Beauty is not skin deep. When you are happy, there is a sparkle on your face. If you have a good heart, grooming can polish you like a diamond, believes Dr. Blossom Kochhar, Chairperson, Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies. An icon of beauty and hair industry, Dr. Kochhar is the recipient of Best Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2014), International Women’s Day Award by Indian Council for UN Relations (2014), Universal Humanity Award (2013), the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to Indian Hair, Beauty and Spa industry.
The beauty czar was in Mysuru recently to conduct an education seminar on Aromatherapy. Attended by 160 beauticians, the one-day seminar was organised by Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic and Mysore District Beautician & Beauty Parlour Owners Association at Hotel Sandesh The Prince. On behalf of Star of Mysore, Sujata Rajpal spoke to the dynamic woman whose is a pioneer in reviving the ancient culture of Aromatherapy. Excerpts.—Ed
By Sujata Rajpal
Star of Mysore (SOM): Your name is inspired from the blossoming of coffee. Do we assume coffee is your favourite drink?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: I have grown up around coffee estates. My parents owned a coffee estate between Hassan and Sakleshpur. I got my name from the blossoming of coffee. I love the aroma of coffee but my favourite drink is regular milk tea which I take twice in a day. I also like light coffee which my grand-daughter makes.
SOM: What motivated you to get into the field of Aromatherapy which was a rare profession 35 years ago?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: I had always been fascinated by making people look good. When I was still in school, I used to do facials for friends. At that time, the only creams available were Charmis and Ponds which had no fragrance. As invention is the mother of necessity, I started mixing the essential oils such as Lavender, Eucalyptus, Geranium and Jasmine in my creams and the results were amazing not only on the face but also on the health and wellness which prompted me to study the medicinal properties of these oils. I went to France and studied Aromatherapy and later taught Aromatherapy in America and France. Aromatherapy is the culmination of efforts from China, Egypt and India. These oils have been around since centuries. In Rasayana Tantra, there is a mention of oils for rejuvenating the bodies. Cleopatra used these oils in her bath. Marie Louise, Napoleon’s second wife too used it; so Aromatherapy is nothing new.
SOM: Tell us more about your products.
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: We manufacture and market Aromatherapy oils and Aromatherapy-based cosmetics under the brand name ‘Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic.’ Started the production in 1992 at Uttarakhand, today the company operates out of 9 cities and is managed by more than 175 stockists and a large network of dealers. We also export to many countries such as Australia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Nepal, Middle East countries and Mauritius. Everything about our products is natural. We don’t use alcohol, preservatives or any artificial colouring agent.
SOM: How has been your journey from a student of Jyoti Nivas College, Bangalore, to a pioneer in the field of Aromatherapy?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: I love the journey. People ask me if I had struggles. Frankly I had no struggles. I am blessed with supportive people around me. My husband took premature retirement from Army and joined my business to support me. My daughter is working with me. Now my grandson has joined the company in e-commerce division. I also have wonderful friends who are like family. I don’t plan to retire. I will continue to work all my life.
Acceptability of aroma as a therapy was a challenge but not an issue. Many years ago when I opened an aroma salon in Delhi named Aroma Bar we had to change the name because people would come to the salon asking for a drink! So there is a need for education about aroma as a therapy. I regularly conduct education seminars.
America is the most difficult country to convince people. I had a conference in America for American-Indian doctors during the time of Bill Clinton. I had a tough time convincing them about the herbal cure. The effect of oils used in the products goes into sublimes and not just on the surface level. Basil opens up the mind and relaxes you. These oils help in reducing knee pain, to cure hormonal imbalance, blood pressure etc. There are scientific reasons behind each.
I introduced my products in a fun way such as the use of Rosemary in bath water to pep oneself, using Tea tree instead of Phenyl in hospitals which went well with the audience.
SOM: Do you have any role models?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: I had many role models. My mother was a wonderful hard-working woman; she instilled in me to put myself in other’s shoes. In school at Ooty, the nuns would ask us to smell lemon verbena before exams to relax. Leo Passage, the Founder of Pivot Point, was someone I have always looked up to. He always said, show anger but don’t be angry because getting angry harms you the most. He also taught me to be humble.
