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Soaps, Suds and Monkey Business

A home-grown brand takes the goodness of age-old wellness remedies to concoct the purest of beauty products.

Published: 27th July 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th July 2014 09:45 AM   |  A+A-

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According to ancient scriptures, bathing has always been considered a sacred ritual. But the present-day chemical soaps, seem to take away the true essence of the purification process. Keeping that in mind, Bangalore-based Mayura Kadur and Kaavya Nag, childhood friends, decided to go back to their mothers and grandmothers to concoct the purest of soaps with Indian fragrances, and raw materials like turmeric, gram flour, rose petals, etc. And, thus began the story of Do Bandar.

“Making soaps is not as complex as it is made out to be,” explains Mayura, when asked how she, a qualified dentist, joined the business of making natural soaps. The duo attended The Valley School in Bangalore, where students were taught to make things, including weaving textile, making natural soaps, etc. But it was not until about two years ago that the two took to soap-making seriously.

“I was reading up on the process, and realised that soaps could be made in a simple manner out of pure natural ingredients without adding chemicals,” says Mayura. Kaavya, who holds a masters degree in wildlife conservation and biology, was in Vietnam, when Mayura introduced her to the art of soap making, she decided to return. On her return, the duo began extracting the secrets of homemade soaps from their grandmothers. Every soap they made, they tested on family and friends. Their mothers turned out to be their greatest critics, even when it was about the packaging.

Once the soap formula was ready, Mayura and Kaavya wanted to set up a business model that would help rural women attain self-sufficiency and provide them a platform to earn a living with pride. Devamma and Lakshamma were the first two recruits at Do Bandar, and now they have mastered the soapy business. “So much so, that now when we go to the farm to make soaps, they scold us and point out where we are going wrong,” shares Mayura. The women, who are illiterate, can now identify product labels, prides Mayura. Do Mayura and Kaavya plan to employ and train more women? “That is the dream,” chirps Mayura. 

Over the last two years, Do Bandar has created a niche for itself, still there remains some apprehension. “Our clients are worried we will not sustain ourselves long enough in the market. They like our products and don’t want us to just stop production one day,” reveals Mayura. While Do Bandar’s production capacity is higher than its current production, the demand does not match the production capacity yet. Do Bandar uses eco-friendly packaging material in addition to employing best practices while making soaps. “Our products are now priced higher than regular hygiene products, but once our production increases, the prices will drop,” assures Mayura. The duo also believes that although their green footprint is small right now, these humble beginnings will snowball soon.

In addition to soaps, Do Bandar also offers scrubs and masks. Shampoos are up next, we hear. Do Bandar’s parent company Vara Naturals has two other product lines—Coconess and Noor. Coconess is virgin coconut oil. “We administered Coconess to our ailing dog Chuti, (meaning cunning in Kannada) and the tumors she was afflicted with vanished in a few months,” says Mayura. While the duo says they do not understand what really happened, it does seem like Coconess has magical properties. Noor is a line of opulent bathing accompaniments derived from the rich recipes of the Mughals.

BEAUTY FIRST

■ Bangalore-based Mayura Kadur and Kaavya Nag, childhood friends, decided to go back to their mothers and grandmothers to concoct the purest of soaps.

■ In addition to soaps, Do Bandar also offers scrubs and masks. Shampoos are up next.

■ Do Bandar’s parent company Vara Naturals has two other product lines—Coconess and Noor.



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