Shrankhla Holecek named her company Uma (launched this past April) to reflect her aunt’s spirit who taught her that true beauty is found in simplicity, integrity and equilibrium. Shrankhla says “Uma was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known, inside and out” and she hopes “to honor her with a brand that celebrates her indomitable sense of self” with the concept to engage “the Uma in each of us – our ability to find peace amidst chaos, to balance our complex ambitions with our most fundamental emotions, and to find contentment in the knowledge that everything we need is already within us.”
What makes these oils special is the heritage and authenticity behind the concept. Shrankhla’s family has been in the ayurvedic oil business for centuries. The photo above of Shrankhla was on a recent trip in April just before harvest to the 90 year old family farm (there are others that date back 700 years!) about 40 kms from Raipur, Chattisgarh in India. A dedicated team of caretakers select the finest seeds and nurse the plants through the growing season which lasts between one and three years, depending on the crop. Sandalwood is the notable exception with trees taking over 15 years to mature which is why there’s a large barrier to entry in Sandalwood farming.
Shrankhla explains, “While many crop growers harvest the same plant multiple times to produce as much oil as possible, at Uma we harvest each plant no more than two times before replanting, because we have learned that the first two harvests generate the highest quality essential oils, and that their potency declines after the second harvest. This results in a lower yield (and a much longer cycle), but far superior oils.”
Why did she start with these particular items; 5 face oils, 4 wellness oils, and a hair oil? “We first wanted to launch with a set of products very core to Ayurvedic principles and in an area of rare expertise where we arguably have world-leading talent – essential oils and their farming and extraction. Second and rather importantly, oils are extremely powerful in generating results – and fast. Think about it: the skin’s outer layer is made up of fatty tissue; skin understands oil as its own natural extension and allows for rapid penetration where the nutrients can go to do their work, very rapidly. In our quest to establish the result-orientation of Ayurveda, we wanted to lead with a set of products that produced visible results rapidly, and without side effects.” She adds, “It would have been disingenuous to our craft to create ‘one’ catch-all face oil – essential oils simply don’t work that way. While all our face oils have a foundation of ‘skin health’ boosting oils – we perfect each one to deliver precisely what it is meant to do. Anti-aging essential oils (e.g, frankincense that works like a natural retinol or Rose oil that works like hyaluronic acid) are very different from skin clarifying oils (e.g., clove & tea tree for bacteria and lavender for inflammation). Our formulas are 1000s of years old but we picked to launch with the ones that targeted issues that I heard most complaints about.”
“Our hair oil is interesting because while many western hair oils target primarily the strands – our dual purpose oil’s distinctive value comes from its ability to create health, strength and shine from literally the roots! It’s use as a treatment oil (15-20 min before a shower or even overnight!) provides targeted nourishment to the roots for hair that attaches better to the scalp and falls less, appears thicker and healthier and doesn’t grey prematurely!”
It’s this kind of truly remarkable DNA that contributes to the authentic feeling of the line. You can find it online at umaoils.com.