While most beauty enthusiasts in today’s world want instant gratification and overnight magic, there exists a small community of traditionalists who still let nature take its course.
With a strong belief in the holistic homegrown beauty, 21-year-old Shubhika Jain laid the foundation of Ras Luxury Oils in 2015 to set up India’s first ‘farm to face’ company in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. Circa 2020, the homegrown initiative is already making a difference in the lives of users as well as local farmers, who earn their livelihood by supplying directly to the brand for profitable income.
The co-founder of the beauty brand Shubhika grew up learning about local plants, and after graduating in Economics Honours from Lady Shri Ram College (Delhi) she returned to her hometown to launch RAS with her mother Sangeeta Jain. About mixing passion with business, she mentions, “As a child, I was immersed in rituals introduced to me by my mother, who has a passion for plants and gardening. My mother created her beauty concoctions with handpicked flowers, herbs, and other natural ingredients – this practice inspired me to inculcate a natural beauty regimen of using natural face and body oils instead of lotions, creams, and other products with toxic ingredients.”
Although Shubhika was training to be an entrepreneur from a young age and she had full family support, she too had to prove her mettle by handling situations maturely and strategically at work. Managing the 250 acres of farmland and working with 80% of the female workforce to build a successful brand in less than five years wasn’t a cakewalk. As a CEO she faces many challenges, but not as a woman entrepreneur anymore. Speaking about her professional journey, she says, “When I initially joined the family business it was difficult for the existing staff to accept a young lady as their boss. Initially, visiting farmer fields, sourcing the best raw materials, having meetings with top executives were challenging, but now I am comfortable with it as I have developed that confidence. We also believe in empowering local women, and I ensure that they are employed at almost all levels like fields, labs, packaging, inventory, accounts, HR, marketing and management.”
About creating a sustainable work culture for local farmers, she informs, “In addition to growing crops on our farms, we partner with local farmers for procuring our ingredients, in a quest to connect directly with the source. With the system of ensured buyback of crops, farmers are safe from market fluctuations and their income is steady. We help bridge the gap between farmers and vendors and make sure it contributes to livelihoods at a grassroot level. In Raipur, we are now growing several varieties of crops and continuously researching on getting the right plants and multiplying the same seeds of the desired plant at our DSIR approved microbiology lab. We are successfully growing Patchouli that doesn’t grow in this region and also rosemary, chamomile, calendula that doesn’t grow in this climate.”
Along with heading her business, Shubhika is also the chairperson of the Yuva Wing at Young Indians (part of CII) Raipur chapter and looks after community projects involving dustbin allocations, clean water supply, and ‘Masoom’ — a child sexual abuse initiative. She finds time to read, meditate and practice martial arts. She regularly donates to animal welfare organisations in Raipur and takes a special interest in rescuing animals and birds.
Talking about her spiritual interests, she shares, “I believe that the power of meditation and positive attitude helps in accepting all challenges that come my way. Meditation along with sound healing helps me stay focused. I also am a passionate animal lover and so all of our products are cruelty-free and vegan, also made with positive intentions and mantra chanting. Even at work, each person associated is encouraged to mediate and a healthy work culture is formed. Apart from that, I love to travel and take some time off for my trips.”