SOM: At what age did you decide that you want to get into the field of beauty and wellness?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: I had no idea of being a working woman or having a career. I was happy going to races and playing golf but I wanted to do something. I started giving beauty treatments to friends as a hobby. After I got married, my husband who was based at Wellington, brought home the idea of starting a salon in the club. I jumped at the opportunity. That was the beginning of many things to come. When we shifted to Delhi, I wanted to start something of my own. I had no plan, I went with the flow and things worked out fine for me. My passion for aroma was the driving force throughout.
SOM: What is a normal day in the life of Blossom Kochhar?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: I start my day with the gratitude prayer. I thank God for another lovely day. I do some form of physical exercise every day alternating between yoga and gym. After my exercise, I have turmeric pills, Brahmi tablets and amla which is a natural form of Vitamin C and is good for hair and brain. I also have lemon water and aloe vera juice followed by a cup of tea with milk and sugar. I always make it a point to have breakfast with my daughter and grandson. Playing golf, kathak dance and photography are my other passions. Twenty minutes of reading is a must for me at bed-time.
SOM: How do you keep yourself fit and manage to look youthful always?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: I love life. I am grateful to God for every moment of my life. I tell myself in the morning that let the day be a miracle and the day turns out to be good. So perhaps inner happiness keeps me interested in life. I love travel though most of it is for work which keeps me energetic always.
SOM: You have been the grooming expert for Femina Miss India 2018 and 2019. How was your experience?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: I have been the grooming expert for the last two years and before that during the times of Aishwarya Rai. It was a wonderful experience. The girls are raw when they come. We polish them with grooming, communication skills and confidence building. By the time they reach the end of the programme, they have turned into confident women with an aura around them. I wish all could win but we advise them to take this as a platform to do bigger things in life.
SOM: Do you have any tips for those who want to follow your footsteps?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: Right attitude can take you places. I believe in the dictum that success is 75% attitude and 25% technical knowledge. Bad attitude is one reason why some people who are technically sound are unable to reach the top. Willingness to learn more and constantly improve yourself are key to succeed in any profession.
SOM: What is your message for women who are obsessed with looking young and beautiful all the time?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: There is a grace and beauty in every age. One needs to have a rounded personality. Yoga, meditation and keeping your mind and body fit can take away the signs of ageing from your face.
SOM: What are the musts in the beauty routine of a woman?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: Beauty is both internal and external. Quality sleep, good diet consisting of fruits and green vegetables, good intake of water, proper elimination, positive thinking and emotional stability are important. If you are happy it shows on your face; thoughts are what make you happy.
To keep your outside beautiful, follow a beauty routine of cleansing and moisturising. Exfoliate once a week. Do not sleep with heavy creams and use sun screen even at home.
SOM: Market is flooded with natural beauty products, all of them claim to be natural, pure and organic. How to find out the real from the fake ones?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: Talk to your beautician and friends who have used those products for their feedback and most importantly try the samples.
SOM: What are your impressions about Mysuru?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: I love Mysuru. I have visited the royal city with rich heritage many times. Mysuru is a beautiful place with simple people but now it seems to be changing. The women at my session were very smart and very attentive. It was wonderful interacting with them.
SOM: What does the future look like?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: Environment is one important issue that needs to be addressed. To save water, we want to introduce a product to make bucket baths exciting. The concept of green salons is also in the pipeline wherein everything is natural. We are planting more neem trees. I want to start grooming courses for all age groups including housewives and professionals. One should look nice irrespective of age and economic background.
SOM: Is beauty skin deep?
Dr. Blossom Kochhar: Beauty has to come from within. If internally we don’t feel good about ourselves, no amount of make-up can make us look good. The current Miss India Suman Rao is the most beautiful woman, she may not be conventionally beautiful but she has a beautiful heart which makes her face radiate.