“Beauty is being healthy. Not the color of your skin, or the texture or how radiant it is. Everyone is beautiful and should not compare themselves to others.” asserts Katuri Radha Manohari, the CEO of Thea Ojas.
Thea Ojas is an authentic, traditional and certified personal beauty care brand that is 100 % natural and made using age-old ancient Ayurvedic recipes. All the ingredients are organic and sourced directly from farmers. Realizing that the beauty industry was flooded with synthetic products which marketed themselves as natural, Katuri took it upon herself to explore the development and preparation of actual natural products.
Read more about their products, quality and sustainable business model in this immersive conversation with Storiyaan.
Thea Ojas: The Goodness of Aryurveda
Questions and answers
How were you introduced to the knowledge of Ayurveda?
I have learned Ayurveda from my ayurvedic family background and also trained on how to prepare ayurvedic medicated oils for 3 years. Apart from that, I have learned modern science nanotechnology cosmetics. To elaborate, we formulate ayurvedic oils according to Ayurveda and Siddha Vaidyars have written script and formulations on palm leaf which dates back to some thousands of years back.
While studying you realized how many synthetic products are labelled as natural. How do such brands gain legal approval for this?
Yes, the labelling of synthetic ingredients as Ayurveda is rampant even in the case of reputed brands. This is because of the lax rules and ambiguity in the regulations regarding handmade products. A lot of brands don’t provide the entire ingredient list and mislead their customers.
You decided to make your products 100% naturally. What were some of the research methodologies that you had to apply to make your products effectively with a longer shelf life?
The process begins with the collection of quality herbs that are shade dried and hand-pounded. This then gets extracted through distillation and the herb potency is locked with nano-technology. We ensure that our products have a shelf-life of 2 years with the use of antioxidant water, stimulant water and a few other ingredients. In addition, all our products are clinically proven.
Since you work with village people and farmers, your brand also contributes to the growth of indigenous markets. Do you particularly feel drawn to the cause and why?
Yes, it was very important for me to source quality herbs that are mostly found in rural and hilly regions. Furthermore, I required customized herbs for specific products which stimulated my search for farmers who are skilled at cropping. I find it extremely important to support such indigenous farming and ensure sustainable growth.
With the rapid growth of popular demand for natural products, the Ayurveda department has fallen into major competition. What are some of the strategies that you resort to remain at the top of your game?
I think it is very important to be authentic and transparent to your customers to satisfy them. We are the first brand to throw light on the process of preparing ayurvedic oils on our social media platforms. Having said that, I also feel that my focus, dedication, willingness to bring change, and goals make me be my best judge and my competitor.
What do you believe to be the USP of “Thea Ojas” that distinguishes it from other brands in the market?
Our USP is the complete authenticity and transparency followed by the quality of the products with the use of the latest technology. We further ensure certifications for all the products. Moreover, most of our range is made in-house.
What was the major impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on your company. What were some of the measures that you took to cut back losses while also taking into account the interest of your employees?
Fortunately, we did not face any major financial hit. The pandemic has made several people opt for ayurvedic natural products. Therefore, gratefully, our orders have since increased manifold.
Can you tell us about your research that led to the “eureka moment” of infusing cosmetics with nanotechnology?
I wanted to develop products that penetrate deep into your skin to provide you with actual benefits and results. Such results can only be achieved through nanotechnology. It is an expensive and time-consuming process that reduces the particle size of the products. I was aware of this technology and got certified in nanotechnology for cosmetics before starting my journey.
Korean and Japanese skincare brands are all the rage now. How far do you think Indian Ayurveda has been successful in tackling the competition?
Indian Ayurvedic medicated oils have to be certified by the Ministry of Ayush before they can be marketed. This ensures that standards for ayurvedic oil preparations are maintained. Hence, other countries cannot develop natural products with Ayurveda, unlike modern technology cosmetics. Therefore, I feel Indian Ayurveda beats everything when it comes to natural and fresh products.
Thea Ojas is a cruelty-free and sustainable brand. How do you feel you have contributed to the Indian skincare industry in these aspects?
We don’t test any product on animals as we care for every life in this universe. We are also trying our best to keep everything natural and ensuring added research for the same. Hence, I am sure we will be able to achieve that very soon.
1. Your favourite product from your brand – All of them
2. One cosmetic brand you will never endorse – Any brand which is not authentic
3. Your go-to source of research – Ancient ayurvedic formulations
4. Your greatest motivator – Me
5. Your view on the existence of racism in the skincare industry – Brands need to work towards being more inclusive.