Hibiscus Monkey offers an 85-year-old Nani’s wisdom in little bottles
WE HAVE ALL heard of things that our nani (maternal grandmother) and dadi (paternal grandmother) did to take care of their skin. But, we didn’t pay attention to them while we were young, and by the time we understood their value, we were too busy to indulge in making those do-it-yourself face masks, moisturisers or hair oils. Luckily, the mother-daughter duo of Mona and Roshni Mehta is making things convenient for us by converting the ‘nani ke nuske’ concepts from their 85-year-old grandma into the all-natural selfcare line named, Hibiscus Monkey.
The eureka moment
Roshni grew up in Dubai, Philippines and Bangladesh, and when she took up a job with the Central Government of India, she moved to her nani’s house in New Delhi, for two years. “I was facing severe hair-fall when my nani came to my rescue with her homemade hair oil. I was surprised by the results that came after using it for a while,” says 25-year-old Roshni over a phone call from Boston, where she is currently pursuing a dual MPP-MBA from Harvard Kennedy School.
At that point, she jokingly mentioned that the hair oil should be introduced to the market. A couple of months before leaving for college, she decided to use her nani’s ingredients and made 50 sample bottles, which she distributed among friends and family. When a positive response came from all around, she decided to make it for the public, and soon launched the first line of products — lightweight and non-sticky hair oil made from pure coconut and floral essences like hibiscus, in-shower spray-on body oil, a comforter for menstrual cramps, and a balm for knees and elbows.
Launched in May this year, the business is largely operated via Instagram, where Roshni has a small but strong community of over 4,000 people that she refers as her #HMTribe and champions of the brand. The manufacturing unit is in Kerala and the packaging, which is mostly environment-friendly (only the in-shower body spray comes in a plastic bottle) — is done in Mumbai.
“The reason we couldn’t use a glass bottle is because it is meant to be an in-shower spray, when our pores are open, and moisturiser can actually penetrate the skin. At that point, when our hands are wet and oily, it’s best to avoid any accidents. So, we use a plastic bottle, but it is of good quality and reusable. If you repeat the order, we send you a refill pack that comes in a glass bottle and can be transferred into this,” adds Roshni, who wants to set up her own manufacturing unit in Kerala soon, and is set to launch another set of products for the body by December or January 2020.
Our take: We tried their hair oil and body spray. We absolutely loved the hair oil and can vouch for its lightweight and non-sticky nature. The body spray, meant to be used in-shower after the soap is rinsed, might feel slightly sticky, if you live in a humid environment.