It is difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle when we are in the middle of a crisis like COVID19. During times of stress and uncertainty, it can be easy to fall into bad habits, neglecting already established healthy routines. On the other hand, holistic care experts believe that maintaining a healthy lifestyle supports your mind and body, making you better equipped to deal with the difficulties posed by health calamities like the coronavirus pandemic. Preeti Seth, a nutritionist and cosmetologist, and the founder-director of Pachouli Wellness Clinics, stresses upon the need for us to treat our bodies as temples that need to be treated with respect and care. She has done MSc from Delhi University, MBA from Symbiosis, Advance Nursing from Indian institute of paramedical sciences and Cosmetology from Institute of Laser & Aesthetic Medicine. Here she is, in conversation with the League of India:
For the sake of our largely political and international relations/geopolitics readership, please don’t mind our beginning with the absolute basics: What exactly does a ‘Nutritionist and Cosmetologist’ do?
Ms Preeti Seth: Cosmetology is the art and science of beautifying the hair, nails, and skin. A cosmetologist is an expert in applying cosmetic procedures, therapies, and treatments to beautify one’s outer appearance., and implementing cosmetic treatments to people’s skin, and nails. Specific disciplines in cosmetology include esthetics (skincare), makeup application, nail care (manicures and pedicures), and other beauty treatments.
Nutritionists, on the other hand, typically do the following:
– Explain nutrition and what it can do for the client
– Assess clients’ health needs and diet
– Develop meal plans, taking both cost and clients’ preferences into account
– Evaluate the effects of meal plans and change the plans as needed
– Promote better nutrition by giving talks to groups about diet, nutrition, and the relationship between good eating habits and preventing or managing specific diseases
– Keep up with the latest nutritional science research
Although all nutritionists do similar tasks, there are several specialities within the occupations.
You began the journey in 1999. How difficult was it for you to make people around you understand your passion at that time? Can you please tell us all about the highs and lows of your journey as a professional, and as an entrepreneur in the field?
Ms Seth: This was supposed to be a one-off piece; when I was first invited to share my experiences as a startup entrepreneur — mostly lessons learnt along the journey. When I sat down to write, I was flooded with thoughts of so many experiences that taught me so much, way more than I had imagined. The mind was flush with memories of phases of endurance, patience, hardships, despair, hope, resilience, jealously, celebration, and much more. At that moment, I also for the first time took stock and realised that this has been no easy journey.
From extreme despair to being absolute ecstasy, the swings were pretty wild on most days.
Despite all the hardships and irrespective of the degree of success of the venture (we would consider ourselves a moderate success), the journey can be immensely fulfilling as it has been for us. Learnings have been immense. Starting today, I’ll share a lesson or two every week, with the hope that some of you contemplating entrepreneurship can make that journey more joyful and fulfilling.
The first thing that I learnt about entrepreneurship was that it is actually the first step that is the hardest; taking that leap of faith!
To quit whatever else that you are doing, and to dive into this world of uncertainty. Most people I meet these days have a desire to be an entrepreneur buried deep down somewhere. Eventually, it gets to choose between a low risk, steady cash flow corporate life and a highly volatile life with uncertain cash flows as an entrepreneur. Most people at best just keep delaying this decision and often never really go for it.
I come from a family of entrepreneurs. Every generation in my family (my father, grandfather and great grandfather) went on to start their own ventures and found varying degrees of success. Having seen such entrepreneurial spirit in the family, embracing entrepreneurship came rather naturally to me. It took me more than six months for my parents and a close friend from undergrad to quit her well-paying job in the Beauty & Wellness sector, and join our rather fledgeling startup in early 2009.
I had read this somewhere a long time ago and it stuck; If you choose not to decide, you’ve still made a choice!
For those of you still contemplating entrepreneurship, the first step, and perhaps the hardest, is to take the plunge. But, once you’re in, you’ll figure out how to swim. Don’t stress too much on the fine-tuning of the business plan because no matter what you do, the plan will be turned upside down a few months into the venture.
