Meet Kindred & Wild founder Mugdha Sapte
‘I have had my share of skin problems and reactions. After a gruelling time I eventually cut down to the most basic thing. Just one oil. Nothing else. I would change the blend depending on the season or what I felt like experimenting with but I stopped using any face wash or scrubs or moisturisers. And guess what? My face was doing fine without them. Maybe even better.’
We have both been fans of Kindred + Wild and founder Mughda Sapte for a few years now. We love the minimalist approach to her product line of handmade oils and balms, which are wonderfully versatile in their simplicity. We got in touch to hear more about how and why she created the brand.
Tell us about Kindred + Wild for those who don’t know you…
Kindred + Wild is a small batch organic apothecary making oils and balms inspired by herbal remedies, Ayurveda or folklore about plant powers.
Where did the idea for Kindred + Wild come from?
At a very low point in my life a few years ago I was doing a lot of soul searching. And I realised that I wanted to work for myself and I wanted to work with plants and nature. So I followed that lead. A few months later it struck me. I had always been very interested in natural, plant based healing, even took up a herbal remedies workshop. And at the time I was making my own lip balm as a remedy to my cold sores and blending my own face oil with essential oils. These seemingly separate aspects just merged so well.
Why balms and oils?
At the beginning I was keenly aware that I am neither an herbalist nor a cosmetician nor do I have any academic training in these subjects let alone in doing business. So I wanted to put out products which I was confident in selling and had experience in making and using. Tried and tested. As I mentioned, at that point I had been making my own lip balm as a cold sore remedy for a few years already. I suppose that’s how it started. A lip balm which was also medicinal? Wow!
I have had my share of skin problems and reactions. After a gruelling time I eventually cut down to the most basic thing. Just one oil. Nothing else. I would change the blend depending on the season or what I felt like experimenting with but I stopped using any face wash or scrubs or moisturisers. And guess what? My face was doing fine without them. Maybe even better.
So balms and oils I felt comfortable with, I had practice making and using them for a while so felt more confident in recommending to others. And I love how multifunctional they are. And that they don’t need any extra synthetic ingredients or preservatives making them absolutely natural which fits my ethos. Simple, honest, natural.
Why is being ethical important to you?
I am really glad to be living in a time when a great shift is taking place. Slowly. Being ethical in as much capacity as possible is becoming more and more mainstream. As they say, the revolution of one century is the norm of the next. We as a society are growing up. So to me it’s not that it is important, it’s just good sense.
What steps have you made to ensure your brand is ethical?
Since I work predominantly with plants and herbs, being ethical to me means being morally grounded and mindful towards the environment. I try to use organic ingredients as much as reasonable and practical. I should probably shout out about this more but as I said, to me it’s just good sense. I source most of my ingredients from a reputed, soil association accredited supplier based in the UK. The only thing I import is Kokum butter from Maharashtra, India where I am originally from. It’s a small scale rural production predominantly using wild harvesting methods.
What’s been the toughest part of starting and running an ethical brand? Any advice for someone looking to start their own?
Pricing was a challenge if I have to be ethical and pay myself without compromising on the aesthetic and branding. This year I am tackling marketing head on. It’s something I’ve been shying away from and avoiding. I’m so out of my depth there!
I have to stay true to why I started to do this. I have notes and sayings taped on the walls around my desk to remind myself of the reasons. I have one which simply says ‘WHY?’ Why am I doing this? Why should I choose this over that? They act like my compass. So I think that would be my advice to someone looking to start their own ethical brand, always remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing.
What does the future hold for Kindred + Wild?
At the moment I am focused on gathering momentum and broadening my audience. But I can’t wait to start experimenting again and make some new products. The future is exciting, full of discovering new plants and their awesome powers and hopefully more outdoors.
What are your other favourite ethical brands?
Patagonia and People tree are the most accessible ethical brands I love. And I absolutely love the transparency and story of Trakke Bags. But my all time favourite is always Juniper Ridge.