Zohair Hemani talks to Instep about the considerations of creating organic or natural personal care, and what that actually means.
he first thing to ping the Hemani Herbals brand on our radars was when Dolmen City Mall in Karachi hosted a large kiosk for the brand’s WB by Hemani range on its premises, not right across, but pretty close to Saeed Ghani, a brand that has manufactured and sold millions of hair, skin, and beauty items over decades to a grateful Pakistani market. The placement did not go unnoticed, neither did the sharp-witted selection of Waseem Badami, TV host, who was at peak-popularity at the time.
Zohair Hemani gently corrects the notion that a brand is launched when an audience notices it. “My grandfather started the company in 1949,” he says of the business, which he describes as, “small, close-knit, family-run.”
As for picking Waseem Badami at that particular moment in 2017, Zohair Hemani says that it isn’t so much about having a face represent the brand, as it is about integrating the spokesperson and the brand and vice versa.
“We have Ayesha Omar, Aijazz Aslam; we try to pick people who believe in and live the Hemani Herbals life,” he says. “We want our spokespeople to own the line, to like the fragrance, e.g., that they are speaking for.”
Business must be alright, as Zohair Hemani explains that the brand supplies products to 85 countries, and has offices in Dubai and the United States.
This also means, of course, that Hemani Herbals passes several tests as a brand. “If we’re passing the standards and certifications for 85 countries, we must be on the right track,” he points out.
“Being a natural product doesn’t mean you’re automatically organic. To claim your product is organic, you need an organic certification: so, e.g. our black seed oil has been certified organic, and therefore we can put it on the packaging.
“Our products are all-natural though. Where our expertise comes in handy is in making ingredient choices. We can get rose water in Pakistan or Bulgaria, but we know Bulgarian rose water is better. Chamomile is a popular ingredient for relaxation, and is available in India, Egypt, Pakistan. However, Pakistani chamomile is bitter, while Egyptian chamomile tastes sweeter.”
When you’re catering to an international market, you have to make sure the look and feel of the product is up to par. You can’t use ingredients such as SLS, hydroquinone, or mercury. As opposed to herbal/natural products, chemical products deliver faster results, but the results from natural products retain themselves long-term.
Lots of brands claim to be all-natural or organic, but not all agree with everyone. In this regard, Hemani Herbals is careful about what they use, claim, and say.
“This is our bread and butter. When you’re catering to an international market, you have to make sure the look and feel of the product is up to par. You can’t use ingredients such as SLS, hydroquinone, or mercury. As opposed to herbal/natural products, chemical products deliver faster results, but the results from natural products retain themselves long-term.”
The brand also manufactures their own perfumes, divided across several lines. Whether endorsed by a celebrity or standalone, Zohair Hemani believes Hemani Herbals perfumes are high-quality, as they are manufactured in Pakistan using best practices. He also points out the perfumes are produced in collaboration with international perfumeries, which are behind some of the most high-end fragrances out there.
The great thing about this is that Pakistan has become more self-sufficient in catering to the beauty and personal care industries. While skincare is still a fledgling industry, and products aren’t equal in quality to their better-established, international counterparts, the fact that now you can turn to a local brand for skin, hair, and personal care solutions, as well as makeup brands is just a really hopeful sign for domestic industries flourishing, and contributing to the country’s economy as a whole, and the entrepreneurial sector in particular.
Apart from that, as a consumer, having local options available means we’re spending less on paying duties and taxes that inevitably come with buying international brands, not to mention the ever-inflating conversion rate. It would be even better, if companies with the operations, like Hemani Herbals, could team up with smaller setups that are enthusiastic/obsessive about skincare and haircare, to really produce super products that are high on quality, and light on the pocket.