Empower, enrich and thrive with Pahadi Local

Recently in Hyderabad and Chennai for skincare workshops, the brand’s founder Jessica Jayne recounts her love story with both planet and people

April 11, 2019 02:55 pm | Updated 02:55 pm IST

Pahadi Local founder Jessica Jayne

Pahadi Local founder Jessica Jayne

“I’m a graduate in Economics but I often find myself using my instincts more,” says Pahadi Local founder Jessica Jayne when discussing her sustainable business strategies.

But this makes sense given the profoundly touching origin story of the brand, which fascinated many people at her recent skincare sessions at Good Earth in Hyderabad and in Chennai.

Back to basics

For two and a half years, Jessica removed herself from the chaos of Mumbai. She found herself in the misty hill stations of Shimla, swathed by greenery, fresh air and a community so loving, she made connections of a lifetime. She also discovered the power of apricot kernel oil which she calls “serendipitous,” which kickstarted the idea to start Pahadi Local. “I don’t go anywhere without it. Before it was only to use on my facial skin which was peeling while I lived in Shimla, but now I use it post-workout, as my moisturiser and so on.”

“When you live in the mountains and go back to a very simple life, everything is simplified and you see everything so much more clearly. In the cities, we do tend to complicate our lives. Pahadi Local’s core philosophy reflects that leaning towards simplicity and clarity. Working with the locals at a grassroots level and living in their homes, I knew this whole thing wouldn’t be about taking something away from them and become a famous brand. They were the reason.” That’s where Pahadi Empower and Pahadi Preserve – the brand’s two green ethos – come in; their Fair Pricing philosophy, according to Jessica, is one the key mazes she’s had to navigate. She wanted to make sure everything puts the people of Shimla first.

Happy participants at Jessica Jayne’s workshop

Happy participants at Jessica Jayne’s workshop

“Ethical sourcing is one of my concerns,” she states, “and there are a few products which already see a limit in terms of how much we will take from the mountains. For example, the honey; we can get much more of it but I feel the more you take – which is beyond a certain limit – it’s going to have an adverse reaction to the environment itself and growing it back is a long process. We don’t want to put a strain on the supply chain. We have to be conscious and say ‘enough’.” Jessica also informs that Pahadi Local wants to ditch plastic bottles in which they store their products, adding alternatives are being considered and pursued.

In the Ladakh area, Jessica adds that she and her team helped rejuvenate one of the more dilapidated villages using solar panels and adding a community centre, thus empowering the people of the community. “I want the people to also pursue something vocational because they’re not always harvesting product,” she adds. “We also want to give them sewing machines this year.”

Happy participants at Jessica Jayne’s workshop

Happy participants at Jessica Jayne’s workshop

Southern sensibilities

Closer to home, where Jessica relayed her story and recommended various skincare tips, she shares she had a blast connecting with Hyderabad. “The people of Hyderabad honestly asked the most intelligent questions,” she recalls fondly. “It was my first time to Hyderabad and I just loved it.” But her soprano voice dips a bit when she says, “What I found unsettling was people in both Chennai and in Hyderabad often asked me, ‘will this product make me fair?’ It made me feel really sad so I told them ‘we are an awareness brand and do not promote whitening. You are beautiful!’ ” I can practically see her shaking her head but not losing love for the two cities.

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