Are there things that you have either pioneered in the field – including introducing in India any of the global best practises?
Ms Seth: Pachouli is one of the only places which is an amalgamation of Ayurveda which is the ancient and the latest high tech where we are doing the combination of all the treatments to make the person happy and give results when I started pachouli there was nothing like this so we pioneered this concept of the complete wellness in one roof. So we started treating people from the Ayurveda way to high tech. the combination of our treatment like oriental, western Ayurveda was only in pachouli we pioneered that concept of novelty with the ancient technology.
How would you describe the current state and the future scope of the industry in India? What are the factors that are currently and would increasingly drive the sector?
Ms Seth: With predictions for the wellness industry positing a positive outlook, there is immense scope for businesses to make the most of the forecasts. In the near future, the wellness industry worldwide will witness several new trends, led by consumer demand as well as innovations from the key players. There are opportunities to be explored in the industry across segments as well as in newer markets such as luxury spas, well fashion, and wellness tourism, particularly in semi-urban and rural areas. The home segment is waiting to be tapped.
From the development of apps that will personalize the experience for consumers, to using artificial intelligence for consultations, there will be a focus on giving customers exciting experiences.
At the same time, the profile of service providers in the wellness sector too is witnessing a significant change. Alongside established chains, there has been a proliferation of startups that are riding high on the wave of the growing demand among the consumers. With celebrities joining the bandwagon, not just promoting wellness brands but also collaborating, there appears to be a greater opportunity for value creation.
In India, for long the traditional segment of curative healthcare has dominated the market share and these continue to rule the roost as far as business opportunities are concerned. Yoga and meditation are an area that has been tapped by regional and international players as more and more people take to these for wholesome fitness. Spa therapy and wellness too continue to dominate with people turning to spas and wellness retreats at the individual and institutional levels for de-stressing and relaxation.
Among new trends, particularly in the health food and nutrition sector, dietary habits such as Keto and intermittent fasting are also new trends that appear to be gaining traction.
The development and use of mobile apps for personalized wellness will also retain its dominance among consumers and developers will come up with innovative features to draw users.
On the business front, favourable prospects loom for the companies in the wellness industry. There is immense scope for innovation and expansion as the market share grows across fitness, healthy food and nutrition and the alternative therapy segment.
Finally, millions across India still don’t completely comprehend the absolute scope of your field. What would you like to say to those young girls and boys who could perhaps have a career in the sector? Does Pachouli offer training and employment opportunities to them outside the NCR?
Ms Seth: Rising number of new courses being introduced in universities, thereby widening the career prospects for students. There are a lot of career opportunities available to students right after their graduation. Before choosing a career make sure that you discover your interests at all possible extent and try choosing your career option according to your skills and interests. Sometimes people take any job without thinking about if they like the job or not, which leads to an unhappy life.
The new education policy helps to add more skill-based design subjects and the flexibility of choosing a degree or diploma courses as per your need in between your existing academic tenure.
This policy gives importance to practical and research-based training instead of putting them into Theoretical studies. After Graduation ocean of courses available for students. Courses serve a multitude of purposes for different students; they are sometimes used to bridge the gap between different phases of academic study, or to provide additional professional training and qualifications.
The beauty and wellness industry offers a diverse range of careers to aspirants. The industry of beauty and wellness is changing constantly. With the new products and techniques being developed every now and then, the sky’s the limit for candidates looking to pursue a career in beauty and Wellness Course. In Beauty & Wellness programmer you will learn how to style people’s make-up, maintain the glow on their faces, make-up and makeovers of people, etc. There are different programmers that cover different aspects of beauty care such as herbal, Ayurveda, etc.
Right now Pachouli is not offering any training and employment opportunities to them outside the NCR but in the next few months, we have an expansion plan in other states like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.