My name is Arush Chopra and I am the CEO and co-founder of Just Herbs- a line of pure, bespoke and Ayurvedic results-driven skin and hair care made from certified organic and wildcrafted ingredients collected from across India.
The Just Herbs journey began when my mother, Dr Neena Chopra, an award-winning biochemist, started mixing herbs, plants and flowers to make lotions and potions at our family-owned garden lab in Mohali in northern India.
In spite of being a gold medalist at university, Mom never really got a chance to apply the knowledge she had gained in her work or in her daily life.
She would often say, “There has to be more to life than a mundane 9-5!”
After much contemplation and a final cathartic moment, the day came. She quit her banking job to study Ayurveda, the subject she had felt a calling towards all her life. This was a time when words such as ‘organic’, ‘natural’ and ‘ayurvedic’ were not as popular as they are today and there was no real market for Ayurvedic products in India.
Driven by her passion alone, she immersed herself in Ayurvedic texts such as Bhavprakash, Charak Samhita and began unravelling the similarities and dichotomies between western science and traditional Indian Ayurvedic wisdom.
I grew up watching my mother constantly come up with new formulations that would address some or the other skin or hair related issues. The efficacy of these products was proven to me whenever I would gift them to friends or relatives.
“This stuff is so amazing, Arush! Why can’t we buy them anywhere?,” was what I’d often hear.
A MOTHER'S LABOR OF LOVE
Mom is clearly not a marketing person. She and numbers can never fit inside the same frame in harmony. She is averse to understanding the nuances of scaling a business. But you must see her in her lab!
She radiates such inspiration that I have come to believe that watching someone in their space is witnessing them in absolute glory! Identifying herbs, plants and flowers in Ayurvedic texts and turning them into easy-to-use modern-day products that are safe, pure and effective - Mom makes it seem so simple.
TRANSFORMING MY MOTHER's PASSION INTO A MOVEMENT
I have always admired my mother for her passion, but it was only several years later in 2014 that I got interested in joining her. This came about when Megha, my life partner and now the brand director at Just Herbs, showed me the two huge gaps in the Indian beauty market that needed to be filled.
The first being the tough choice that so many of us, as consumers, have to make between safety and effectiveness while buying a product from the plethora of so-called “natural” beauty products.
The second being the lack of innovation in the natural beauty products’ space which has left a lot of existing consumers to turn to chemically driven counterparts to fulfil their needs.
Megha and I dreamt of creating a skincare range that no matter what product you pick up, it would not only disclose all the ingredients but also deliver the results that it promised. We were in Singapore at the time working corporate jobs when we realised what a treasure we had at home because the products from Mom’s kitchen were exactly what we had in mind!
So, we quit our jobs and moved to Chandigarh where we are still headquartered. We joined Mom at our facility in Mohali and worked with her.
When we started Just Herbs back in 2014, our vision was to create a brand that stands not only for luxury but also contributes towards building a world where beauty is more inclusive, transparent and wholesome!
Since then, we have come a long way… from crowdsourcing India’s first beauty product in 2018 and launching India’s first Ayurvedic Micellar Water in 2019 to being featured in top publications both within and outside India. But some things remain the same. We continue to work on improving the ingredients and packaging and securing raw material supply agreements with the best organic farms across India.
WHY JUST HERBS ?
There were about 784 “natural” skincare brands in India the last time I counted, and there are many more being launched as you read this.
There is a 'gold-rush' in the wellness space.
Profit-driven corporations who have scant regard for consumers’ safety and health have now suddenly turned towards products that are marketed as “green” and “eco-friendly”.
In a world where anyone and everyone is using terms like “natural”, “organic”, “ayurvedic” so loosely, how does one figure out the good from the not-so-good and steer clear of the stuff that isn’t actually good? And how is Just Herbs any different ?
We stand for three very basic things that we believe are lacking in the Indian beauty market…
Safety, Honesty and Effectiveness
Allow me to explain…
Safety: You could do this with your eyes closed.
Pick up any product from Just Herbs and you will notice that are no Sulphates, Parabens, GMOs, bleaching agents or any other carcinogenic or harsh chemicals in it. In fact, if there is a controversy around an ingredient, instead of getting into a debate about whether it is harmful or otherwise, we will simply stop using it.
Honesty: We believe in full ingredient disclosure. It is quite common in India for beauty companies to not disclose all ingredients on their product labels. Products are touted as organic with only 3-4 key ingredients mentioned on the label and the rest of the ingredients are shown as “base qs” or “cleansing base”.
Check out this article published by the Economic Times discussing how important full ingredient disclosure is.
At Just Herbs, we tell you each and every ingredient that goes into making our products not only on the label but also on our website.
Effectiveness: Fancy packaging, slick advertising and tall claims have been the staple menu of the beauty industry for years. We believe, such tactics can help sell a product but only once. If a product does not deliver results, it is a dud; no matter how pretty or luxurious the packaging might be! Hence, our focus has always been on creating products that work without compromising on their purity or the Ayurvedic principles they are based on.
Here is to more lessons and growth,
CEO, Just Herbs