April’s – ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – Download Now
Founder of The Goodness Company, Geeta Pahlajani has built a brand based on everyday essentials. We discuss her gratitude for the positive impact this is carving out for future generations
What do the first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine?
I start my morning at 5 am with an Ayurvedic tea blend followed by an hour of yoga in our garden. Some days I may alternate this with a mindful breathwork meditation practice. A key rule I have been strictly following for the last few years is to have the first 2 hours of my morning tech-free.
What inspired you to launch The Goodness Company?
The Goodness Company started from a personal need. I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008, and this required a complete overhaul in my lifestyle. It is believed that celiac disease first started with the introduction of GMO technology. At this stage, I had little knowledge about natural ecosystems and their impact on the human body as a lot of the information we are exposed to is obfuscated by clever marketing tactics. Whilst looking for good quality, clean label-conscious products there was nothing available in the local UAE market, and it was getting increasingly frustrating having to import everyday essentials. I was working with a large global FMCG at this point but knew something had to be done to fill the gap as I had many friends experiencing similar challenges. This is how The Goodness Company journey started.
The brand is focused on sustainability. Has this been the case from the start?
Sustainability has always been at the heart of The Goodness Company since its conceptualization in 2017 far before being sustainable became trendy. Our core values are aligned with The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, especially number 12 which is – responsible for production and consumption.
How has The Goodness Company evolved as a brand?
In today’s climate, evolution is ongoing, and this is no different for us. We started as a small niche to test the market with a focus on a few products in 2018. After having increased our product range and distribution reach over the last 2 years and in 2021, it has since then continued in momentum. With sustainability and conscious consumption becoming mainstream, we foresee rapid growth moving forward.
What key lessons are you grateful for from your mentors?
Being a perfectionist by nature; I learned that this is not the best trait in a small-medium enterprise environment. The best advice I have received is to start small, fail fast, fail often and pivot quickly. We need to learn from our mistakes and look back at them as experiences rather than failures.
What lies at the core of the brand’s DNA?
Positive Social Impact. Everything we do has a larger lever in positively impacting individuals, society, and the world at large.
What have been the hurdles you have experienced in your career and how did you overcome them?
Starting a business ground up comes with its own set of hurdles daily.
– HR: Building a team that has the same values to see the brand flourish has been a large challenge. However, over the years we have identified a mechanism to hire for mindset rather than just skills.
– Unethical Practices: It is common practice for an innovative brand like ours to be copied and launched by a large player as their own idea. This has happened to us several times; now we just view this as a form of flattery and remain undeterred.
– Market Acceptance: The Goodness Company was launched when the market was still very nascent and conscious consumption practices were not mainstream. Our flagship vegan chocolate range has taken 2 years to reach FMCG potential and acceptance by retail players to be launched into major supermarket chains in the UAE. Consistently educating consumers through various channels whether social media, events, popups, partnerships have been integral to overcome this hurdle. Creating demand and brand value is a long journey and takes time; this is where I have seen a lot of businesses lose patience and give up.
Could you tell us about your CSR initiatives?
We are partners with One Tree Planted, a nonprofit environmental tree-planting charity. We support them in reforestation efforts to reduce the severity of global climate change and restore the natural balance of plant life on the planet.
How does the brand offer a holistic approach to sustainable living?
Sustainable living is a journey and with busy modern lifestyles; a very difficult one. Therefore, a large part of our efforts goes into educating the consumer to make conscious decisions and use their purchasing power wisely. Our products are designed to make easy switches without any compromise:
-Chocolate: our plant-based chocolate and spreads range is indulgent yet nutritionally dense, all-natural and does not compromise on taste in any way.
-Copper Collective: this vertical supports an artisan community of copper craftsmen in Moradabad, North India to preserve their craft. Copper is self-sterilizing and eco-friendly; with this collection, we have interpreted ancient traditions for modern needs. Our copper bottles are very popular with expats and Emiratis as they are aesthetically pleasing and offer healing benefits (as believed in Ayurveda).
-Conscious Ware: This range was designed to provide sustainable alternatives to household staples offering the perfect balance of creativity and elevated functionality. Our reusable glass and steel straws are designed for the modern consumer whilst our bamboo toothbrushes come in a minimalistic design with no compromise in efficacy vs regular plastic toothbrushes.
At The Goodness Company, we believe that rather than trying to be perfect; small positive changes can make a large collective difference.
This is ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – what are you grateful for?
Survival of The Goodness Company through the pandemic we are currently living in; hopefully with the worst behind us. I have seen many close friends lose flourishing businesses overnight but having The Goodness Company survive this difficult period and come through stronger with a positive forecast makes me very grateful to everyone who has believed in my vision and in the brand – especially our employees, customers, and partners.
April’s – ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – Download Now
– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram