10 QUESTIONS WITH PAHADI LOCAL’S JESSICA JAYNE
Pahadi Local makes luxury skincare products from local, natural ingredients available in Himachal Pradesh, including Gutti Ka Tel (apricot kernel oil), Khal (apricot meal scrub), Pull (lake sediment detox salt), and Markalak (mineral rich Himalayan clay). The brand also sets up Pahadi Pure Experiences in venues and pop up events with a tea lounge and foot spa to enable potential users to try, touch, taste and feel the products first hand.
Pahadi Local products are available at Good Earth stores around Mumbai. You can also shop for the products on their website.
Remember when “turmeric latte” became a thing, and all of India collectively went “huh?”, thinking about all the times our grandmothers forced us to drink that vile, yellow stuff as kids and we resisted it with all our might? Or the time that coconut oil became the one solution to everyone’s problems around the world and we cringed thinking of the times our mothers forced us to oil our hair and we cried like it was the end of the world? And finally, after all this, the time when realisation dawned that we’ve been stupidly wasting all our hard-earned money on all these pricey, imported products when everything we need has always been right here and available for a quarter of the price?
Unlike the vast majority of us, Jessica Jayne was quicker on the uptake. Born and raised in Mumbai, she moved to the mountains some years ago, and it was there that she discovered the truth in the beauty and wellness secrets that have been handed down to us from generation to generation. Pahadi Local was thus born. As pure as the rarified mountain air and free of additives/preservatives, Pahadi Local products, which include Gutti ka Tel (apricot kernel oil) and Pull (lake sediment detoxification salt) amongst others, are packed with goodness that radiates into the very philosophy driving the brand.
The City Story sat down for an interview that turned into a freewheeling chat with the force behind it all.
TCS: It all started out with just you, your mother, your friend and an office boy working out of your home, and today Pahadi Local is a successful brand. Take us through the journey.
JJ: Homegrown. That's what Pahadi Local's journey has been about. I was sending Gutti ka Tel from Shimla, my mother was bottling the oil at home in pretty glass bottles, my good friend Kanika was marketing it to our friends and network in Mumbai, while my office boy did the delivery. Three years later, we work out of an office! I have partnered with an old friend whom I trust completely, Udit Sheth, who is a strategic investor. We have a board of directors, advisors and team members who look specifically into procurement, sourcing, quality control, lab testing, logistics, distribution, warehousing, marketing and so on.
TCS: Pahadi Local emphasises its back-to-the-roots philosophy. How important do you think that is in today’s tidal wave of consumerism?
JJ: I think there is a fair market share of consumers who have and are making a conscious choice to go back to basics by keeping it real – as pure and natural as possible to avoid the adverse affects of our previous choices especially in skincare and consumables.
TCS: Yours is a sustainable luxury brand – sustainable being the operative word, where you give back to the source. Tell us about the people who are this source.
JJ: Giving back to the source is the foundation and philosophy of Pahadi Local. It is easy to make a claim that we are sustainable, but being true to our commitment to source is what gives us a satisfaction at the end of the day. I'm lucky that my business partners share this responsibility as vehemently as I do. This is the soul of Pahadi Local. We work with structures mirroring cooperatives to ensure fair trade and also have a royalty-to-source programme with a few of our products.
TCS: Who is someone you look up to or whose business ethic do you admire? Why? And how does that permeate into the work you do every day?
JJ; I admire every single person who works hard and honestly to make a living. Everybody can teach you something that can be a big takeaway for your life. For me, I admire the righteousness of an auto driver who will return an iPhone you left behind. That for me is ethic.
I read about the most successful people and look up to Richard Branson who built his empire by respecting his workforce from ground up.
I believe in being hands-on, which sometimes comes across as an obsession of sorts! Right from product identification, supplier relationships, packaging, styling, creating a vibe for our media channels – I’ve done it myself. While I am building my vision for brand Pahadi Local, I am supported by my team and can call on them at anytime for help. That is what makes it easier today. Many of my close friends who are photographers, businessmen and industry experts have gone out of their way to help me on my way. This is what builds a homegrown business.
TCS: Pahadi Local exudes this “feel-good” quality. How does that translate into the way your customers engage with the products/ brand?
JJ: Pahadi Local is a real brand. It stands for all things pure and bringing to you the goodness of the Hills, which is why feel-good is the default quality that permeates from the brand. I think customers have begun to trust us. We are as true as what we may seem. Girl next door – someone who lived in the hills, could be you or me and discovered these magical pure local products and now she's decided to share it with everyone in the cities.
This personal connect is the biggest engagement we have with our customers. They give me a chance and try our lesser-known products, they end up loving it and appreciating our initiative and slowly this base has begun to grow exponentially.
We believe in experience. Pahadi Pure Experiences are set up in venues and pop up events with a tea lounge and foot spa to enable potential users to try, touch, taste and feel our products first hand.
TCS: Describe Pahadi Local in three words.
JJ: Luxury in Simplicity
TCS: What is your one go to beauty product from Pahadi Local?
JJ: Gutti ka Tel: our orchard fresh, pure apricot kernel oil. I use it head to toe. As a body moisturiser, eye make-up remover, post work out body massage oil, hair oil, and face oil!
TCS: What beauty/wellness/life advice would you like to give our readers?
JJ: Keep it simple. Make a conscious choice for a better and more balanced lifestyle. We owe it to ourselves.
TCS: What is the future of Pahadi Local?
JJ: We plan to align with brands that share our philosophy of fair trade and sustainability. Right now we have partnered with Good Earth stores across India, and that kind of support and encouragement paves our future path. We are looking into new offerings and new markets and will hopefully be able to share the “Goodness of the Hills” globally, soon.
TCS: Mumbai or the mountains?
JJ: I'm learning to balance the best of both 🙂