Having grown up humbly in India I learned from a young age how to use the best of nature’s goodness to look after our bodies, inside and out, which has taught me resourcefulness, deep knowledge of natural ingredients, and an overall appreciation for nature - all of which is at the heart of my business ethos. When I got married I moved to the UK, and I’ve been living in Cambridge for the last 20 years with my family - my husband and three children. Of course they’re all grown up now but I’m fortunate enough to have most of my loved ones close by.
While I’ve always loved natural ingredients and working with my hands, I never expected I’d be running my own skincare brand! After a drastic family change shortly after we moved to Cambridge, I was diagnosed with acute stress-induced dermatitis, and I found the prescribed medical creams too harsh and not very effective. So I started making my own cream in my kitchen, using leftover beeswax from the honeybees I keep (after reading that local honey can help cure my children’s hay fever), some Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter that were lying around, and a combination of Essential Oils (leftover from an aromatherapy massage course I took), I had then created the foundation product that started it all. Within days my skin was healing itself, and it looked more radiant, plumper and healthier than ever before. Everyone noticed the positive change, and with encouragement from my family, I set out on this journey to create high quality, effective and natural skincare products, all handmade honestly and locally, with integrity and love. Soon after my granddaughter was born, I set about making Sqwidge Sleepy Baby Oil (sqwidge.com) - a healing, hydrating and nut-free oil with the added bonus of sleep-inducing oils to calm the senses and repair sensitive skin. I never sit still as I always love to be formulating products in the lab for every condition and everyone.
In India self-care is a natural part of life - and I’ve always followed a simple yet reliable routine. Every morning starts with oil pulling, if I need it Karna Purana (the Ayurvedic practice of dropping warm oil into the ear), or occasionally Jal Neti (the yogi practice of cleansing nasal passages with warm water and salt). This is often followed by my morning exercise practice, usually Yoga including Pranayama (a deep diaphragmatic breathing) or a quick run, followed by Meditation if I have time! My evening routine is simpler, and I tend to just massage my body with oil, including my hair if washing, and lastly my gratitude practice for the day that’s ending.
I would love to scale up my business, organically, honestly and successfully. After all, most of us dream of leaving a legacy behind! Currently I hand-make all the products in my local lab in Cambridge, and I’m always formulating new products that will focus on essential care, brought to the forefront by the global pandemic (such as Hand Sanitisers, etc.), plus we will also be rebranding our company with a fresh new look this year. Next year we’re working towards expanding our local retailers and eventually moving into bigger premises and launching our skincare line in some major supermarkets / department stores both nationally and internationally if possible. At the same time we want to ensure we retain our brand values and integrity within our products, as we have done from day one.
WAYS TO BE MORE SUSTAINABLE
The wellbeing of people and the planet are our primary focus as a family and as a business. From a business perspective, we believe in consuming less. So first of all, we only create rich, concentrated products so our customers consume much less than they’re used to. Not only does this give customers better value for money, but it also reduces waste, leaving a lighter footprint on the environment. Secondly, we recommend choosing products that are Soil Association / COSMOS approved whenever possible. This ensures that ingredients are high quality, sustainable and totally natural, so you can be sure of the provenance of the ingredients you are using on yourself and in your home. In addition to this, it guarantees that products are encased in eco-friendly, toxic-free packaging, much like our 100% natural Sqwidge Sleepy Oil which comes in a fully recyclable glass bottle and cardboard box. Thirdly from a personal perspective, every action has a reaction and that’s why we follow a low-waste, eco-lifestyle at home too. We love to reduce, reuse and recycle - here are just some of our practices: recycling anything and everything; cycling to the post office to deliver orders; composting food waste; growing produce; picking up litter; reducing single-use plastic; using renewable energy sources at home, and generally being mindful in our daily actions. Lastly, resourcefulness is a great habit to hone - and one that we encourage in our customers, in ourselves and all future generations.