Text by Sadaf Shaikh. Photographed by Mallika Chandra
What is the meaning of Satliva and how does it fit in with your brand philosophy?
At Satliva, we manufacture products using hemp seed oil as our main ingredient. Hemp seeds are used from a strain of the cannabis plant called Sativa. We coined the name Satliva to reflect a way of life centered around Sativa.
You source hemp from farmers who live at the foothills of the Himalayas. Has this been impeded in any way during the lockdown? If so, how are you working around it?
Our association with the farmers who supply hemp to us goes beyond a business partnership. We are committed to improving their living conditions. We were fully stocked when the lockdown began, but we wanted to do something for the farmers who were in dire straits financially since they were unable to transport the hemp, so we directed their stock to our godowns. We are still hashing out the logistics because the transportation is taking time but we’re happy to help the community in whatever capacity we can.
How are hemp products beneficial for the skin during monsoon?
Humidity is at an all-time high during the rainy season and combined with the fluctuating heat — characteristic of India’s monsoons — causes the production of sebum to skyrocket. Greasy skin is a hotbed of bacteria and viruses and clogs the skin pores leading to acne breakouts. Natural products are a great way of maintaining skin hygiene and hemp seed oil has essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals which help fight bacteria. Hemp products also heal from within and safeguard the skin against infections. At Satliva, we extract fresh hemp seed oil through a cold-pressed process so that our customers can reap maximum benefits from our products.
Do you face any challenges while promoting your products given the negative association with hemp, which is often misidentified as marijuana? What efforts have you made towards resolving them?
Marketing our products is tough as there is a certain degree of stigma associated with hemp and its founders so you have to educate your customers before getting into specifics about the product. Initially, we’d make it a point to be present at almost every flea market so that we could have personalised, one-on-one interactions with our audience and communicate the benefits of our products, debunk myths about hemp as well as convey the importance of switching to a 100% natural skincare regime. Promoting our brand on social media is also challenging as hemp is sometimes mistaken for narcotics and our posts are banned if we use it as a keyword/hashtag. Only after repeated appeals do they allow a few ads.
How does Satliva’s plastic-free packaging fit into the bigger picture when third-party delivery services use plastic while shipping the products?
As a 100% natural and eco-friendly brand, it only made sense for us to have plastic-free packaging. In the beginning, we experimented with glass containers and other non-plastic packaging, but then we came across aluminium tins, which turned out to be ideal for our products. We used glass containers for the oils — that was non-negotiable in our book. All our products are prepared as and when we receive orders so there is never any excess inventory or wastage. We mostly sell through our website, and when customers shop via Amazon or other e-commerce sites, they redirect the orders to us and we ship them ourselves. That way, there is no scope for third-party delivery services to use plastic either.
Tell us about the ingredients and formulations of Satliva’s shampoo and soap bars which have made them one of your bestselling products.
We extract and infuse hemp seed oil into other ingredients like castor oil, coconut oil, palm oil, argan oil, activated charcoal and lemongrass oil as per the number of orders we receive and process on any given day. The soaps and shampoo bars are made in small batches as they require time for curing. Our list of ingredients has been exclusively selected to address different skin types and issues — for example, the Hemp With Moringa Body Soap Bar helps control acne while the Hemp With Avocado Body Soap Bar prevents dryness. We began making the soaps in our kitchen and conducted research on them for almost five years to perfect our formulations. We don’t believe in having a wide range of products for the sake of being versatile; we’d rather have limited, efficient products in each category.