“I would learn from everywhere. I would also speak to clients and they gave me a lot of information on what they used locally here. That is when I also started incorporating ingredients like aloe vera and curry leaves,” says Bindu.
Who wouldn’t want their skin and hair to feel glowy and glossy and that too, not at the cost of the environment and our health? Parabens, artificial fragrance/parfum, sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate . . . are a few of the many chemicals added to our hair and skin products that people have now become aware of. Chemical is definitely out and organic is in!
Want to try Bindu’s all natural, herbal and handmade beauty products? Check out what she has to offer on our shop!
Based on a report by Assocham and Ernst & Young, the current market size of organic beauty products market in India is ₹4,000 crore. The industry has been growing at a CAGR of 25 per cent and it is expected to reach ₹10,000-₹12,000 crore by 2020.
Though #GoOrganic is a somewhat new trend, Bengaluru-based Bindu Mehrotra has been making natural, herbal and organic products since the past 20 years! Bindu is a trained beautician and over the years, scores of women have used her products and also recommended them to their friends and family.
Take the example of Preeti Budhiraja, 54, a homemaker based in JP Nagar who has been using Bindu’s ‘Blend of Herbs’ for over four years now. This oil is a blend of castor and coconut oil with herbs like Bhringraj, Bhahmani, methi seeds, amla, neem and curry leaves
“I had lost a lot of hair after chemotherapy. I knew Bindu because she was running a beauty parlour close to where I live so we became good friends. She asked me to try this hair oil and it worked wonders for me. I continue to use it and it makes my hair grow so fast that I have to go and trim my hair every month now,” she says happily.
How these herbal products are prepared?
Bindu, 58, has been preparing these herbal remedies for over two decades now. She also runs a beauty parlour in Jayanagar where she loves catering to her clientele. Bindu says that growing up in a quintessential Punjabi household exposed her to all kinds of home remedies.
“When we were young, our mothers and grandmothers would make us apply face packs made of gram flour, curd, and egg whites. So, I had some awareness of what is good for the skin,” she says. Bindu uses ingredients like amla, neem powder, methi among several other herbs in her hair oil solutions, which have quite a few takers. Some of her best sellers include the Amla Arctic for a cooling effect, Amla Splash to manage hairfall and the Amla Grapple oil to control dandruff.
Mamta Subramaniam, 45, a homemaker from Bengaluru met Bindu through a common friend. She has been using Bindu’s hair oils since the year 2000, even before they were being sold commercially.
“My husband, our son and I use three different kinds of oil that Bindu sells. The products are really good and I have myself seen her prepare these with natural ingredients with her hands. Another product I love is the almond face pack and it really suits my skin. I have even referred these products to my friends,” shares Mamta.
Bindu still recalls the time when she first started making these products. “Each day was a learning experience for me. I would source everything myself, starting from the bottles to the different seeds and herbs,” she says.
The Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) gave her an opportunity to train in an Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) at the Rudset Institute.
What led to the inception of ‘Bindu’s herbal products’?
Over the past 30 years or so, Bindu has donned many hats. When she moved to Bengaluru from Cuttack with her husband and in-laws in 1990, she knew that completing her education was a priority. “I was only 19 when I got married. After I moved to Bengaluru, I tried to finish college which I had left halfway,” she says.
Bindu then went on to pursue a BA degree via correspondence from the Osmania University. After a teaching stint, she managed the real estate business of her in-laws for over six years.
Resourceful as she was, Bindu would make soft toys in her spare time. “But, because of the recession period, the real estate sector was not doing well at the time and I was more interested to pursue natural beauty care. So, I pursued that instead,” says Bindu. In 1997, Bindu enrolled for a six month beauty course because she was inclined towards learning the art.
Once she had finished her course, Bindu wanted to start her own parlour. “I had three small children at the time and working under someone else would have been difficult for me. That is why I wanted to be my own boss!” she asserts.
Bindu opened her first parlour in 1999 in JP Nagar and managed it for three years and thereafter, she shifted her beauty parlour to Jayanagar where she currently lives. Bindu says that to supplement her knowledge about natural beauty care, she read up a lot about what natural ingredients work and what don’t.
She also adds about how her clients played an important role in the process of transfer of knowledge. “I would learn from everywhere. I would also speak to clients and they gave me a lot of information on what they used locally here. That is when I also started incorporating ingredients like aloe vera, rose water and curry leaves among others,” she said.
Bindu mentions that once she started manufacturing commercially, there were a lot of things that were new and a little difficult for her like applying for licenses. But now her products have Ayush certification.
Another issue that cropped up during this time was the issue of sterilisation. Since she was not using any chemicals or artificial preservatives, they were susceptible to getting spoilt. She then went to Pest Control India’s (PCI) autoclave unit at Peenya.
“I was so worried that all my mixes would go bad. But, they assured me that even ayurvedic medicines are sterilised [autoclave] in this manner and it would only kill the bacteria without affecting the product. I was relieved and this is how my products went on to be packaged later,” she says.
Since she also had to mass produce, she needed access to machines that could powder her dried ingredients. “A lot of people obviously didn’t want to powder neem leaves. Then I would go to Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWAKE) and they had machinery that could be accessed for a nominal fee. Now, I have my own pulverising machine,” she says.
So, what’s next for Bindu now? She says that she will continue to manage her beauty parlour.
“I want my products to be well known. My products are all natural and free of chemicals because of which even dermatologists have recommended my products. I want these pure products to be used by all for self-care,” she says, signing off.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)