Phool-proof: Meet Jhelum Bose who taps into flower power for beauty and health
We often hear ailments becoming the catalyst for seeking a better life, but it is seldom that we come across someone so passionate that they turn their malady into a business.
Meet Jhelum Biswas Bose, founder, of Bach Flower remedies-based beauty brand Jhelum Loves and author of Phoolproof: Indian Flowers, their Myths, Traditions and Usage.
Jhelum’s tryst with Bach Flower remedies began with a chance administration of a couple of floral remedies by a friend to help her overcome a prolonged cold along with breathing troubles. “As I recovered, I began wondering about this mystery medication that had worked wonders for my condition,” tells Jhelum. “After this incident I began looking deeper into the world of alternate healing,” says Bose, who was a former beauty editor with Harper’s Bazaar magazine and has also enjoyed a stint as the marketing head in Delhi for the French multinational chain Sephora.
“After taking a sabbatical due to ill health, I began creating content for brands and also launched Beautybeats.in, an interactive platform with wellness experts, dermatologists and nutritionists as contributors with a renewed focus on my career,” says Jhelum, who then on the insistence of her family took off to London to pursue a course in makeup basics from the University of Arts London, even though in her mind, it wasn’t her calling.
Where it began
Jhelum got lucky when she chanced upon a Bach flower remedies programme from Ainsworths, which was being taught down the street. She signed up for it immediately. Bach Flower Remedies are a set of 38 remedies based on flower essences that comprise a complete system of alternative healing, for a particular characteristic or emotional state of a person. These were discovered by Dr Edward Bach in the 1930s in England.
“That weekend course changed my life and my outlook towards myself,” says Jhelum who tried and tested Bach flower remedies on herself to heal several persistent health hiccups like back pain problems, anger, chronic cold and breathing issues. “I used to have this frequent twitching in my fingers and on the very first day of the course, my teacher offered the aspen treatment for unknown fears. Miraculous as it sounds, by evening, the twitching was gone," she shares about one such incident.
Flowers are the perfect antidote for stress
“I started looking inwards and observed every emotion and incident that affected my mood and health. In doing so, I also found my calling to learn and practise Bach flower therapy,” adds Jhelum, who counts upon flowers as the perfect antidote to the stress and ailments of daily rigour.
Upon her return to Delhi, she was once scouting for a moisturiser without added fragrance to test some Bach flower products and she could find none.
“I ditched the plan and went ahead and added my Bach flower tinctures to a simple face mist along with carefully sourced essential oils to test its effects upon myself,” reveals Jhelum, who went on to complete her Bach flower therapy certifications to be able to work professionally, and help those around her.
“My friends tried my products and were very happy with their effects, encouraged me to sell my range of beauty products,” tells Jhelum.
Fable of Five
Soon, she started selling them through her website, Jhelumloves.com upon investing less than 10,000 INR for bottling, packaging and hand-written labels.
Now, she also offers therapies based on consultations to her patrons in Bengaluru, Delhi, and Kolkata apart from the products on her website. Her signature range of fragrances is called fable of five, which is based on various points in time in her life. There's Petrichor, Saudade, Flambé, Cafuné, and Fanaa.
Her personal favourite from the range is Saudade, a heady mix of Jasmine, Sandalwood, Neroli and a hint of Myrrh, about which she tells, "It is the scent of longing, a fragrance which reminds me of the city close to me, Kolkata.”
A book deal
As an organic next step, she put her knowledge together to pen a powerhouse of a book, Phoolproof: Indian Flowers, their myths, traditions.
The book, published by Penguin India, tells about Indian flowers, myths surrounding them, traditions and usage, which have lost some sheen due to the fondness for imported flowers.
Now based in Bengaluru, Jhelum has also collaborated with the city-based Sabrina Suhail, to launch a line of lipsticks, inspired by her personal favourite desi flowers, Gulab, Genda, Aparajita and Kagaz phool.
An ardent proponent of flowers, Jhelum recommends using them in daily life. “I would be really happy if people see the use of flowers beyond ornamental purposes. I use Jasmine petals in black tea, and brew marigold flowers with my mulled wine. Coming from a Bengali household, we have always consumed flower-based fritters such as pumpkin and banana,” she says.
Next on the mind of the flower lady is to set up a flagship store for her products and a place for like-minded people to come together, discuss, exchange ideas, and hold events.