For centuries before being stormed by western influences, India was a country close to its roots – close to nature. Be it the medical practices or the food consumed, Indians were known to respect, value and treasure the boons provided by nature. A quick look at the traditional forms of medicine and general healthcare would reveal the propensity of Indians towards natural ingredients. Apart from the six non-allopathic streams of medicine and general healthcare recognized today (Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Yoga, Naturopathy and Homoeopathy), there were hundreds of other forms healers which we lost over years of modernization.
In the 1970s, Hakim Mathura Das Kalia, a Unani practitioner living in a small Pind in Punjab – Raikot, had spent his entire life studying the Unani-way of healing and believed that nature had provided us with everything that we needed, to live a healthier life. His granddaughter – Ms Navnit Mehra – born and brought up in Delhi, used to visit her Nanaji (grandfather) once every few months. This starry-eyed girl would be fascinated with the Bhasmas and Pishtis (prepared from detoxified and purified drug substance by grinding in the mortar and pestle) made by her Nanaji. There would be times when he slept in the dispensary as he would be busy preparing medicines. This was all highly intriguing for this 10-year old girl who would watch in awe as people from around the world would line up outside their house, every day, to seek her Nanaji’s advice and medicines.
These were two different worlds for Navnit – the one created by her Nanaji based on traditional and Ayurvedic methods of living and the one she lived in Delhi. Stark contrasts with each other. As time went by, Navnit’s visit to her Nanaji reduced as her studies started taking precedence. She would still somehow manage to visit him once a year – his belief and knowledge in the healing properties of nature would pull her towards natural and organic living. She often wondered why people didn’t realize the potential of natural ingredients around them but chose the more advertised ways of getting treated, especially in a city like Delhi. Since the first day that she had set foot in her Nanaji’s dispensary, Navnit had aspired to become a doctor and help people. However, the costs involved were too high for her family and hence she was unable to pursue her dreams.
She was soon married and her visits to Raikot reduced further. One day she received the sad news of her Nanaji’s demise. The sky came crashing on her head – he was her hero, role model and an unshakeable pillar of knowledge and strength. It was a difficult time for Navnit but she took it in her stride and made a silent promise to her Nanaji – She will pursue her passion in Ayurveda and the traditional ways of healing. After his death, his son took his place and continued healing people. Navnit, on the other hand, had lost her anchor and slowly her visits to her Nanaji’s house stopped. As time went by and her son, Arjoon Mehra started growing up, she focused all her energies on his upbringing. However, she always had a nagging feeling in the back of her mind – she needed to live up to her dream and the promise she made to her Nana after his death.
Arjoon Mehra, was an entrepreneur at heart. There is a thing about entrepreneurs; they believe in the saying – “Life is too short to be working for someone else’s dream.” Arjoon was harbouring similar thoughts from a very young age. He tried his hands at a few business but failed. He worked hard and didn’t leave any stone unturned. But somehow success eluded him. He knew that he was missing a basic element that defines the success of any entrepreneur – a Dream.
It was a cool Sunday evening in Delhi; Navnit was sitting with Arjoon sipping on a cup of tea. Arjoon had completed his studies from XLRI and was exploring things that he wanted to do next. Navnit was helping him clear some cobwebs in his mind and cited some examples from her past experiences. As the conversation continued, she told him about the influence of her Nanaji in detail, her dream and the promise that she had made to him. Arjoon was aware of his great grandfather’s knowledge and popularity. However, he was unaware of the impact it had on his mother and the promise she made. Arjoon listened intently to what his mother had to say but somewhere deep inside the entrepreneur had opened his ears too.
A few weeks later Arjoon happened to visit a small organic farm on the outskirts of Jamshedpur. What really caught his attention was the manufacture of skin care products using the organic produce. His mind raced back to the series of little chats he had with his mother about her immense knowledge and passion towards the traditional ways of healing. This little tribal village set-up finally gave Arjoon what he was looking for – the Dream. He decided that he would use his entrepreneurial spirit and his mother’s passion for Ayurveda and manufacture skin care products that are true to nature.
