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India's Kama hits international spas

September 08, 2004 11:30 IST

What is the Indian connection between the international society and fashion magazines like Vogue (Japan), Tatler, Elle and eclectic stores such as Parfumerie Generale in Paris and Allegra Hicks.

The answer is Kama, the ayurvedic spa brand from India, which is featured in these magazines and sells out of fancy cosmetics stores. It has also found its way into posh spas like Calmia in central London.

Packaged and marketed by the Delhi-based company, Kama Ayurveda Private Limited, Kama is now spreading itself in the US market where it started exporting two months ago.

Says the company's founder Vikram Goyal: "We are looking at doubling our turnover. We like to distinguish our products from other ayurvedic products. We're 100 per cent pure."

Goyal says the company offers herbal remedies that can be used for beauty as well, as these are based on formulations prescribed in the ancient text of Charaka Samhita.

Goyal, who also runs the luxury lifestyle store Viya in Delhi, founded the company along with Rajshree Pathy of Rajshree Sugars and graphic designers Vivek Sahni and Dave Chang. Kama Ayurveda does not manufacture the products itself but sources it from Coimbatore-based Arya Vaidya Pharmacy.

The 70-year-old ayurvedic institution is approved by the department of science and technology and runs 30 clinics and hospitals across India. "AVP has a range of 500 products, but we sell a very small range of its line," says Goyal, who worked with Morgan Stanley earlier.

Though, Kama Ayurveda was set up as an export company, the brand is doing well in India too. Goyal claims the product is available in a diverse range of domestic retail outlets such as Khazana at the Taj hotels, pharmacies like CRS Health, 98.4 and Lifespring.

With an eye on the retail market, Kama Ayurveda wants to be present in 60 stores and capture a slice of the Rs 3,000-crore (Rs 30 billion) cosmetics industry. Currently, Kama stocks 11 products including face oil and mask, hair treatment oils and ayurvedic soaps priced between Rs 95 and Rs 450.

The company supplies its products to Ananda and Aman resorts in India, Bhutan and Sri Lanka as well. Clearly, the company is cashing in on the spa boom across the globe. Currently, Kama sells in Canada, the UK, France, Switzerland and Australia.
Maitreyee Handique in New Delhi