Introducing Abhati Suisse to the Figue Family!
Abhati Suisse is an ethically-minded skincare brand, founded by Anju Rupal, and deeply influenced by its Indian heritage. Anju has dedicated her company to give back to girls in India, as well as improve the environment, two causes which are close to Figue's heart. Abhati works tirelessly to empower the craftspeople involved in the production of its products, and also funds local education initiatives. Each Abhati product sold sends a girl in rural India to school for at least a week.
We not only love Abhati for it's charitable aspect, but we are also obsessed with its all-natural ingredients, incredible scent, and that it really does make our skin and hair glow.
Abhati and Anju's unique story aligns perfectly with Figue's ethos, and we could not imagine a more perfect pairing!
We asked Abhati's founder, Anju Rupal, to tell us more about what inspires her and what's next for her incredible company.
What inspired you to start Abhati Suisse?
I was inspired by my own personal journey. I was a social worker working on gender inequality by running an organization that provides aid to women fleeing domestic abuse. Then, by default, I became an entrepreneur, and later a philanthropist.
I first launched a foundation called weforest.org, which plants trees worldwide as a means to address climate change. Trees really are the best technology we have to cool the earth. To date, WeForest has planted 20 million trees globally, which is something I am immensely proud of.
During this work, I met some phenomenal farmers and families in northern India who now work with us directly at Abhati, and we source our ingredients from them.
Our giving doesn’t stop with the farmers. I realized that there were many girls not going to school in rural India, so we later built that into our pay it forward mantra. Every product sold sends a girl to school through our partnership with www.educategirls.ngo.
What are some of your favorite products in the line?
Our rare face oil, Kaylana, because it’s based on an ancient recipe that one of our farmers randomly shared with me during a visit to their farms. He told me that local legend has it that Kaylana was used by a warrior princess named Chitrangada, who used it to heal her battle wounds. She shared this beautiful oil with other female warriors and it was passed down through generations. The local men and women have such incredible hair and skin, and the story behind this magical oil was so compelling, so we just had to introduce it to the world.
I love to mix Kaylana with my foundation for a light coverage, but I also use it alone at night for it's healing effect. It’s really fantastic nutrition for the skin and is 100% organic and cold-pressed in the Himalayas through a special extraction method we use for our seeds. All the work is done by hand like it was many centuries ago, and we limit annual production to avoid over-farming. And the end result leaves you with a special glow. We call it liquid gold!
I also love all of our hair products and love hearing how they have helped our customers achieve healthy, strong hair thanks to the careful balance of nutrients. But I think the real reason I love them is because our hair products feel like polished and luxurious versions of the potions my grandmother used to mix in her kitchen and slap on my hair and skin when I was growing up.
What are you passionate about?
Travel! I love immersing myself in new cultures and exploring the world. And design - it feeds my love of aesthetics, which you see reflected in our beautiful packaging. And of course, dance. If there’s one thing you should know about Indians, it’s that we love to dance, and we’ll dance any chance we get. I’m usually the last one left on the dance floor and have to be dragged off by my husband!
What's your dream destination?
Bhutan. They say it’s the happiest place in the world.
What are 2 things people don’t know about you?
As a 20-year-old student in London and an active Greenpeace member, I landed in jail to “cool down" during a big demonstration. At a very young age, that experience taught me the power of economics. I knew that one day, I would give capitalism a heart and use money to benefit people and the planet.
Also, I religiously tongue scrape every morning after brushing my teeth. It’s a part of my Indian heritage that has always stayed with me.
What star sign are you?
Aquarius, which is probably why I built a career as a social worker. Aquarians tend to be humanistic, so it’s in my nature to want to help people.
What is your favorite animal?
Elephants. I collect them in all shapes and sizes when I travel.
Who is your dream person to have a meal with?
The Dalai Lama would be my dream. I got close to realizing that dream and received lots of wisdom when I spent three days with Matthieu Richard in the Himalayas around the time I was starting Abhati. Matthieu is the Dalai Lama’s French translator and also a practicing monk.
What is your biggest wish?
The end of poverty. It makes my travels to India and other countries very hard because you witness such extreme poverty all around you. However, these experiences are also my greatest motivators to grow Abhati and maximize our social impact. Knowing that we are helping give girls a future through education and hopefully saving them from extreme poverty and a life of prostitution, makes the challenges and frustrations of building a brand easy to handle. It’s nothing compared to what these girls would otherwise face in country where only 1 out of 100 women obtain a high school education.
What's next for Abhati Suisse?
We have exciting new products in the pipeline. And we’re starting new partnerships with really cool retailers (like Figue!), which helps us scale and make more of a social impact.
Also, I’m really chuffed about receiving an award this year during United Nations General Assembly week. It’s the Fashion 4 Development award for "beauty and empowerment,” which is awarded at the annual First Ladies Luncheon.
Anything else you would like to share or have us feature?
This year we are really excited to move to sugarcane packaging. We have always used recyclable plastic, but the technology for green “plastic” has come leaps and bounds so there’s really no excuse to not switch to it.
Also, I want people to really understand that Abhati goes beyond beauty. We're a small company run by family and friends who all believe that every time you spend money you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you wish to live in and leave behind for future generations. We’re lucky to have a team of top formulators from the beauty industry who specialize in clean, natural skin and hair care leading us. Our products are all biodegradable, therefore safe for water supply (which is something we think heavily about).