Blossom Kochhar has been pioneering aromatherapy for long. Though a core philosophy, that's just a part of what she does
Aromatherapy is an ancient science. But then, the one person who is mentioned in the same breath as aromatherapy in the country is Blossom Kochhar — who turned her belief in the therapeutic properties of essential oils and natural fragrances into a lifestyle concept and industry, with much success too.
A hair and beauty expert, educationist, entrepreneur and writer, Blossom has her fingers in many pies, with one common ingredient — wellness. The Blosssom Kochhar College of Creative Arts & Design (BKCCAD), through Pivot Point India, has been offering salon education to thousands of future professionals every year (a big leap from the days when paucity of practical lessons in training made her bribe people to sit for haircuts by offering them Rs.20 each). Her company Aroma Magic, offering aromatherapy in tubes and bottles (following an initial series of trial and errors), even counts Richard Gere as a fan, while the Blossom Kochhar Spa & Salon Division offers spa and salon services, consultation, spa products and education.
“I love the teaching. Of course, developing a product is also something I relish. If you see, it actually goes together,” says Blossom.
Schooled in Ooty, Blossom found her calling early, being administered eucalyptus and lavender during illness and stress (exams) during boarding school at Nazareth's Convent, and giving friends haircuts on weekends. After her marriage to Col. Virendar Kochhar, Blossom moved to Wellington. It was along with him that she founded the Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies. The story of how they met is an interesting, albeit funnily painful, one.
“It was at a golf course in Bangalore. I teed off and since he was in the way the ball went and hit him. I was so embarrassed… I knew it would have hurt a lot. I was feeling extremely guilty even after going home so I called him up to apologise. A few days later he asked me out,” Blossom recalls. “We went to watch a movie, and I remember he dozed off. So there you go — getting hit by a golf ball and sleeping through a movie.”
Having been in Delhi for about three decades now, the changes in the city, she says, are palpable. “Delhi had more open spaces. When we had started our schools on the way to the airport, I didn't know how to get the teachers in and out.” She adds, “Now the food is wonderful and the malls are nice.”
Daughter Samantha, a well-known beauty expert in her own right, takes care of the education division.
Blossom Kochhar is also the President of Organisation Mondial Coiffure, Paris, and Inter Coiffure – India, an organisation of hairstylists pioneering innovation and trends in the field. The aim, she says, is to “show off India to the rest of the world, especially in the area of bridal.” “Indians have a different texture of hair. We want to give India that visibility internationally.”
A step in this direction is the annual competition India Cup Open, organised by Blossom Kochhar-founded National Hair and Beauty Association (NHBA), to be held in Chennai in September this time. The winner proceeds to take part in Hairworld in Paris.
After All You Need to Know About Hair, Skin and Beauty Care, Health and Beauty through Aromatherapy, and How to Manage Your Salon, more books are in the pipeline, specifically on aromatherapy and ayurveda and crystal and colour therapy.
Along with the opening of a new branch of BKCCAD, diversification into photography and nails is also on the anvil.
A long career has many memorable moments, a few of which stand out more than the rest. These included doing the hair and makeup for the Miss World contestants in 1996, when India played host. The year 2000, a golden year for India at international beauty pageants (when Lara Dutta, Priyanka Chopra and Dia Mirza brought home the Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Asia-Pacific crowns respectively) was a memorable one for Blossom too — she was in charge of hair and make-up for Priyanka Chopra in her post-victory appearances. “It was a mad time. The hotel room would be swarming with people so Priyanka would sit on the bathtub and I would stand behind her and do her hair,” Blossom grins.
Blossom's Qutub Colonnade store had a surprise visitor one day — Richard Gere. “He walked into the store once and picked up ‘Dreams' (an essential oil). Ever since, whenever he's in Delhi on his way to Dharamshala, he drops by at the store.”