke Perfume for them.”
Rupal has great plans for Wikka in the coming years. It is her passion that drives the business and she loves to receive acceptance and positive feedback from her clients. It is one of the things that keep her motivated. To see her work impact people, to create unique scents and to indulge her passion keeps her excited, energised and motivated.