PALAKKAD: But for her resolute mother, KA Anciya and her siblings would not even have acquired a formal education. After her father abandoned them, she saw how her mother, Tahira, struggled to make ends meet and raise the three children. Anciya also picked up how her mother prepared skincare products from natural ingredients for domestic use. Years later, after her marriage in 2017, Anciya hit upon the idea of leveraging the traditional knowledge her mother had gained over the years. And she set about producing cosmetics and skincare products like kohl, lip balm and hair oil, among others.
“My mother used to prepare ayurvedic hair oil for us. It involved slow boiling of herbs in coconut oil. But we were sceptical of its benefits, and applied it as a routine,” recalls the 26-year-old Kallekkad resident. After the birth of her daughter, Anciya found the baby had a small hairless patch on her head. So Tahira told her to apply their hair oil. “Once I applied it, hair began to sprout. That instilled confidence in me to make something out of my mother’s knowledge,” Anciya says.
She then posted the preparation of the hair oil and kohl (kajal) on YouTube. Many people appreciated. But to her surprise, enquiries started coming in for the oil as it was chemical-free. “It dawned on me that people were busy and had no time to prepare it.”And since her mother was behind the preparation, she chose to name the product ‘Ummees Naturals’.
Gradually, Anciya began making kohl with organic ingredients. Now she runs a unit that employs 25 people in Malappuram and makes around 40 cosmetic products, earning around Rs 3 lakh per month. Anciya’s husband Ramsheed, who was into graphic designing, too has been supporting her efforts.
“Our products include soaps and personalised beauty care products like shampoos, creams and gels. We market the products mainly through social media,” he says.
Unlike many other herbal practitioners, Anciya doesn’t attempt to conceal the ingredients and the method of preparation in her social media posts. “This helps ensure these skincare products are genuine and free of chemicals,” she points out.
Recounting the hardship in childhood, the young entrepreneur says her father, Abdul Rehman, took Tahira to Kollam. It was an unknown place for her and was left to fend for herself and the three children -- Ashif, Aftab and Anciya.
“My mother worked as a domestic help and would toil day and night. Even at the house where she was working, she would cultivate vegetables,” says Anciya, who married Ramsheed after completing Plus II.