‘Nyassa was a modest but passionate attempt to create world-class soaps with ingredients that are natural and wholesome’


Ishween Anand, founder & CEO, Nyassa Retail speaks about how her passion for fragrances founded a business that creates unique bath and body products from the finest of natural ingredients and exotic fragrances

How do you find the growth of the spa sector in India?

In India the spa segment has emerged as a fast growing industry with various players opening standalone outlets, and five-star hotels also promoting their spas aggressively. With the global focus on the health and wellness segment, the spa segment is growing like never before. This growth has also seen a rise due to the expansion in the travel and tourism industry. Stress and frequent travel calls for a spa treatment. Growth in the wellness space for men is also significant.

Do spas here use quality ingredients and products?

Spas primarily sell experience – so it is important for a spa to offer quality service and products. A lot of spas need to relook at the products used since most of these sectors use readily available products due to low cost budgets. However if the cost is low it’s usually a mediocre product that leads to a poor customer experience. Hence now most spas work with brands that specialise in natural products with good fragrance and blends. This is where Nyassa fits the profile.

nyssa-productaWhat was the inspiration behind Nyassa?

The time when FMCG was huge and no signs of the natural handmade / artisans is the time when I noticed a need for creating a range of handmade soaps. Imagine walking away from a corporate career and deciding to strike out on your own by making soaps – not the Ekta Kapoor kind, but the ones found in bathrooms! Not a story one hears every day, but that’s exactly what I did. After passing my chartered accountancy exams, I added an MBA in Finance from the Stern School of Management, New York, to the list of my degrees. Then, I joined Ernst & Young in The Big Apple and began handling mergers and acquisitions for the consultancy. Later, I worked in GE’s asset management division.

Indeed, even with my background in the financial world, I would spend more time on soapmaking.com instead of the wallstreetjournal.com in the early days of my career. An interest and hobby became an obsession and Nyassa was founded in 2007.

Nyassa was a modest but passionate attempt to create world-class soaps with ingredients that are natural and wholesome. It was the wonderful and mysterious fragrances that lifted me on the days when I was stressed with my job in the Big Apple. So naturally ‘fragrance’ was to be the key theme of Nyassa. We now call this thinking ‘From Heaven and Earth’. One after another, over the past ten years we have added several other products to our existing range but we have never wavered from our philosophy of natural wholesome products with heavenly fragrances.

What sustainable policies does Nyassa practise?

Nyassa practises no waste and natural oils in the products that are created. We also look into details in packaging from labels to paper bags which are all handmade paper and recyclable.

How do you partner with hotels to help them build their own ‘olfactory’ identity?

Nyassa is the only brand that works with the property and creates a product v/s other brands that promote their existing product. Example a property in Goa that was beside a beach wanted a set of room amenities and a property from north that was on the lines of ‘old memories’, Nyassa created products around their theme thereby marrying the brand identity with the property.

Have you done any multi layered customisation for any hotel brand?

Nyassa can customise the fragrance and ingredient design for all room amenities and spas in 30 ml and 50 ml packaging. Some of the recent brands are Meluha the Fern Powai, Rio Resorts Goa, Acacia Resorts in Goa, Peninsula Grand and Peninsula Red Pine to name a few. There was a request from a property that wanted a different theme for every floor in their hotel and Nyassa created room amenities for every level like a forest theme, fire theme and water theme.

Tell us about fragrance science and the fragrances Nyassa has developed so far.

Of all the senses, the sense of smell is the most sensitive. 75 per cent of the emotions are generated on a daily basis are affected by smell. 40 per cent of customers stay longer in a pleasantly scented environment. Smells have a direct correlation with moods. Scents have the ability to reduce stress in humans. Smells evoke emotions and are strong non verbal communicators. There is overwhelming scientific research to show that scent can attract consumers, enhance their experience and thereby create brand goodwill and generate more revenue. Nyassa works with our clients to create a powerful, memorable and ideal guest experience through fragrances that would complement other marketing cues in all guest areas of their properties. Nyassa is at the forefront of creating fragrances that other brands copy – for example Arabian Oudh that is getting popular now Nyassa made it in 2007. Besides that we have sandalwood, mogra and alphonso that are preferred by airport retail.

What is the future roadmap for Nyassa?

Nyassa plans to expand into the retail space and cover metros like Delhi and Bengaluru. Also focusing on international tie-ups and boutique hotels for room amenities including larger hospitality formats. n