Rautakhet-based entrepreneur Anshuman Sen is uncomplicated. Hidden in the small town of Uttarakhand, he pursues a simple life in pace with the seasons of nature on his land. His organic skincare brand, Junaili, focuses on products that are safe, healthy and sustainable. But artisanal craftsmanship aside, Sen really believes in the importance of knowing each batch number. It's this hands-on approach that guarantees freshness, purity of the ingredients, and transparency of the process. And it's an approach that works and is slowly gaining traction across the world.
We caught up with him to see if we could learn more about his work:
To start off, what’s a really good piece of advice that you’ve been given?
Look ahead. Don't look back.
Why are quality and craftsmanship so important to you?
For us, the pursuit of high levels of craftsmanship and good quality is a constant process. When we repeat a process, we have an opportunity to improve.
If you want to develop a new product, what does that process look like?
We focus on first making high quality cold-pressed Apricot Oil and Scrub, both of which are useful in a variety of personal care products. Then we look for botanicals that can complement and augment the properties of our base ingredient. To give you an example, our Apricot Face Oil contains Geranium Essential Oil (which we source locally in Uttarakhand). Our formulations are simple, we focus on quality.
What is small-batch so important?
Making Apricot Oil is a long and labor intensive process and requires a lot of patience. The apricot seeds are first foraged from orchards and dried. We buy the seeds from villagers at a fair price. Then each seed is broken, one at a time, manually and the kernel is separated. This procedure is done by the ladies of our village and is a source of income for them. Once the kernels are collected, we cold press them under 49 degrees Celsius in a Japanese-style expeller. We test each batch in the lab to check for rancidity and impurities. Small-batch manufacturing is an integral part of Junaili.
What measures do you take to make sure Junaili is a responsible business?
We are honest about what we do and honest with our patrons.
How did you develop the branding for Junaili?
Junaili means 'moonlight' in Kumaoni. We didn't approach the process of creating an identity for Junaili as a brand. Junaili has always been Junaili. It revealed itself to us I think.
Who do you picture using your products?
Everyone. Junaili is for everyone.
Which item from your line would you recommend for a first-time buyer?
I would recommend first-time patrons to try our Apricot Body Oil and Apricot Body Scrub. Both these products have no additives and contain the goodness of Apricot Kernels.
The skincare industry is constantly evolving. What is your current perception of it?
We focus on making effective personal products from high quality ingredients at an affordable price. We don't really see ourselves as a skincare company. Junaili is about the place we live in. We have to do what we are doing sustainably.
Where do you find inspiration?
The pristine climate and tranquility of the Himalayas.
I can't say to be honest. We take things one day at a time.
Images by Junaili.