In the beginning...
Kasturi wasn’t looking for a business idea. It was something far more personal.
It was 2014 and she was a young mother with twins. Her little girl had just been diagnosed with a rare metabolic disorder, and nothing seemed to work. She was looking for ways to increase her daughter’s immunity, reading about everything she could, and trying different approaches. That’s when someone suggested aromatherapy.
Kasturi quit her job with a consulting firm and took her first step towards understanding and studying alternative therapies. And also, perhaps therein lay the genesis of Oleum Cottage. Her first ever trial was a blend of basil, eucalyptus, clove, sesame, soybean and neem, to work on simple coughs and colds. It worked so well that it paved the way for their first formulation - Immunity
Boosting Body Lotion.
Oleum Cottage was formally launched in October 2017. A month later, Vidhi came across Kasturi on a social media chat group, although both believe that fate had something to do with it. Vidhi had been dealing with her own skin issues which had led her on own journey of knowing more about therapeutic
oils and she ended up formulating many products for herself and was looking at ways extend this knowledge to the world.
When they finally met each other, they found themselves connecting similar dots in their stories. They found reassurance not only in their shared beliefs in holistic living and spirituality but also in the pursuit of their craft. Many experiments together with different oils, and exchange of notes on why and why nots, the two became more determined than ever to share their knowledge and discovery with a larger group of people. And so, it was a matter of time before Vidhi left her job with an MNC to join Kasturi at Oleum Cottage.
Together, they continued to encourage and push each other, and grew the OC range from five formulations to a robust bouquet of 29 formulations including face cleansers, tonics and creams; treatment oils and lotions; hair oils and serums, men’s grooming, foot care and lip butters. Each formulation is freshly hand-
blended using cold pressed vegetable oils, therapeutic grade essential oils and unrefined butters, from a carefully curated and meticulously researched list of over 80 rare ingredients from around the world; each one historically known for its therapeutic benefits.
From a small boutique store in Powai where we started making fresh, artisanal, apothecary-style skincare to a flagship store in Bandra, it has been a journey of constant unlearning and learning.
There are some things however that have stayed the same, and always will – the intent with which they started Oleum Cottage.
An alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and IIM Calcutta But in my heart I have always been the girl from the small town of Durgapur. And as I grow older, am even more keen to nurture that part of me. I want to focus on creating something truly valuable for myself, and people around me; and living simply. It brings me a smile
when I think that I truly find value in old school parenting, natural remedies for hair, skin and general wellbeing. My mother always said, “One day…” and well, the day did come.
My friends often say am an old soul. Maybe I am. I have always believed in the magic of alternate therapies, meditation and healing. There was something very calming about it, in a non-intrusive yet holistic way.
Honestly, if you ask me, it all started with tackling my own acne – at first experiments with dermatological peels and treatments, and finally coming a full circle, embracing the power of natural oils for healing from within.