Rustic Art was started by Sunita Jaju in 2010 to sell organic native and natural ingredients based products that are liquid waste-free and overall sustainable to the environment. After failing to find such products in the market for herself, Sunita decided to formulate products in-house which kicked-off this personal care business. She put her Master’s degree in Sustainable Development to use and decided to put an end to the harmful impact the endless toxic cosmetics have on our ecosystem. Sunita was soon joined by her daughter Surabhi Jaju to grow their business. Together, this mother-daughter duo has successfully created a women-empowering, waste-free and accessible product line that highlights the use of native ingredients in present day personal care.
Follow our conversation with Surabhi Jaju, the Director of Rustic Art, as she takes us through her journey from a PhD in Economics (conc. in Environmental Economics) to striving for viable alternatives that incorporate Indian and environmental-friendly ingredients.
Sourcing from within the ecosystem
Based in Satara, a town 100 kilometres from Pune, Maharashtra, Rustic Art has created the perfect supply chain by sourcing all of its requirements from nearby factories and sellers. All of the ingredients consist of natural herbs like neem, shikakai and tulsi that have been culturally recognised to be good for skin and personal care. With an FDA-GMP certified manufacturing facility, we ship our products all over the country through their website, Flipkart and Amazon. The formulation of the products was fully done by my mother who now trains a team of women to do the same. Satara houses a UNESCO World Heritage site – the Kas Plateau – which we constantly take inspiration from while maintaining the sustainability of all of our products. The environmentally rich ecosystem allows us to appreciate the toxic-free nature of Indian ingredients which fully reflects in all of our products.
During my PhD in Environmental Economics, I studied the economics of wastewater management which opened my eyes about the difficulties of removing beauty and skincare products from polluted water. A large part of wastewater from households is predominantly filled with bathing and personal products which are stubborn pollutants that cannot be extracted easily. Products like our biodegradable power laundry have ingredients natural enough for the wastewater generated from them to be used safely for gardening purposes as well. Our products are also manufactured using little to no water which keeps our facility free from water wastage. Due to our modifications, our products, even when released into waste water, cause no environmental damage.
Empowering women in the workplace & reducing waste on-site
With a workforce that is almost 85% women, we want to impart love into each of our products that are crafted with love by our workforce. One of our feature products – the menstrual cup has helped us greatly in spreading awareness about menstrual hygiene and safety. We provide a tutorial on how to use a menstrual cup to all of our female employees when they join us and nudge them to inculcate the habit of using it during their menstrual cycle. This helps raise awareness about a healthy alternative to menstrual products as all of our female employees continue this conversation back in their social circles. This has helped make our entire facility 100% free from menstrual waste which is a big initiative at par with our motto of sustainability.
Starting out early in the market for sustainable skincare products
When we started out in 2011, the online marketplace still had a long way to go before people used it as frequently as they do in the present times. Moreover, the target audience that was conscious about sustainable and natural products was very small. A few years ago, people were not aware of the problems regular cosmetics led to but with younger people stepping up and educating themselves about it has helped us in realising our motto. Our products are flag bearers of a sustainable lifestyle and we want everyone to adapt to the same.
Providing affordable, healthy and travel-friendly alternatives
Fast-paced fashion trends have caused people to jump on the bandwagon of new products that contribute to high amounts of waste. People need to find a product that suits their body instead of blindly trying out influenced products. To tackle this, we decided to focus on highlighting Indian ingredients like tulsi and neem that are environmentally responsible and skin-friendly alternatives. Our customer base includes everyone who wishes to contribute less to the carbon footprint and take care of themselves in an environmentally responsible manner. Doing so is often difficult as a majority of such products are not affordable for regular use.
We replace the endless number of cosmetic products like face washes and shampoos that come in plastic tubes with recycle friendly, high quality plastic jars. The products are really affordable and last longer than similarly priced ones existing in the market. Our neem basil face wash concentrate for instance, has about 10,000 reviews on online marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon with people claiming to have used them for as long as 3-6 months. This is cheaper and sustainable in comparison to the regular face washes available in the market.
One of our novel products is the shampoo butter which is a butter-like shampoo base that removes the liquid aspect from regular shampoos. It is easy to carry while travelling, is quick and efficient in usage and is a great transitional product from the usual shampoos. In this manner, we bridge the gap between modern-day needs and sustainability with products that cater to every skin-type.
NICEorg wishes Rustic Art the best of luck in their journey ahead!
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