What began as a holistic journey to expand the cultural significance of Ayurveda in 2002 has now bloomed into a luxurious legacy. Kama Ayurveda celebrates 20 years of bringing the best of Ayurvedic wellness to us. From their first flagship store in Delhi to expanding their retail footprint to London—Kama Ayurveda success story is one for the textbooks.
With the sweet scent of mogra invoking nostalgia as its aesthetic trademark and celebrated collections of wellness and beauty products, Kama Ayurveda has been a pioneer in bridging Ayurveda with modern beauty practices.
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Kama Ayurveda’s current positioning in the industry is a testimony to its sought-after product innovations, on-point brand language, and staying in sync with industry dynamics. We spoke to Vivek Sahni, founder of Kama Ayurveda, to get a glimpse into the brand’s 20-year-long journey.
ELLE: Congratulations on completing 20 years. How the brand has gone through an image change in these two decades?
Vivek Sahni: Yes, it’s a major milestone for us. The heart of our brand and its values remain the same, in fact with time we’ve just grown stronger—keeping authenticity and efficacy at the core of our beliefs.
When we began this journey in 2002, there was no social media or digital marketing, the entire business ran on simple word of the mouth. Now that the entire world is digital, we’re able to keep our consumers constantly updated about the wisdom of ayurvedic beauty, the authenticity of our ingredients, the quality of our formulations and the results of clinical trials conducted by independent entities. So, the way we communicate with our consumers has certainly evolved, but the message continues to be the same.
ELLE: What does Kama do differently that stands out from the rest of Ayurvedic beauty brands?
Vivek: I can proudly attest that we are the first Ayurvedic brand that has gone ahead with independent clinical studies to reaffirm the faith in the ancient wisdom of Ayurvedic beauty, and formulations which have been around for thousands of years have truly stood the test of time.
At Kama Ayurveda, we are constantly conducting an immense amount of research and development into our original formulations. When it comes to sourcing, we don’t cut corners at all—we proudly source ingredients from the locations they’re known for, for instance, saffron from Pampore, roses from Kanauj and mogra from Madurai.
In these 20 years, we’ve learnt the importance of an ecosystem that needs to be protected and maintained in order to keep producing authentic and effective formulations. In this process, we’ve also strengthened our commitment to being kind to the skin ( while being efficacious ), kind to the people and kind to our planet ( with our sustainability initiatives ).
ELLE: Tell us about your new packaging and how it has changed over the years.
Vivek: Visually, our packaging has remained the same. However, we’ve begun to move towards FSC-Certified Monocatrons, PCR bottles ( made from recycled materials using PET bottles and other plastics ) and Kraft Paper-based compostable shipping boxes.
All of our products are manufactured in a green production facility, nestled in south India. With significant green cover around this facility which allows us to operate within a cooler microclimate, we’ve had the chance to make our processes sustainable. Incorporating waste management solutions, rainwater harvesting and power savings via solar panels are some of the aspects we’ve paid attention to.
ELLE: Also, how do you think the brand has worked to change the design language to stay relevant to its consumers?
Vivek: If I’m being brutally honest, our visual brand guidelines have always remained true to the core of the brand. All of us have grown up watching our grandmothers use Ayurvedic medicines that used to be packaged in tiny brown bottles. Here, at Kama Ayurveda, we’ve visualised old-fashioned apothecaries, that’s the sole reason why our bottles are brown in colour with white labels along with gold caps. It adds a certain rustic energy to all of it.
We also put powders into stainless steel tins for two reasons. The first one is that those tins have the power to unlock a nostalgic memory of growing up in the love and comfort of our homes. Secondly, the powders we use in these contain the same natural ingredients that are found in our kitchen. The best part is, these tins can be reused!
ELLE: As an Ayurvedic brand, how have you justified the comparatively higher price point of the brand in the Indian market?
Vivek: At the end of the day, it only boils down to two things— authenticity and efficacy. We always strive to be radically transparent with our customers about using authentic formulations along with only the highest quality ingredients. Speaking of efficacy, all of our products provide consumers with the desired results.
ELLE: What kind of logistical strategies has the brand adopted in the past couple of years to combat pandemic and post-pandemic challenges?
Vivek: Being extremely agile, we’ve moved from the mother warehouse concept to having a geographically interposed network of warehouses to support the mother warehouse. The demand for luxury Ayurveda has only increased with time, so taking cognizance of that, we’ve created a number of fulfilment centres in prime urban areas to cater specifically to B2C and marketplaces.
Another thing we’ve done is piloted an omnichannel approach and we’re also currently in the process of leveraging EBOs to serve every B2C demand. Additionally, partnering up with third-party logistic companies and hyper-local delivery partners to ensure deliveries take place at a prompt time.
ELLE: How do you then bring about exciting innovations to your brand offering that will catch the attention of beauty enthusiasts?
Vivek: When we began this journey, it was a very small community that was actively using Ayurvedic beauty products. You’d also be surprised to know that most Indians didn’t have enough knowledge about the precision-based science that Ayurveda. For so long, it had been synonymous with the terms natural and herbal. However, we’ve spent 20 years bringing out this knowledge to our loyal consumers. There are many formulations out there that are untouched, something we will continue to explore and bring to our consumers in formats that are suitable for modern-day usage.