This was the beginning of Greenberry Organics. What followed was days, weeks and months of research, sleepless nights and long conversations with experts having different specialities. For Arjoon, the vision was simple – turning his mother’s dream of making people aware of the healing properties of nature into a reality. For Navnit, these months were exhilarating and satisfying. She couldn’t have asked for a better way of fulfilling her dream than being supported by her son! However, the journey had only just begun.
During his research, Arjoon found that people were too focused on finding the harmful effects of using chemicals in products and were blindly buying anything that claimed to be natural/herbal. He also found the amazing benefits of Ayurveda and the dying art of Apothecary. Ayurveda, as most people know, is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing. The art of Apothecary, on the other hand, is relatively unknown to many. Historically, people used herbs and/or minerals to create powders and mixtures to heal/cure various medical or overall health concerns. When Arjoon shared his findings with Navnit, they both finally saw a light at the end of a seemingly dark tunnel. They decided to blend the science of Ayurveda and the art of Apothecary to create products that would help people understand and experience the true potential of nature and the ingredients derived from it without the use of any chemicals. Once the approach was clear, the next step was to understand the areas where people could see the benefits of using natural ingredients quickly. After a lot of deliberation and talking to many people, Arjoon realized that most people today wanted to take extra care of their skin and didn’t prefer the use of the conventional toxin chemicals which are popular among lower-priced over the counter products.
Navnit resonated with this thought since some years back, she had also gone through a period of having heavy pigmentation on her face. During this phase, all her friends and family would make pointy comments about the pigmented patches on her face. Navnit had resorted to staying indoors as all those comments were not any good to her confidence. Eventually, at the behest of Arjoon, she had tried using some natural remedies for the same and within weeks the pigmentation started fading off.
So, Greenberry Organics now had a clearer vision to begin creating products – use Ayurveda and Apothecary to create a blend which helps people manage skincare-related problems effectively. Arjoon knew that once people started experiencing the benefits of these ingredients, they would research more and ensure that they stick to organic and natural products as far as they can. While developing the products, Arjoon was determined to keep chemicals like BHT, Silicones, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, DEA, TEA, Phthalates, Phosphates, any Artificial fillers, SLES/SLS and Parabens away from the list of ingredients. Greenberry Organics offers a 24-month shelf life on their products (if unopened). After opening, the recommended use is within six months since they use ECOCERT certified 100% natural botanical preservatives which are imported from Germany.
Both Navnit and Arjoon were determined to offer 100% Natural and Ayurvedic products to people of a quality that had never been manufactured before. They introduced 100% plant derived and BIO Active ingredients like Sun Cat DETM, Nipa Guard SCETM, PentavitinTM, Organic refined MuruMuru ButterTM, Pracaxi Oil ComplexTM, etc. They also went a step further and became the first brand in India to get ECOCERT Certification. All the ingredients used by them have been certified by the Natural Products Association (NPA), USA – the first and only natural products certification in the USA followed by manufacturers around the world. Greenberry Organics is also brings 100% transparency with the consumers and include the complete list of ingredients used which is not a common practice in India.
After a lot of research and inputs from experts, Greenberry Organics launched their first product on 24th October 2016 - MUDASH 3 in 1 Face Mask, Scrub and Cleanser™. This product is a blend of 14 natural extracts and can be used as a face mask, cleanser and scrub. Everyone who used this product loved it and soon Greenberry Organics was on its way to developing an arsenal of skincare solutions. Navnit realized that not many women get the opportunity to realize their dreams the way she did and decided to make Greenberry Organics a women-centric organization with 75% employees being women (Which does include the post-production team mainly packaging staff).
The mom-son duo after months of hard work has embarked on their journey of realizing their dreams. They are fulfilling their entrepreneurial aspirations and contributing their bit to the community by using environmentally safe ingredients which are bio-degradable and do not harm the natural resources.