Ahalya Mathan’s brand of personal care products, Areev is already a hit in the city, and now she’s roped in Channapatna artisans to add the true element of Karnataka in her product line. Excerpts from the interview.
Tell us about your association with Channapatna?
It began with a meeting with Atul Johri, who we were introduced to by photographer Nitin Sagi. In March 2015 we were looking for locally sourced, innovative packaging that would help reduce our carbon footprint. When we went to Channapatna, Atul was able to interpret our five different fragrance families into five lacquer colours that married the product with the craft. The artisans created chic wooden containers both with the manipulation of wood as well as a natural coating to hold oil based products. The finish of the product was so brilliant that it raised the bar for us. They forced us back into the laboratory to create bath and skin products that exceeded the quality of the packaging.
As an entrepreneur, what has been some of the lessons from the past?
My biggest learning has come from making mistakes and from people who have been generous enough to correct them. Very early on we used no preservatives in our soaps. A phone call from an angry customer was the turning point. As it turned out he was a food chemist and he showed us natural food-based ingredients that increased the shelf life from three to 18 months!
What’s coming up?
We have just introduced new fragrance families. They are based on familiar Indian ingredients like turmeric, citrus, tulsi, mint — yet they have been blended in such a way that they have a contemporary “twist”.
`220 onwards. At Domlur Layout.
— Priyadarshini Nandy