Meet Shrankhla Holecek of Uma Oils -via Vanity Fair
With love from India–family, love, and oils.
"Meet Shrankhla Holecek, founder of Uma Oils—your one-stop shop for the most luxurious face, body, and aromatherapy oils. She launched only six months ago, but the line has quickly taken flight, much like its addictive aromas.
Holecek may be only 34 years old, but she was, in many ways, born an expert in essential oils. You see, her family has been a purveyor of top-of-the-line essential oils for centuries, and so, while Uma itself may be new, the history and research behind it is extensive. “The story goes back 700 or 800 years,” says Holecek. “I, by and large, feel more like a vehicle that spreads the ethos of the brand rather than someone who created it.” For a time, the young entrepreneur’s ancestors acted as the royal Ayurvedic physicians in central India, and eventually, as a result of their successful healing methods, they were granted acres of land on which to harvest the most precious ingredients. To this day, the family continues to strive, grow, and produce the highest-quality essential oils on those same lands.
Located in Chhattisgarh, India, the family-owned farm/factory has long reveled in its reputation as the world’s leading producer of essential oils, supplying to beauty brands such as Estée Lauder and Tom Ford. But with Uma Oils, Holecek has successfully managed to bridge the gap between manufacturer and consumer by effectively cutting out the middle man. Uma provides consumers with a platform in which to shop and order a vast assortment of face, hair, body, and wellness oils in their purest forms. The idea is that, while we are so concerned with what we put into our bodies, we should be equally wary of what we put onto them—especially given that our skin is our largest bodily organ. It would seem, too, that consumers are catching on to this blossoming brand, which also happens to have garnered celebrity following in Anne Hathaway, Molly Sims, and Haley Bennett. And, if you find yourself unsure where to begin, some of Holecek’s personal favorites include the Intensely Nourishing Hair Oil, Ultimate Brightening Face Oil, and Pure Calm Wellness Oil.
Uma’s sustainable strides are exemplary, but it’s their ethics that will hopefully influence others to take note. Because—let’s face it—without the workers, there is no farm. “These are large farms, and many people are needed to operate them,” Holecek says. “India is primarily rural, so we thought about how we can bring along the community that has been working with us similarly for generations, like our family has, and, as we modernize, what do we owe back to them? Especially as a country that has severe financial issues, like the income disparity and the gross gender inequality against women.”
Holecek's family farm, in central India.
In India, trades are typically passed down through the generations. That was, however coincidentally, the case for Holecek, and it certainly is the case for many of those working on her family’s land. Full family trees have found work in the fields of this farm, utilizing the skills and expertise passed down over hundreds of years. More than 50 percent of the employees are women, who receive equal pay for equal work (yes, you heard it here!) Best of all, though, is the free-of-cost health clinic they built in the village, one that a parent can now bring their child to without missing a full day of work in order to make it to the next nearest hospital, three hours away.
Holecek has built a company around the core values instilled in her by her family, and, in doing this, she proves that quality need not suffer for ethics. She has a line of fabulously effective products that gives back to both humanity and the earth while helping to heal and nurture both externally and internally. And if we can guarantee one thing, it’s this: one whiff and you’ll be hooked, for good!"
Uma is rooted in the philosophy that beauty, wellness and a fullfilled life go hand-in-hand. The health of your skin and mind are deeply interconnected.