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Updated: March 20, 2014 17:54 IST

A name for herself

Liza George
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Seena T.R. sowed the seeds for a new beginning with flax seeds. Photo: S. Gopakumar
The Hindu
Seena T.R. sowed the seeds for a new beginning with flax seeds. Photo: S. Gopakumar

Seena T.R. has her own line of health and beauty products

When life hands you lemons, you can choose to sit and crib, or do as the proverbial phrase says, make lemonade.

Seena T.R. has taken the lemons life has given her and started her own line of beauty and health products under the brand name Punarjjani. She was perhaps one of the first to sense the potential flax seed, green tea and white tea has for the city market. This was in 2009.

“I was running an Ayurvedic beauty clinic called Punarjjani when Kunchok Viegas, a client, introduced me to these products. Realising its benefits for myself, especially that of the flax seed, started sourcing the tea leaves and flax seeds from North India and began packaging and selling them at my clinic under the name, Punarjjani.

“As the demand for these products increased, I shifted the packaging of the goods to a 900 square feet shed at Mini Industrial Estate, Malayinkeezh. The government has granted me a 2000 square feet lot now. I need to seek a loan to construct a small factory at the property. Apart from supplying the products at my clinic, and at various beauty parlours, I also market the goods at beauty conventions and workshops,” says Seena, who has since added ragi, artificial sweetener, aloe vera juice and health mix for babies to the list of health products.

In 2012, the savvy businesswoman launched a line of Ayurvedic beauty products. From fairness packs to hair oils under the Punarjjani brand, Seena has come far.

However, life was not always gentle to Seena. Diagnosed with polio at birth, Seena took her first steps at four after a long period of treatment. A marriage that did not fare well led to her moving to Hyderabad where she assisted her brother, Binu, at his Ayurveda clinic.

“I love mathematics and hold a degree in accountancy. Having a keen mind, I started learning the intricacies from the various doctors at the clinic; I absorbed the best from each of them. In fact, I have learnt to tell from the texture of the skin, the tone in the eyes… what a person is ailing from,” says Seena. After working at the clinic for two years, the Kochi-bred Seena moved to Thiruvananthapuram and started learning from a practitioner of naturopathy.

It was in 2007 that Seena opened Punarjjani, a wellness clinic at Jawahar Nagar. The clinic has now moved to Sasthamangalam. “At first, I received only one or two customers a month. However, by the end of the year, I started receiving a decent clientele through word of mouth. Most of my customers were from the business industry and they were the ones who encouraged me to dream big!,” says the 46-year-old.

And dream big she did. However, the journey towards starting the product lines was a bumpy one. “I had to enter in and out of banks as many were prejudiced as I was a woman. Their snide remarks and their dismissal of my ambition, made me more determined to succeed.”

Seena says she is lucky she has a strong female staff that is behind her, every step of the way. “My staff of eight consists of women who have come through various trials and tribulations themselves. For them, I am an anchor; we are a family. For me and my staff, Punarjjani has been a punarjananam, a rebirth. We hope to make the most out of this new lease in life. I now dream of owning a modest property of my own in which I can build a multi-storied building which will house my clinic, an old age facility unit, a manufacturing and production unit of the Punarjjani products… all under one roof as it will be easier to manage.”

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