On an average women use 10 beauty products on themselves everyday as a part of their skin and hair care routine – shampoo, conditioner, face moisturizer, face wash, face serum, hand cream, hair serum, and the list goes on! We have all known for years now that these products are teeming with chemicals, most tested on animals, but we have all chosen to turn a blind eye – Entrepreneur Kaveeta Pol believes, this was only because of the lack of an alternative.
How did you decide to start this business?
I think I look at Orrganic Elemennt more as a cause than a business. I started it knowing that back in 2016 hardly anyone was even aware that you could have vegan nail paint, organic facials, or chemical free hair colour. Pune was quite surprised, it’s safe to say. My aim was to bring to the table alternatives to everyone, that beauty can be clean!
I began my research in 2014, I started looking for brands that were organic, vegan and cruelty free, it took me really long to source these partnerships from all across the globe, because Indian brands weren’t certified enough at that time. It took me around 2 years to ensure every service in the salon and spa were now using ingredients that were plant based, chemical free and cruelty free. In 2016 is when I opened my doors in Koregaon Park, Pune.
Tell us about your personal background?
Although I come from an IT background, when I was living in the US with my husband and daughter, I ended up giving in to my lifelong dream of studying beauty. Back then I didn’t think that, that decision would bring me here 12 years later!
Personally I was always very mindful of animal welfare, it’s something I’ve been close to as a child. But learning about veganism truly opened up my mind. Just like every vegan, I went through a transition period but I found it rather easy given my belief in it.
What were challenges that you faced during building this business?
I think the biggest challenge was awareness. People didn’t know that these options existed and hence they didn’t know they needed it. In the first year of running Orrganic Elemennt, I had to consciously put in a lot of effort and focus on education rather than selling our services. We prioritized bringing information to our customers and helping them learn about the negatives of the chemicals present in usual salon products, consequences of using animal by products and impact on the environment of certain ingredients.
Although we have seen a big change over the past 4 years, even today we have many customers who walk in with lots of questions and we love answering them.
What did your friends have to say when you decided to start this business?
My family and friends have always been my pillars of strength, they’ve been extremely supportive to say the least. They’ve been my cheerleaders throughout. Ofcourse just like any other entrepreneur, there were others who tried to shake my faith, but I was able to move past that. In fact, I think over time, I have also successfully made them ambassadors of the vegan and organic lifestyle. My 14 year old daughter, Tanishka, has also gotten inspired and taken up animal rescue and welfare as a cause and is doing her bit to help the city’s injured and abandoned.
Tell us about the people who impacted your journey
Many people have played a major role in my journey, my family and friends top the list. I have learnt something from every person I have ever worked with whether it is professional or personal. I look around me and inspiration is everywhere. Although it would be a shame if I didn’t mention Oprah Winfrey. She has been a model entrepreneur for me, someone who capitalized on her personal strengths and turned them into her professional strengths, while keeping a profitable sustained business AND giving back to society. Your business at the end of the day, is an extension of you.
Who was your first customer at Orrganic Elemennt?
Apart from our friends and family at the launch, our first paying customer came in on the morning of our first day in June 2016, we were really nervous, hoping everything goes smoothly. Checking all our furnishings, fittings, and ready to put all the training to the test. We remember having one tiny hiccup with our hot water supply which was quickly fixed, the customer left happy and still is one of our most regular customers!
What are your key milestones for Orrganic Elemennt in the next 1 year?
Well, as of 2019 we actually ventured into creating our own line of products. What’s unique about our skin care line is that we have sourced the best of the best quality of organic eco cert ingredients from Europe. We’ve put together a line of manufacturing that ensures there is absolutely no contamination of our organic, vegan and cruelty free mantra. We have tied up with certified labs, certified plantations and more.
We have already launched our first skin care product – the Eternal Flow Face Serum. The Pune market gave us a great response! It’s been praised for its efficacy, which would make any entrepreneur ecstatic. I am already working on formulating my next 4 products which will include a face wash, body mist, moisturizer and hair oil.
We have also always prioritized our social impact with tie ups with local animal rescue NGO’s, we are planning a youth initiative to raise more responsible and compassionate adults.
Who according to you is your competition?
I think we genuinely are our own competition, only because we were the first ones to bring this concept to life. Hence, we have always pushed ourselves to innovate and introduce new services and brands every few months. Since 2018, we did see some spas and salons who have also picked a similar cause and we encourage them, because only then can vegan and organic lifestyles become mainstream!
What is your success mantra?
I personally have quite a few. I prioritize meditation everyday. I believe in the power of positive energies, always, put all the good energies on yourself and your growth – don’t think about what others are doing. This mantra has truly helped me attract positivity in my business decisions, consequences and network of people I have built.
Tell us about your learnings in this entrepreneurship journey.
I’ve learnt multiple life skills that help you evolve as an individual. Most importantly, believe in yourself. The strength to hold on to your idea and put in the hard work, will always deliver results.
The people in your business are key, don’t forget to appreciate and invest in them. Allow them to learn and grow with you, and remember to continuously learn from them too.
And finally, keep pushing the goal post for yourself. Especially after years of running a business, as soon as you feel too comfortable it’s time to aim higher!