Have you ever heard of a skincare brand that’s so natural, you can eat it? Cue, The Milana Company by Nisha Barot, a small batch brand located in Ontario, Canada. They’re a vegan, synthetic-free, cruelty-free, all natural, edible skincare and wellness brand that sells oils, masks, face balms, organic teas, and more. Nisha developed the concept through her Pharmaceutical Science background and her passion for integrating natural solutions into everyday living.
In addition to educating wellness enthusiasts on the power of plants, Nisha takes pride in the transparency of her business. From informing her customers of the exact ingredients in her products, she has formulated items that are good for the skin as well as for the body (yes, her entire skincare collection is edible!!). Similar to The Good Tee, Nisha’s brand says no to plastic, and you’ll find her product containers are made from amber glass rather than plastic.
I’m so excited to have had the opportunity to chat with Nisha. At the root of The Milana Company are the values that using less is more and ethical is essential, which is what The Good Tee believes in as well. Keep on reading to learn more about our discussion regarding her brand, sustainable practices, being a woman entrepreneur and how to implement natural skincare into your routine.
1. What made you decide to create The Milana Company?
I have been an advocate for natural products, especially when it comes to skin and health, throughout my entire life and was taught the importance of it at quite an early age. I was fortunate to have spent some of my youth in India where I was also surrounded by Ayurveda, an Indian traditional system of medicine. My grandfather had a passion for Ayurveda and used to formulate homemade remedies from natural ingredients passed down through generations. My mother is also a believer in natural products and I remember watching her make skincare concoctions, using ingredients from our garden and the kitchen, which we used growing up. But as a working woman, I found it difficult to take care of my skin the way I knew I should and started looking for products that were natural, safe, free from artificial ingredients yet effective, but had no luck.
I wanted to address this gap in the market with genuinely natural ingredients (so natural that they are ‘edible’!) and with a minimalist approach to skincare in mind. So, I took some time to research drawing inspiration from my pharmaceutical science background, heritage and experience. My in-laws are both Ayurvedic doctors - my father-in-law, is an internationally renowned physician, researcher and lecturer and has been particularly a huge influence behind me starting this company. His knowledge and wisdom regarding the intersection of science and Ayurveda, as well as his passion for helping people, is what motivated me to follow this path and create a line of products with integrity – that would help people make better lifestyle choices without compromising on quality. Finally, in 2018 we launched The Milana Company with a line of organic teas followed by natural skincare with edible ingredients and wellness products with many more to come.
2. You have advocated for natural wellness with your organic teas and natural skincare. What is something you have learned in this process?
Since the launch of The Milana Company, I have learnt to truly admire the life of an entrepreneur and grow from the different challenges that I’ve encountered on a day to day basis. Also, consumers are becoming more conscious with their choices, so the challenge is not just to create products that are natural but to provide product transparency as well, which we believe we have managed to achieve through our collection of natural & edible skincare, organic teas and wellness lifestyle products to create a strong and unique brand.
3. What is one eco-friendly change you’ve made to your lifestyle since you started The Milana Company?
Although I have made a lot of changes to my lifestyle to incorporate sustainability and more eco-friendly living, one of the key changes would be using glass bottles rather than metal or plastic. I find them convenient to use, safe and cost-effective. Keeping this in mind, we decided to add the Tea On-the-Go Bottle, made of double-walled glass and eco-friendly bamboo, to our collection so that our customers can benefit from the switch away from plastic as well.
4. What has been your proudest moment with your brand?
I think one of the proudest moments for me has been the moment I quit my corporate job to spend months traveling the world and researching and identifying natural ingredients. It led me to successfully launch this company back in 2018. Receiving the first instances of positive feedback on our products gave me an immense sense of satisfaction and gratitude. It is certainly motivating when we have returning customers who have benefited from our products and their appreciation of our mission and our holistic values.
5. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far as a woman entrepreneur in business?
Starting and running a business can be challenging with many ups and downs – it can be due to exhaustion of wearing multiple hats, understanding competition or the lack of personal time, etc. However, what kept me going was my passion for a healthier lifestyle and my unique position to be able to formulate products that could aid this. I appreciated the experiences and capabilities I was blessed with and I tried to continue to remind myself of that. I also take a lot of inspiration from fellow women entrepreneurs and know that I am not the only one going through the hurdles and challenges that come with running a business. One of the key lessons I have learned is that if you want to start a business that you are passionate about, DO IT! There is never going to be a ‘right’ time. You can always improve as you go along but getting yourself out there is paramount and extremely satisfying!
6. If someone stumbled upon your brand for the first time, what would be the go-to Milana Company product that they should implement into their routine?
I believe all of our products are unique and essential for adding to the daily skincare routine, however, if I had to pick one, I would recommend our Ultra-Hydrating Face & Body Balm. It is a multipurpose balm, formulated with potent botanical ingredients with immense benefits. One of the key ingredients in our balm is Mastic, a potent plant-based resin that grows only in the Southern part of the Greek island, Chios. It has been used as a natural remedy for skin and health ailments since ancient times, however modern cosmetology is just starting to understand the benefits of this prized ingredient for both the skin and body. I use the balm year-round as a body moisturizer and for the face during the winter months – it is light enough to apply and absorbs easily leaving my skin nourished and feeling smooth.
7. What are your plans for The Milana Company in 2021 and beyond that you want us to know about?
We are continuously researching and developing new products that are eco-friendly and easy to incorporate into an everyday routine. With natural products gaining momentum we hope to partner with like-minded businesses and retailers and also contribute to our community by giving back.
Learning and growing is part of everyday life and it’s good humans like Nisha that make learning about natural skincare so easy. For The Milana Company, it’s about teaching consumers how to live mindfully using traditional plant-based practices and I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to learn from this amazing woman entrepreneur.
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