Rustic Art is a lifestyle brand started by two women, Sunita Jaju from Satara and Swati Maheshwari from Pune. This venture is purely driven by passion for nature and eco-friendly products. Sunita is a post graduate in Sustainable Development while Swati is an MBA in Communication Management. They both started the brand over a year ago to share the goodness of natural skin care and natural laundry with others. The duo talks to The Punekar about their eco-friendly venture and much more…
1. Why was Rustic Art started?
We started Rustic Art in late 2010 because we wanted to spread the goodness of using natural and organic personal care and home care products. We have always been very passionate about nature and eco-friendly practices. Rustic Art is just an extension of that very passion. At home, we always used natural alternatives to chemical based products for skin care, hair care, laundry cleaning, etc. We wanted to take it beyond the confines of our house and so we initiated the brand.
Our love for nature reflects through Rustic Art since the products are completely handmade therefore there isn’t any environmental degradation as no machinery is used. The packaging methods used by us eco friendly. The water that drains from the washing machines after using Rustic Art laundry products can be used for watering plants. The products that are part of the laundry range include no artificial fillers, chemicals, bleaches, etc.
2. Tell us about the products that Rustic Art offers.
Rustic Art offers a variety of handmade products like Organic Bathing Soaps that are found in 24 exotic fragrances, Natural Shampoo which are herbal those that include Aloe, Organic Hair Oil, Organic Massage Oil, Bio Laundry, Handmade Paper Soap, Natural Aloe Vera Gel and many more products.
We have special baby products including Organic Baby Soap, Organic Baby Oils, Organic Baby Shampoo and Little Laundry especially for delicate fabrics, silk, etc.
We are in the process of adding more products to this range.
3. How different are your products than the ones found in the market?
Sunita: Our products are completely handmade and contain no artificial fragrance or harmful chemicals. The products available in the market contain ingredients like SLS, SLeS, Triclosan, etc which can cause damage to the skin. These ingredients are present in baby products also. Our baby products are free of any such ingredients and are free of mineral oils as well. Thus, they are completely organic and safe for use on skin.
Swati: The products are very different from the other products available in the market in their making, packaging and use. At any point the ingredients are not heated at Rustic Art. The packaging is of handmade paper, recyclable plastic, cotton cloth, etc. While using any of the products, the quantity required is very less, making it value for money as well.
4. What are the essential components while starting up a business?
Sunita: I feel the essential component in our case was the belief and passion. One must be very passionate about the business he/she is getting into to be able to sustain it and take it forward successfully.
Swati: The ability to deal with initial hiccups while starting a new business is very essential. If one can overcome those, the road ahead can bring successful milestones.
5. What were the challenges that you faced or still face while running Rustic Art?
Sunita: The main challenge was to reach out to the market. We had the product ready but getting it to the right kind of retail outlets was a challenge which we eventually overcame.
Swati: I was still finishing my MBA when Rustic Art happened. Managing college and the work alongside was quite a challenge, but it all fell in place.
6. Handmade products end being expensive as compared to the products that are available in the market. What is your take on it?
Sunita: The problem is that when machines are used, the production is mass while when products are handmade, the production is slow paced. The taxation is same on mass produced goods and the handmade ones in the same category. The cost per unit increases manifold. However, Government can take various initiatives that will eventually make eco-friendly products easily accessible and affordable.
Swati: The ingredients used in chemical based products are very inexpensive while the ones used in natural/organic products are pure and of high quality. In case of organic products, the organic certification costs also add up to the cost of the final products and hence they become expensive.
7. If someone wishes to purchase your products where could they buy them? Do you have branches?
Sunita: In Pune, the products are available at Either Or on Bund Garden, Dorabjee’s in Camp and Viman Nagar, Nature’s Bounty at Koregaon Park and Swasthya World in Pimple Saudagar.
Swati: The products can also be purchased online through our website www.RusticArt.in
8. What plans do you have in mind for Rustic Art?
Sunita: Very soon we will be launching many other products such as lip balms, lotions, after shave, hair conditioners, body washes, etc.