In 2015, Aishwarya Ravi’s baby developed skin rashes after using over-the-counter products such as shampoos and soaps. While the products were meant for newborn babies, her daughter’s skin was reacting negatively to them.
“Seeing my baby’s skin develop angry red rashes was a moment of panic for me,” Aishwarya, a 29-year-old resident of Bengaluru, tells The Better India. “I rushed her to the paediatrician, who asked me to stop using any products on her.”
Aishwarya’s daughter was diagnosed with an allergy to branded products, and the doctors believed it was one of the chemicals in the ingredients that had caused the reaction on her skin. “He also said I should not bathe her with soap for a few weeks and instead give her only towel baths. However, I knew I couldn’t go on that way for more than a few days.” she notes.
A skin-friendly solution
Wanting to give her daughter an alternative to bathing products that would be kind to her skin, the worried mother turned to age-old practices that had been followed by several generations in their family. Some of these included using besan flour mixed with herbs as face wash, or using a blend of flowers and oils as hair wash.
“With guidance from my mother and grandmother, I started making various powders in my kitchen using organic raw materials like cold-pressed oils, besan flour, egg whites and more. I tried the resultant soaps on my skin to see their effects. To my surprise, the oils provided a mild soapy effect and made my skin very soft. So after a few days, I tried it on my baby and saw that it did not have any side effects for her,” says Aishwarya.
After a few months, she also wanted to try her hands at making products such as shampoos and conditioners for the adults in her family. She started by reading blogs and research papers on the internet, and eventually took a course on skincare manufacturing. This not only helped her understand how to make products, but also understand how ingredients interact with each other.
“This was the turning point. I began making shampoos, conditioners, and moisturisers at home and distributing them to close friends and family members for their feedback. The response was always positive, and always asked for more. This gave me an idea to start selling the products on a small scale,” says Aishwarya, adding that all her products were safe for both children and adults.
With her close friend Haarini Sukumaran, she started a Facebook page named Nature’s Destiny and began advertising her creations. At first, this included only bar soaps and liquid soaps.While Aishwarya would make the products and package them, Haarini would take care of marketing and dispatching them to customers. By 2018, the duo had received a sizable number of orders and hired four women to help them with the manufacturing process.
Today, they sell 65 different products including shampoo and conditioner bars, body washes, body butters, and lip balms, among others. The business, which has a strong customer base of 750 people, receives up to 500 orders every month and earns over Rs 5 lakh per month.
The products are made using organic ingredients sourced from various cities in Tamil Nadu, Aishwarya says. While there are some products formulated especially for children, she adds that others are safe for all ages too.
Her daughter, who is now six years old, continues to use only organic products and says her favourite among the lot is the juicy cherry shampoo bar as it smells good and looks colourful.
Ashish Krishna (31), a resident of Chennai and a fitness enthusiast, is an avid user of Nature’s Destiny products. Two years ago, he purchased their shampoo bars on Instagram and continues to use them even today.
He says, “Since I run and work out, I take a hair wash every alternate day. Their organic shampoo bars not only keep my hair and scalp healthy, but also fit my budget, as they are priced at Rs 300. The shampoo and conditioner bar last up to two months. Even my friends have switched from branded products to Nature’s Destiny.”
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