Welcome back to our Founder Stories series, where we sit with inspiring and influential women to dive into their entrepreneurial journey and discuss all things business (and wellness). Today, we speak with Dr Nitasha Buldeo, the founder of skincare brand Organic Apoteke.
Dr Nitasha Buldeo is the founder of organic, results-driven skincare brand, Organic Apoteke. She is also a Doctor of Natural Medicine, research scientist and entrepreneur. She studies human performance science and develops products, programs and technology to improve human physiology and performance. She is an expert on skin science.
FLAURA: What inspired you to start Organic Apoteke?
Dr Buldeo: I grew up with my mother and grandmother cooking up natural remedies for every childhood ill. Hence, I really appreciated how my body responded to nature and how everything we put into our bodies is both food and medicine. I had a realisation as a 13-year-old that just as we ate food via our mouth and gut, our skin also eats every product we apply to it. Hence as a teenager, I become obsessed with creating the purest, best food for my skin. This obsession led me to study skin physiology and formulate our emulsifier free organic base cream, Organic Apoteke Rejuvenating Cream, that protects and nourishes and feeds the skin with added minerals. So, the inspiration for Organic Apoteke comes from a unique blend of ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, family tradition, scientific research and childhood obsession.
F: What makes Organic Apoteke different to other brands?
DB: I think Organic Apoteke is unique because of its simplicity. All that we do in product formulation and as a business is mimic nature. Our products are nature identical and therefore like everything in nature our products are in a fluid state. This means that our products constantly adapt and respond to the environment. This ensures that your skin gets exactly what it needs. Not only are Organic Apoteke products plant based and organic, but the entire range is also alcohol-free and emulsifier-free. Our products are the healthiest food your skin can eat. We use 100% recycled materials and biodegradable vegetable inks for our packaging.
F: What has the journey been like since you started?
DB: I started formulation of what is now the Organic Apoteke range almost 30 years ago. Organic Apoteke was one of the first brands to use xanthan gum, (a natural thickener from fermented cabbages) and potassium sorbate (from banana peels) as a natural preservative. I remember QVC being interested in launching our products but because there was technically no preservatives in our products (in the early 2000’s parabens were the go-to preservative) we did not qualify for their safety assessment. How things have changed? Now parabens are the unsafe ingredients. Initially as a brand our main marketing function was to educate consumers on what natural and organic skincare meant. So, it is exciting for us to have been one of the pioneers in organic skincare and to see how this space has evolved. Going forward as a brand we will continue to innovate but always ensure that we keep the range as simple as possible. We have just 8 face care products that covers your skins every need. Our goal is to keep skin healthy because healthy skin is beautiful skin. And our message has always been to encourage women to love the skin that they are in. Being a woman of colour, I’m glad to see this message become mainstream.
Organic Apoteke is the brand that applauds intelligent, confident women who live life fully and pursue their dreams. They want a simple skincare routine that builds the foundation of healthy, beautiful skin. And they are proud to show off their natural skin.
F: How do you stay motivated?
DB: I stay motivated by constantly coming back to our core values and focusing on why we do what we do. Mine and Organic Apoteke’s values are the same. “Is it effective, sustainable, useful? If not, leave it out.” I think when your business resonates with your core values, it is easy to stay motivated. I love the Nietzsche quote paraphrased here, “He who has a ‘why’ to live can bear almost any how.”
F: What’s the most rewarding part of your day now?
DB: Two things are most rewarding for me, the first is using the Organic Apoteke products and enjoying their benefits on my own skin and the second is customer feedback, receiving messages and photos from customers for whom my products have made a really big difference makes all the challenges worthwhile.
F: What are the best and worst parts of being an entrepreneur?
DB: The best part of being an entrepreneur is seeing your dream or vision become a tangible reality. The worst part is withstanding the challenges, confusion, and criticism that you will experience before your vision becomes a reality. You must constantly remind yourself that you are an entrepreneur because you see things that others cannot see yet and it’s your job to help them see it.
F: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
DB: Don’t do it to be liked, do it because it matters.
F: What advice would you give to other women looking to start their own business?
DB: Ensure that you are passionate and inspired by your business. Because while many may think of starting their own business for a better work-life balance the reality is that you work longer hours when running your own business. The secret of entrepreneurship is that if you are doing what you love, it does not feel like work.
Top 5 Daily Wellness Habits
- I am an early riser – I wake-up at 4am daily. This gives me the time to do the things I need for my personal wellbeing.
- Daily Yoga Practice – I start my day with Yoga Sun Salutations and my personal practice, this helps get my body going and mind centred.
- Morning Journaling/Meditation – I then sit down for 15 minutes to journal or meditate whichever my mind and body needs on that particular morning. And after journaling/meditation, I set my intention for the day. This intention helps me stay on point throughout the day.
- Enjoying Nature – Outdoor run/walk – I love the calm of the morning before the day begins, so I head off for a walk or run depending on the weather. I love being out in nature so even if I am travelling and in a city, I try to find a park, river or some natural habitat to walk in.
- 15 Minutes of Fun – I make time in the afternoon no matter how busy my schedule to do what I call 15 minutes of fun. This means doing something different, fun, creative. And often this activity inspires me and makes me more productive for the rest of my workday.
Currently it’s the Organic Aopteke Rasayana Rejuvenating Serum, but this changes depending on my skins needs. After entering my 40s I feel like my skin needs more help in the winter to stay nourished and healthy. My skin literally drinks up the serum at this time of year. But it also means that I keep that summer glow all winter.