When sisters Sharmila Anne Ramani and Sharmini Joy Ramani realised one December morning that they had used up the last of their salaries to pay off some bills, it dawned upon them how serious the situation was.
After all, Christmas was only a week away and there were gifts to be bought.
So they brainstormed on ideas of what could be done with what little pittance they had left, and they came up with a plan. Using their skills in making handmade beauty products, they wanted to give them away as presents in hopes that the recipients would like the “handmade feel”. Customisation is a big thing nowadays.
To the girls’ surprise, they received way more positive reviews and feedback from their family and friends than they had imagined. There were even those who even came back and requested that the girls make more for them to use as gifts of their own.
Seeing that their products were well-received, the sisters decided to venture down this path and start Potions.
The Potion Masters
Prior to brewing up these homemade natural products, both the sisters were actually holding stable careers. Sharmila was a lawyer while Sharmini used to be in advertising.
“Yes! Crazy but true. We had an epiphany early this year and after no hesitation left our corporate jobs behind to begin our journey as Potion Masters. Ever since then, we have loved every minute of it,” shared Sharmini to Vulcan Post.
Coming from a family that has constantly battled with sensitive skin, the girls realised from an early age just how important it was to pay attention to what was put on their bodies every single day.
They just couldn’t find any skincare that met their standards so they resorted to making their own based on recipes that were already passed down to them from the other women in their family. Being fellow sensitive-skin sufferers, they all had tried and tested what work best for themselves. Most of their Potions are based on traditional Indian Ayurvedic recipes.
“We could control the quality and ensure that we were not being exposed to toxic ingredients. And guess what? It made an immediate difference. So although we had been making these potions for years, it was the gift of giving that got the ball rolling for us. With the support of our family and friends, we decided to add our very own twist to recipes which had been passed down from generation to generation to form our very own brand of skin care,” said Sharmini.
After leaving their jobs, the girls focused on building up Potions. It’s been running for almost a year now with just the two sisters managing it all.
The Brewing Process
Since all of their products are handmade, it takes them at least 2 to 3 days to replenish whatever is needed. One thing they prioritise on is the freshness of the product so they try to make them only on-demand to maintain their fresh & potent scent and benefits when the customers receive them.
“Though some can take days, we also have products that are months in the making as we infuse oils with herbs, roots, plants and fruits in order to get the full benefits and/or natural colours,” said Sharmini.
Stumbling upon their booth at a bazaar one time, what pulled me right in was how bright and vibrant their packaging was. When I went closer, I realised each product had a quirky and fun quote written on them. Things like “Smile, it suits you!” and “Elegance is the only beauty that never fades” are such happy and body positive quotes to have on beauty products.
The team shared that the tone and choices of quotes are very deliberate.
“It takes at least 1 week to come up with the product label once we have decided to release a product that has been tested for a minimum of 3 months. Our products come with a bonus, a famous quotation to inspire you to start the day right or promote a healthy positive body image. We use bright and vibrant colours that are uplifting that we hope scream at them in the morning: USE ME!” shared Sharmini.
The girls are huge fans of the Harry Potter series. They’re delighted that what they do gives them the feeling of being like witches, brewing up their potions in the comforts of their own kitchen.
The names of their products are fun, and come from all sorts of memories and imagery.
“Our product Coffee Courage came from the courage we got to wear teeny tiny shorts once we were cured from the horrors of cellulite. Blimey It’s Limey came from our Mom exclaiming those exact words when she sniffed it. Emerald Elixir came from the emerald green of our hair oil that worked like magic. Maybe this had a little J.K Rowling-ness to it!” shared Sharmini.
As to why they chose colourful packaging for their natural products, the one word they wanted people to associate with their brand is “fun”.
“The designs were all from wanting to be colourful and fun. We love the idea that going natural can be fun! We are also strong advocates of inspiring people to be their best and promoting a healthy positive body image through our designs and quotes,” said Sharmini.
Building Up Their Potions Stash
A year after their launch, their range has expanded to cover various products such as hair oils, body scrubs, lip balms and so forth. The sisters are always looking for new things to try and expand on because there’s nothing they want more than to make people feel good through natural items.
So far, based on what they’ve heard from their customers, a few of their best sellers include their Emerald Elixir Hair Oil which uses a secret recipe that was passed down by their great grandfather from Pondicherry, Mad Matcha Body Scrub, CocoNutz Lip Scrub and their Rose Red Lip Balms.
The girls mainly operate in bazaars and market places when they have the time as they are slowly building up their brand before thinking of expanding further. As of now, their products can also be bought online through their website or their Instagram.
Right now, they just want to keep broadening their line and not restrict themselves.
“Our future plans for Potions is to keep the magic alive by introducing our many products in the making! They’re being tested as we speak. We love innovating, so customers can expect something new every few months. Someday though, we would love to have our very own brick and mortar store,” shared Sharmini.
Feature Image Credit: Compiled from Potions.my