Sonali Karande Brahma 8 Aug 2016 . 8 min read
She is a trailblazer, a lady who carries herself with poise, sophistication and conviction. She moves ahead with a purposeful stride, which can be expected owing to her extraordinary choice of business--an organic spa! Or more aptly put, an organic spalon--A first of its kind in the city that uses only chemical-free, natural ways and means (read lotions, creams, oils and others).
It’s been just three months since her spalon came into being, and she has already started getting rave reviews from the many who have tried it out. Meet Kaveeta Pol, the forever-smiling, confident and fabulous lady behind Orrganic Elemennt, India’s first spalon that uses only organic elements as it offers its services to the health-conscious, environment-conscious, beauty-conscious citizens of Pune.
Kaveeta spoke to Sonali Brahma, and below are edited excerpts to know more about the trailblazer who will surely inspire the 7.5 lakh SHEROES--our SHEROES community--to do their bit for themselves, and for Mother Earth, by choosing to go organic with their beauty treatments.
Could you tell us something about your background--education, qualifications, work experience, where you are from?
I am from Pune. I started off in IT, and after I got married, I was in the US for nine years. I always knew I wanted to get into the beauty industry; that’s where my passion was.
Once I moved back to India, I finally took the plunge. I’ve been in the industry for a decade now. I have been professionally trained at The Beauty and Health Academy, which is recognised by the Associate of the Society of Health and Beauty Therapists, London.
What made you start Orrganic Elemennt?
Being in the industry for so long, I used to witness the rampant use of chemicals. We have all grown up thinking that beauty products with chemicals, using animal by-products and tests on animals are an unavoidable part of our beauty and skin care regime.
This in itself got me thinking. We use an average of 8-12 different products on ourselves every day. The chemicals have got to be doing more harm than good. Being an animal lover, when I discovered the cruelty behind the industry, it just added fuel to my fire.
I knew I had to create an alternative. I had to find a way to make people understand that you don’t need chemicals and be cruel to animals to look and feel beautiful. That’s how Orrganic Elemennt was born.
Is it a new concept in India?
Orrganic Elemennt is actually India’s first organic, vegan, cruelty-free spalon. Many spas and salons in India have organic treatments as an option for some services. In fact, many are under the impression that there are some services that just can’t be done without chemicals.
I have put in months and months of research. I found brands and products from all over the world to ensure each and every service we provide is not only chemical-free, but vegan and cruelty-free.
Some very specific examples are: 100% vegan and cruelty-free nail paints, hair colour that is 100% organic, wax that is 100% organic, vegan and cruelty-free, 100% chemical-free make-up.
Is the 'organic movement' just a buzzword in the world today? Is it gathering momentum? Do people believe in it?
Many people think that being ‘organic’ is just a fad. I have never understood that. How can using natural products and ingredients be a fad! Mother Nature has already provided everything to us centuries ago; it is mankind that has added chemicals to it, tested them on animals and then marketed it to us relentlessly, making us lose our ‘natural’ path.
I think the usage of chemicals and animals in everyday products are a fad. Most of these products have been introduced not very long ago. We don’t know the long-term effects at all. People are now realizing that they need to go back to basics--pure, organic, chemical-free lifestyles.
What services does Orrganic Elemennt offer?
We are spa and a salon, so our services range from beauty (haircuts, hairstyling, make up, etc.), skin (facials, waxing, etc.) to body (massages, therapies, etc.)
We have brand partners who are all PETA-approved and 100% organic. They provide us with their products depending on their specialization. We are also introducing our own line of body scrubs and oil soon.
What's your USP?
I think our USP is very clear, we are the only spalon in India that guarantees an organic, vegan-friendly experience without compromising on the end result! Our customers leave with a relaxed body and conscience.
How long did you take--how many months/years before you decided to launch Orrganic Elemennt?
The research and partnerships took me quite long. I have invested almost an entire year into putting the idea together.
What was your journey like?
The journey so far has been very enriching. While doing the research, I gained a lot of knowledge, understood the difference between organic, natural and vegan products and how they are exactly made, while ensuring their correct usage.
Was it very challenging to begin?
It is not easy to start something completely organic, vegan and cruelty-free as there is quick money is in the chemically-treated services. So I had to literally pay attention to make it completely as per the concept in my mind, for which I did a lot of research. I spoke to the senior management of different brands to get the details and their certification.
Some people did try to demotivate me. However, I believed in myself. I knew if I create a platform for people to go completely organic, it will do wonders.
We are aware that a lot of people will try and replicate the concept, but every single staff member believes in the concept and is committed to the philosophy behind Orrganic Elemennt. With that being our strength, we know we will always have an edge and will stay ahead of other businesses.
Are your charges very high compared to other salons? Was it/is it difficult to convince people about its benefits/value?
That’s another myth I am trying to break. Typically, it is perceived that organic products and services are more expensive. Our prices are like any other spa or salon you have probably already visited.
Did you ever feel scared of how this venture of yours will do?
No, I was always very confident of my vision and focused on the goal to be scared.
Who is your support system?
My sister and husband have been my pillar of strength, and I'm lucky to have some very genuine friends who have supported and cheered for me at every milestone.
What is your professional philosophy?
I believe in constant upgradation and staying ahead of competition. In my opinion, there is no room for complacency. Also, the one fundamental value that governs us at Orrganic Elemennt is "walking the talk", which makes us a strong brand!
What are your must-haves in life?
1. Family is always number one for me. My pet dog (Shrek) is my BFF. My phone, because all the appointment calls come to me directly.
How do you think Orrganic Elemennt will impact lives?
It already is creating an awareness among people about organic, cruelty-free and vegan--and that, for me, is half the battle won. I am also looking to break this misconception that we need products that are synthetic, or full of chemicals, to look beautiful. I am looking forward to seeing client reactions once they try our products and get results better than ever!!