Have you heard of ventha velichenna or virgin coconut oil that is rubbed on infants? Did you know, unlike regular coconut oil, this involves a long process to make even a small amount of it?
A Kerala mother-daughter duo took up the challenge of producing this virgin coconut oil under the brand name ‘Purvina’ using traditional methods. Jaya and Parvathy Avanoor conceived the idea when the pandemic hit, and they found themselves having a lot of time on their hands.
Parvathy was working as a digital marketer but was looking for a break. So, in 2020, they started the company and have never looked back since. Today, the brand sells over 250 litres of oil per month.
Ventha velichenna — the choice everyone should make?
While Jaya was all set to start a business with organically grown spices, they decided to add ventha velichenna to the list.
Discussing the complex method of preparing the oil, 56-year-old Jaya tells The Better India, “The process is not easy at all. Only 10 litres of oil can be extracted from almost 250 coconuts. But we never compromised on the process. A huge traditional uruli (traditional bowl) is a must-have for the process. The major tasks include cutting coconut, shredding it, turning it into milk and boiling it.”
The coconuts needed for the process are grown on their own farms and some are procured from farms nearby. “We make sure that all of them follow organic growing methods before the purchase,” she adds.
Priced at Rs 445 for 250 litres with a shelf life of one year, the duo’s product gained a lot of popularity because of its numerous uses.
Talking about the various benefits of the oil, Parvathy says, “My late grandfather had Alzheimer’s disease and an Ayurveda doctor suggested giving him traditionally prepared ventha velichenna, twice a day, to reduce its intensity. It worked, and since the disease is hereditary, my father and I started consuming 15 ml each every day too.”
“The product is 100 per cent edible and I’ve been giving this to my baby since the eighth day of her birth. It is an excellent non-greasy moisturiser, makeup remover, and wrinkle preventer, and can even be used as a salad dressing. You can have it raw to avoid digestion issues and ulcers,” Parvathy claims.
The manufacturing unit of the brand is located in Anamangad, Malappuram, near their house.
“Around 90 per cent of our workforce are women. But there are some tasks which they can’t perform. The hot oil in the heavy uruli is to be moved to another container for which we have installed a small machine. There are some men in the team to help with this and other similar laborious tasks,” explains 56-year-old Jaya.
Other than selling this hot processed oil, which comes as baby oil and all-purpose generic oil, the brand also sells turmeric powder, tamarind paste, black peppercorns and banana porridge mix.
The products are available to purchase on all major e-commerce platforms like Amazon and baby product platforms like BabyCare and BabyButtons.
“People may find the products overpriced, but it’s not. This becomes expensive as it undergoes several processes. Our margins are low and we haven’t touched the break-even point yet. But the sales are growing, as are our hopes,” explains Parvathy.
They have served customers from all over the country — like Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana, West Bengal and some parts of the North East. The market for the products has been expanding and Parvathy aims to educate more people about the benefits of ventha velichenna.
“Other than simply selling the product, educating people about the benefits of ventha velichenna is our dream. And of course, we want to build Purvina as a synonym for this magic oil,” says Parvathy.
If you are interested in starting a business like this, learn all about it from Parvathy herself. In this video, she shares her process, the do’s and don’ts while starting a venture, and her biggest mantra for becoming a successful entrepreneur. Find more details here.
Edited by Pranita Bhat.