If you think that detergents are found only on supermarket shelves, then be prepared for a clean, green surprise. It grows on trees and has been cleaning clothes since the time of the Buddha! Welcome to the world of Krya Detergent Powder (www.krya.in) which is completely organic, vegan and cruelty-free and their world of sustainable goodies.
Krya in Sanskrit means ‘Action’. More specifically, the wiki says “Krya refers to a “completed action”. Taking sustainability from thought to action are a young couple Preethi Sukumaran and Srinivas Krishnaswamy, both with IIM backgrounds. After doing the corporate circuit, they decided to kick their jobs and start Krya. “We felt there was surely a better way to make money. We started thinking: What would we do if we were to have our own company?” says Preethi.
Preethi has been a brand manager with Britannia, Henkel and Marico and Srinivas had worked with Johnson and Johnson in various capacities. After a few months of research they came up with a few nifty ideas for everyday products like detergent, dish-wash, mosquito repellents, hair and body powders; all made from plants. Soon they were living in a fragrant, surprisingly clean home and their hair and skin glowed with new energy. They realized that plant based products properly prepared and used, were not just good for the planet but also great for their skin, hair, clothes, dishes and homes. They started with a focus on an important mission to eliminate toxic substances at home and the development of alternatives to these synthetic or chemical products. And thus started Krya in May of 2010.
Preethi and Srinivas design their products to fit easily into an urban dweller’s busy life, to help make an easy transition to a more sustainable life. Preethi asserts “I design a product for a person like me. I don’t get taken in by labels you see. I don’t believe in making a product merely looking or smelling nice so I don’t put in any fragrances”. Krya is fanatical about using only organic, pure ingredients and they go the full length to be ethical in every aspect of their business.
The Krya Product stable currently has the Krya Detergent Powder (400g and 100g packs), Krya Dishwash powder (350g and 100g) and Krya face wash powder. They soon plan to expand their product portfolio and enter the Skin, Hair and Home segments. Their product pricing is premium and Preethi is not apologetic about it. “Our products are superior and do a world of good. Anyone wanting to leave a better world for their children and think not just for today but also tomorrow will love our products”.
The magic ingredient which gives the soapberry (Soapnut) its halo is saponin, found in the fleshy outer part of the fruit. The pericarp of the soapberries contains saponins produce foaming solutions in water with a surfactant property which can used for cleaning.
Krya ‘manufacture’ their detergent by getting the friendly neighborhood village ladies to pluck the ripe fruits from the tree at Harvest time. After removing the seed (which is stored for re-planting), the pericarps are taken to a giant stone platform which has been specially built on the farm. The farm is in a dry, fiercely hot part of Andhra Pradesh. The fruits dry slowly under the sun for 3 days in the sun until they become brittle.
They are then cleaned and taken into the ‘factory’ where they are powdered in a large mill (similar to the flour mill that makes the atta then they mix natural, organic Calcium Carbonate to the powder. Calcium Carbonate, also called Limestone, helps keep our dried fruit powder dry, so that it remains a powder, and easy to use. And that completes the manufacturing. No heavy machines are used that are energy intensive. The process also does not release harmful vapors. No water is used in the ‘manufacturing’. The water that your washing machine used to wash clothes can be sent to your garden and is 100% natural and safe. The remaining detergent can be composted in the earth.
The packaging of Krya is made with completely recyclable and even printed with chemical-free ink. They do not test their products on animals and are vegan.
Alternative way of life
Is there a good demand for an organic detergent in India? “There are two sets of people. One that can be made aware and another that is blissfully unaware and is using chemicals recklessly. We don’t look at selling our detergent. We look at moving to an alternate way of life” emphasizes Preethi. Krya is in the process of setting up a ‘manufacturing unit’ near Siruseri in Tamil Nadu. They don’t play for short stakes but for the long game. Wanting to be the P & G of Sustainability is not an easy journey. Though they don’t intend being a small company, they do not want to compromise on certain boundaries that they have set for themselves. For instance they are sure that they will never export their product. Exporting is against the very grain of sustainability where you spend precious fossil fuel to transport goods.
Grow local and use local is a sustainable mantra that Krya wants to live by. So they work within their boundaries of not wanting to make any liquid products or being vegan and hence do not use milk or honey or any animal derivatives in any of their products. “What sets us apart is that our customers perceive us as being inherently good and trust us with sustainability. We didn’t design our product to be different but to be sustainable. We are a sticky company and our customers don’t forget us easily” avers Preethi. Running a company with such maniacal focus on values within the boundaries that define who you are is definitely a difficult task. In the corporate world, where customer preferences dictate sales and market conditions and other factors impact scalability, it may seem an uphill task for Krya to move up the growth curve. But a clear differentiation that it offers is the passion of the promoters and the success that their products have already received.
Do your daily morning krya and move to more sustainable options in your daily choices!