NEW YORK — Eight months after entering the beauty industry with a face care line, a new Ayurvedic brand called Body Bistro has set its sights on — what else — body care.
While Body Bistro focuses on launching a body care line called Asana Spa — which first entered the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua, Maui late last month — the company is also developing additions to the assortment. Asana Spa, which now features a body scrub, clay mask, milk bath, and body wash, is slated to get extensions such as additional scrubs and masks in the spring.
Los Angeles-based Body Bistro bowed at the Extracts show in Manhattan in April. But the company’s roots go back five years, when founder Carina Chatlani began compounding ingredients. Chatlani, an alchemist, began tinkering with product formulations well before Body Bistro was formed.
The brand is now carried in between 55 and 60 doors worldwide (45 in the U.S.), according to Chatlani, including spas and specialty stores. "Our goal is $500,000 in sales next year," she said, "then double that for 2004." Fundamental to growth is increased worldwide distribution, including a plan to triple the brand’s U.S. distribution within the next year. Also in the works are two new collections: one for men and another for youngsters, to be called Baby Bistro.
While studying plant morphology, genetics and microbiology at an American missionary school in the Himalayan foothills, Chatlani observed Ayurvedic methodologies of local monks. They eventually showed her ways of harvesting then using herbs different from the methods she had seen in India, her birthplace. For instance, Chatlani noted, "They would chant, then pluck the herb to give it a spiritual edge."
Body Bistro’s 13 existing face care stockkeeping units, called Asana Skin System, employ East Indian herbs as key ingredients. These include, especially, neem, for its purported healing properties; turmeric for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and gotu kola, for enhanced circulation and collagen synthesis. Products are grouped into Ayurvedic doshas, or skin types: vata (dry), pitta (sensitive) and kapha (oily), as well as a tridosha group. The new body care range also uses these herbs and Ayurvedic classifications.Pointing to an emergence of Ayurveda in the beauty industry, which was marked, perhaps most notably, by the launch of supermodel Christy Turlington’s Sundari collection in 1999, Chatlani noted, "Ayurveda has been around for 10,000 years and it manifests itself in many ways — each of us has a different version.
"Many spas already had Ayurveda but didn’t have a name for it," she added. "The use of Ayurvedic elements" accounts for as much as $1 billion worth of business in the spa industry, Chatlani contends. "[Ayurveda can mean] asking your clients: ‘Would you like to be balanced? Here are the tools and herbal extracts you need to balance your body out.’"