MAKERS OF LONDON: MUGHDA SAPTE OF KINDRED + WILD
Mugdha Sapte is the one-woman team behind the organic skincare apothecary Kindred + Wild. Combining her passion for natural products and plants with her desire to work independently, her line of products is inspired by herbal remedies and handcrafted in small batches in London.
WORDS BY ADITI DHARMADHIKARI
The City Story: Tell us a little about the name Kindred + Wild and what it signifies to you.
Mugdha Sapte: Kindred is for connectedness, not just with each other, but because deep down we all understand the need and importance of connecting with nature. And because I genuinely believe everything is interconnected. Wild is to remind me to be outdoors more, to forage, interact with nature, to bring a bit of wilderness back into our lives. Wild are the things we don’t understand but need to learn or revive. Like so much lost wisdom about plants especially, but also of life. Wild is for a need to protect those places which are just that, wild.
TCS: Could you share with us a few experiences that led you to shift into a more holistic approach towards health and life?
MS: When I was at University, I used to have terrible bouts of cold sores, and for almost a year a few years ago had a persistent rash, which one doctor said was dermatitis and another said eczema. It doesn’t help that any imbalance in my body always manifests on my face and not some hidden patch behind my elbow. My cold sores I managed to be rid of with a recipe of a lip balm by James Wong from his Grow Your Own Drugs series on BBC. That’s how it all started, I suppose. Ever the DIY person, I thought, “I can make that!” So over the years I made many batches of lip balm got better at it along the way. And experimental!
But this idea that an everyday thing generally considered a cosmetic like a lip balm could be medicinal and natural is, I think, what stuck with me. My dermatitis/eczema needed much deeper attention for which I sought help from an Ayurvedic practitioner. That really helped shape my holistic approach to health since that’s what Ayurveda is all about.
TCS: How did the idea of starting your own organic skincare apothecary come about?
MS: I had just quit a job which was extremely draining and found myself doing a lot of soul-searching. Through that difficult, confusing, and frustrating process I discovered I had two major want-needs: that I had to work with plants and had to work for myself. Almost six months after that and a lot more thinking, Kindred + Wild was conceived. It turned out to be a perfect combination of my little life’s history, of that underlying passion for nature, which was a silent dark horse throughout, and encompasses my future aspirations for a lifestyle in harmony with nature and plantwork.
TCS: As a one-woman team, what are some of the challenges you face along the way?
MS: Working by yourself can be very isolating and challenging. I also struggle with those aspects that I am really not good at or find terrible boring. Like admin. Or marketing.
TCS: How would you say the city has influenced your work?
MS: My love for nature was rekindled in city. After a few years focused on university I stumbled upon a book for natural dyeing which got me so excited and exhilarated. I started to teach myself to identify plants, would go foraging in the local parks for new plants I could dye with. I feel incredibly grateful and lucky that London has allowed that. That there is a green haven just around the corner no matter which part of the city you are in.
TCS: Tell us more about your process of creating your unique products.
MS: My process is rather fluid. It could be stumbling upon a new plant or herb which throws me full fledge into research mode and then finding and experimenting with its uses. I get such a kick out of that sort of stuff. Or it could be a new symptom of a friend or myself, which gets me thinking, “I wonder what plant could be useful for that”, and then again into research mode. I basically follow my curiosity and when I find something exciting or a special fascination with a plant I go into experimenting mode.
TCS: After a long day of admin and experimentation in the kitchen, where in London do you head to relax and connect with like-minded people?
MS: Actually, I am a total introvert, so my idea of relaxing is with a good book, soothing music, cooking delicious healthy food, and generally chilling out.
We discovered Kindred + Wild through Shopping With Soul.