After losing her mother to a decade-long battle with a severe skin condition, Kruthika Kumaran started Vilvah Store, a brand of natural skincare products made of goat milk procured directly from her family farm near Coimbatore.
Married at the young age of 21, Kruthika recalls that she never had much business acumen and had never even stepped foot outside Tamil Nadu. Growing up, she watched her mother Manjula Devi battle a severe skin condition, for which she had to take several steroids. Unfortunately, these steroids eventually affected Manjula’s kidneys, and in 2016, she passed away, leaving Kruthika in severe distress.
“I was around 30 then and needed something to divert my attention. I’d spent years caring for my mother, and losing her left me extremely depressed,” Kruthika tells. Manjula, who was allergic to most soaps and other such products, would often tell Kruthika to learn the importance of handmade products.
“She told me I should know how to make these products myself, but I was spending most of my time caring for her and didn’t have time for much else,” Kruthika says. But after Manjula passed, Kruthika had free time on her hand. So she began experimenting with various ingredients to make natural soaps. First, she tried her hand at using goat milk, procured from her native farm.
“Many people suffer from dry skin or eczema-prone skin, and this has increased in the last few years,” she notes. Kruthika enrolled herself in a natural cosmetology course to understand the makings of such products better. She immersed herself in experimenting with goat milk in various ways and arrived at a final product that she distributed among close friends and family. The products were a hit, she says. “It was my turning point,” she says.
“I understood what I really wanted to do. It was not about running a business or earning revenue. I was just looking to divert my attention from massive grief but found my life’s calling instead.”.