These women entrepreneurs are taking Ayurveda to the global market through their products
The practise of Ayurveda has been around for over 6,000 years. Its origins are found in ancient practices in India. Ayurveda has seen a tremendous revival and increase in popularity through various brands that have incorporated them in products in skincare, haircare, food, and more.
According to a ResearchandMarkets.com report, the Ayurveda market in India was valued at Rs 300 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach Rs 710.87 billion by 2024.
With a multitude of benefits, consumers and startup founders are quickly adapting to this market. With an increase in demand for organic and natural products, from big players to new startups, the market is teeming with brands and products.
Here is a look at some women founders who are making their mark in this lucrative market.
Pooja Nagdev, Inatur
Pooja Nagdev started Inatur, a herbal beauty care brand in 2007. Her aim was to challenge the prevailing practice of fake claims, non-disclosure of ingredients, and the use of harsh or banned substances in skincare and haircare products.
The Ayurveda and Aromatherapy Beauty Store combines the knowledge of Ayurveda and natural ingredients with science through its registered trademark manufacturing method - SCINAT (Science and Nature), with a focus on ethical manufacturing. It uses highly recommended organic Ecocert approved ingredients to create a range of gels, emulsions, creams, oils, toners, and packs.
At its flagship stores in New Delhi, Noida, Bengaluru, Pune, and Mumbai, it features India’s first facial only studio called Facials by Inatur.
A self-funded startup, Inatur has a turnover of Rs 90 million and is growing at 30 percent every year. From Tier-I and urban centres in India, the market for Inatur has now expanded to include global territories like the US, Europe, Middle East, and other Asian markets.
Ritika Jayaswal, Nourish Mantra
In 2019, Ritika Jayaswal launched Nourish Mantra, which uses Ayurvedic concepts to create skincare products that are free from harmful ingredients, are ethically sourced, and 100 percent vegan.
Working in New York and concerned by the hectic lifestyle she was leading, Ritika took up Vipassana yoga and went for a 10-day course. During the course, she had an epiphany - outward beauty is a direct reflection of the inner self.
She returned to India, travelled across the country to locate pure yet exotic ingredients for a year, and then to find genuine practitioners to fine-tune the recipes. At the end of 2019, she launched Nourish Mantra in the US. Its formulations primarily include natural and Ayurvedic ingredients like moringa, hemp, Indian ginseng, Gotu Kola, grapeseed oil, etc.
Khushali Vadhar, Divine Aroma
Aiming to popularise more than 6,000-years-old practice of essential oils in Ayurveda, Khushali Vadhar started her essential oils brand Divine Aroma in 2019. She had already seen and researched the popularity of essential oils in the West and decided to give the Indian market a go.
Taking advantage of infrastructure available through her parents’ company that manufactures incense sticks and allied products, Khushali manufactures the essential oils in her family’s manufacturing unit in Bengaluru. Divine Aroma claims to offer 100 percent pure and natural single essential oils and 100 percent natural essential oils blends. Khushali says that the oils are undiluted, chemical and synthetic-free, cruelty-free, and vegan. The products are exported to Europe as well.
Khushali, an avid animal lover, has built an eco-conscious company, which uses recyclable packaging. Ten percent of profits from the brand is devoted to animal welfare.
Vasavdatta Gandhi and Sneha Daftary, SOVA
Sneha Daftary (L) and Vasavdatta Gandhi (R)
Mumbai-based luxury personal care brand SOVA, was founded by designer Vasavdatta Gandhi and her niece Sneha Daftary in January 2018. Vasavdatta’s father-in-law, HI Gandhi was a formulator of allopathic medicines, and in 1999 began studying Ayurveda. He went on to start his own Ayurveda medicines company - Millenium Herbals.
She had been using the shampoos from his lab for several years and realising the power of her father-in-law’s formulations, she decided to turn it into a business.
Mostly an all-women team, SOVA products use plant and other Ayurvedic extracts and oils which are sourced from different parts of India, and proteins are imported from the UK, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
Ridhima Arora, Namhya Foods
Concerned by the lack of nutrition in most packaged foods available today, Ridhima Arora foundedin August 2019 to bridge the gap between tasty food and health, using Ayurveda. The company sold inventory worth Rs 5 lakh in just six months and aims to earn more than Rs 1 crore in revenue next year.
She founded Namhya Foods to explore how food could be combined with Ayurveda to make it more healing and nutritious. It has introduced seven SKUs so far, including Ayurvedic teas with ashwagandha, brahmi, and fresh rose petals; instant breakfast with natural proteins such as sattu nuts; tea for heart ailments; brain foods to satiate evening cravings, among others.
Namhya Foods has its manufacturing facility in Jammu, and it sources all the Ayurvedic herbs and ingredients from around the country. Ridhima claims that the brand does not use any vegetable oils, hidden sugars, preservatives – not even the ‘certified safe’ ones, like sodium benzoate, sulphur dioxide, or any sorbates. Ridhima aims to take the nutritional foods to the international market as well.