UMA: Seven Centuries of Organic Oils
Shrankhla inherited a sophisticated repertoire of healing recipes that inspired her to found UMA.
Every part of the human body is connected: the red thump of a heartbeat, the perspiration on the skin’s surface, the furrowed lines between your brows – even the soft pink smile that wrinkles your cheeks. No one part of us exists on its own, and this holistic understanding of the human body forms the basis of Ayurvedic tradition.
Ayurveda understands the human body as a beautiful, complex network of cells that dictates our mental and physical wellbeing. The practice treats the person as a whole instead of isolating symptoms from the rest of the body.
For over seven centuries, her family farmed and crafted the world’s finest organic oils.
Almost 800 years ago, Shrankhla Holecek’s ancestors were Ayurvedic physicians for Indian royal families, practicing this medicinal tradition rooted in the importance of the mind-body connection. For over seven centuries, her family farmed and crafted the world’s finest organic oils. Indian kings and queens granted them large parcels of land on which to cultivate medicine products like Jasmine, Vetiver, and Sandalwood. Careful hands nurtured, harvested, distilled and crafted these oils, selecting only the finest seeds and nursing plants in the growing season to ensure unparalleled purity and therapeutic benefit.
Growing up, her ancestors’ secret formulas formed a part of Shrankhla’s daily self-care rituals. “A big part of Ayurveda is using household items to take care of yourself,” she explained. “So when Dad had trouble sleeping, we would use a combination of the oils to soothe him. We created a more nuanced product.”
Their age-old wisdom has echoed through the beautysphere…
As one generation passed down secrets to the next, Shrankhla inherited a sophisticated repertoire of healing recipes that inspired her to found UMA in 2015. UMA is the producer of the world’s finest luxury oils, and gives women access to powerful, artisanal products that deliver dramatic results.
Every product that travels from their estate in India has been carefully inspected, and tested by over a thousand women. Their age-old wisdom has echoed through the beautysphere and drawn the attention of the world’s most prestigious beauty brands like Tom Ford to Esteé Lauder, who now depend on UMA to supply their organic oils, as well.
When speaking of building her company, Shrankhla shared that she felt “privileged to have come into business structures that are difficult to set up from scratch.” Cemented into place over centuries, “they are part of the DNA of our company, and are therefore much easier to keep in place.”
Centuries later, UMA continues to create products fit for royalty.
If you give back, the community gives back to you.
When it comes to running her business, Shrankhla takes a similar holistic approach to leadership as she does to medicine. According to Ayurveda, emotional balance and a healthy lifestyle are two critical elements to mental and physical wellbeing. These two pillars inform the respect and esteem with which every UMA employee is regarded.
“If you give back, the community gives back to you,” she affirmed. “Our workers naturally develop commitment to the company because they feel the company is committed to them.”
The UMA estate has a long history of providing safe and dignified employment for women.
Nurturing these symbiotic relationships strengthens UMA’s ability to support gender equality, as well. According to Shrankhla, “Gender equality comes from true financial independence,” and the UMA estate has a long history of providing safe and dignified employment for women. Their generosity extends to providing education programs, pension plans, and childcare to all their staff.
Her philanthropy has spread even beyond the company walls. Every year, Uma invests one third of company profits back into the local community, enough to fund a free health clinic and scholarships encouraging youth to pursue higher education. Once again, Shrankhla’s 360o approach to running her business creates a harmonious energy that ultimately ensures superior product quality.
My aunt taught me that true beauty is found in simplicity, integrity and equilibrium.
Consumers can see the product effects almost immediately. “UMA Wellness oils I can feel right away,” she recounted. “The smells and rituals around using the oils put me in a different frame of mind, too.” Her experience with skincare is similar: “The exfoliating cleanser has immediate effects, revitalizing the skin and shrinking the size of pores.”
The effects of the brightening oil, on the other hand, take about a week to witness, but produces consistent results: “Even if I go off of it for just a few days, I already begin to see my skin show more redness, dryness, little bumps.”
When Shrankhla applies her oils, she knows they are born out of tradition and love. “My aunt taught me that true beauty is found in simplicity, integrity and equilibrium,” she concluded. She hopes these values continue to reflect in the success of her community, and resonate with all those who use UMA products, now and centuries into the future.
Lani Allen is a senior at Columbia University majoring in Creative Writing and concentrating in Spanish. After serving as Vice President of her class for two years, she has contributed written pieces and illustrations to many on-campus publications. As a writer with a passion for beauty, Lani enjoys capturing the stories of innovative thinkers and risk-takers shaping the industry as we know it.