by Jamie Ducharme | October 12, 2017 9:42 am
When she was a teenager, Gayatri Pradhan chafed at her mother’s devotion to traditional Indian skincare remedies.
“Every time I had a spot or a pimple on my face, my mother would chase me with a paste of turmeric and sandalwood. Back in the day I was like, ‘No, no, no,'” she laughs, “but they always worked.”
Fast-forward a couple decades, and Pradhan, a pharmaceutical chemist by training, is finally ready to admit her mom was right. She’s now running Poéthique, a Wellesley-based skincare company that’s based on the “philosophy of traveling the world through your skincare, and tapping into this cultural knowledge.”
The startup’s first three products—a cleansing milk, facial oil, and facial serum—use natural, botanical ingredients that are ethically sourced from countries all over the world. The cleansing milk draws on neem oil from Pradhan’s ancestral India; the recovery elixir is made with oils from South America, India, and Southeast Asia; and the serum uses caviar limes and wild plums from Australia.
“There is sort of this need for effective botanical ingredients within the skincare space,” Pradhan says. “There are cultures all over the world that have this incredible wisdom rooted in their cultural knowledge over generations.”
Poéthique is filling that void, while simultaneously staying true to its hometown roots. Pradhan, an MIT graduate and former skincare marketing executive at Unilever, says she’s gotten pushback from investors who wish the company were based in New York, but she says she’s determined to make it in Boston. “There’s some level of pride there,” she says. “We’re going to figure out a way to do it.”
And as the company grows in Massachusetts, Pradhan says she has her eyes on additional faraway locales, from Brazil and Peru to China and East Asia. With each new country added to the roster, Pradhan says, Poéthique gets a little closer to its mission of inspiring wanderlust through beauty.
“Ideally, the person that’s buying this is now exposed to something they were unfamiliar with,” she says. “That just helps people be a little bit more understanding of different cultures, maybe a little bit more understanding of the diversity of things that exist out there in our world.”
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