A few years ago, when entrepreneur Jessica Jayne temporarily shifted base from Mumbai to Shimla, she developed issues with her skin that she was keen on fixing. A chance conversation with a local, Himachali lady introduced her to a well-kept Himalayan beauty secret-gutti ka tel (apricot kernel oil). Pleased with the results of the oil, she shared its benefits within her circle of friends and even sold it. Eventually, she started her brand Pahadi Local in Mumbai in September 2015. The brand uses gutti ka tel and other locally-sourced mountain ingredients like walnut oil, multi-floral honey, and Kangra Leaf Cut Tea to produce organic products like teas, body scrubs and clays. In a tête-à-tête, Jayne tells us all about her brand and what drives it.
With time Jayne learnt how rich gutti ka tel is. Apart from vitamins C, E and A, it is also loaded with antioxidants. The oil even serves as a remedy to skin-related issues. Jayne was intrigued; she wanted to explore all possibilities with the oil. She would visit local apricot orchids where she learnt about a 200-year-old mechanism to produce the oil. She explains, "The oil is procured by cold-pressing apricot kernels. Its residue, Khal, can be used as a body scrub. These were the go-to products of the locals; their benefits surprised me. Being a city girl, I wanted to bring them to women back home."
Jessica Jayne, Founder of Pahadi Local
Starting the brand came with its own challenges. Right from building a strong foundation for the brand to packaging issues, and gaining the trust of local communities in the hills, Jayne had to deal with it all. She says, "It was important for me to be true to the brand's philosophy of sustainable luxury and commitment to the source. It was an in-depth process." As a result, between discovering the local oil to starting the brand, Jayne spent a good two years learning about beauty, and the skin care demands of city women. All the ingredients used to create Pahadi Local products are non-formulated and pure, carefully sourced, extracted, and packaged to retain their essence.
The ethics and tenets of the brand lie in its arm, Pahadi Empower. Empower is Pahadi Local's initiative to make products that are sustainable, and offering maximum benefits to local workers and farmers working with the brand. Jayne says, "We personally guarantee that every product is ethically sourced. We also use five per cent of our profit towards the development and education of local children and sustenance of land in the area. Also, since most of our products are lesser known in the commercial marketplace, we ensure that the orchardists and other source points get a price for the product that is justified."
Jayne believes that Pahadi Local's human connect and social responsibility while promoting luxury is what drives the brand. She aims to nurture it at a slow and steady pace, while staying true to the brand's essence and offering high-quality products.
The brand's popular gutti ka tel and other products can be bought on PahadiLocal.com, as well as its outlets in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Devgarh, Delhi, and Goa. You can even experience Pahadi Local products at the spa at 28 Kothi, a quaint boutique hotel in Jaipur.
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