Almost 12 years ago Radhika Iyer Talati was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, it was not his first battle with cancer. In the early 2000s, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer, for which she had to go through vigorous cancer treatment.
“This time it was breast cancer and I knew there was a fundamental need for change. I had given birth to a child before and just loved my body. And the idea of taking it under the knife was not something that interested me, ”says Radhika. HerStory.
It was then that she was introduced to the idea of alternative medicine and therapy – in particular, Ayurveda, naturopathy and yoga – by a friend of the family. After seeing a naturopathic doctor, she decided to move her base to the Himalayas and undergo a complete lifestyle change. The naturopath had helped her with a skin infection.
For the love of the mountains
The passage through the Himalayas was essential for Radhika, and there was no turning back. This helped her recover and has even now found startups like Anahata and a foundation in Vadodara, Gujarat.
“Having said that, I am not prescribing the fact that yoga and Ayurveda are magic pills for everything. It all depends on the stage of the disease, what doctors recommend, and several other factors. I was fortunate that the cancer was detected at an early stage and I was able to take this route. If it was at a little more advanced stage, I would not have been able to make the switch completely and would have had to go through my regular treatment, ”says Radhika.
For Radhika, what was surprising was that she had always considered herself in good shape, with her diet comprising exercise and diet. “My date with cancer helped me realize that there was more. Body, mind and soul – all needed nourishment. Spending several months in the mountains helped me focus on building my heart, and pranas ” said Radhika.
During her treatment, she began to feel a sense of affinity for nature, healthy and healthy eating, and yoga. It was also around this time that she completely fell in love with mountaineering.
She is one of the very few women to have completed the “Panch Kailash Mountains” trek in the Himalayas. It climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with her three children, as well as traveled the Ladakh-Manali route on a Royal Enfield bicycle.
“The mountains called to me. I felt a special affinity and knew I had no choice but to go. If my health continued to deteriorate, I just couldn’t do much for my family, ”says Radhika.
The need for natural products
After spending several months in the mountains, Radhika returned to her home in Vadodara to found a yoga foundation in 2010. She says her idea is to spread knowledge. During this time, she was also thinking of creating an organic skincare brand.. Then the pandemic struck in 2020.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened my resolve to launch Anahata. I have seen the dearth of real, authentic organic products on the market that are true to our culture, environment, and body type (genetics). A lot of these things are not reflected in most Indian brands. It pushed me to start on a large scale and establish Anahata as a corporate brand, ”says Radhika.
The startup’s manufacturing process supports small farmers, women entrepreneurs and local businesses. While the product’s formulations are organized in the Himalayas, its DIY recipes are passed down from generation to generation in books and handwritten manuscripts.
Although Anahata started to manufacture products like organic food, basic products, as well as personal care and beauty products in September 2020, he is still exploring new ways to develop.
“We made a conscious decision to switch to plastic-free packaging and use glass, tin and recycled materials instead, although this comes at slightly higher costs. As a company, we have also decided to hire staff and not to mechanize our processes too much, ”explains Radhika.
Take care of yourself
Now, the startup has a team of 24 people. The production team is made up of around 70 percent local women who come from low-income families in the neighboring villages around Vadodara and across Gujarat. During the pandemic, the team was also buying in bulk from organic farmers to ensure they have a source of income.
“We still have a long way to go. But we, as a brand, believe in empowering more women and creating communities that help other women and children improve their style. Our team includes people from different age groups, ”explains Radhika.
A mother of three, Radhika says women automatically learn to multitask and are wired and trained to watch everyone else. “Take care of yourself too. We don’t realize how important it is until we hit a roadblock ourselves, ”she said.
Advising women entrepreneurs, she says, “Avoid doubting yourself. It’ll all fall into place once you start doing things. You just have to take the plunge and get things done. ”