Nisprih (Nis-pree) Mohan-Ram is the founder of Chemnist - a body care company rooted in South Asian and Middle Eastern culture. Their signature product is called the Body Butter Melt and it has gained a following for its mousse-like texture that quite literally melts into skin. The exotic fragrances serve as a nostalgic reminder to the Eastern diaspora who grew up smelling these scents regularly. Best sellers include After Maghrib, a combination of roasted coffee, peppermint, and lavender, and Scheherazade, a combination of cardamom, rose and black pepper. The full product line up currently has more than 14 scents with a wide range of floral, fruity, spicy and woodsy notes.
Nisprih grew up in an entrepreneurial family. She was encouraged from a young age to pursue interests outside of the typical 9-5 job. She experimented with a lot of freelance content creation from blogging to photography to video creation and illustration. Art, beauty and healing also were topics that gripped her from a young age. It makes sense that they are all elements of the Chemnist brand today. And with a background in business, operations and marketing, Nisprih had a strong foundation to build the company from the ground up.
Before releasing products for others to use, Nisprih experimented with scents that would represent her own style and preferences. Strong, heavy scents led the pack like saffron, cedar, and oud (a highly precious resin that identify the perfumes of the Middle East). She landed on three scents, two of which would later become leading fan favourites. The fun, experimental process fuelled her will to create a whole company around the product. “People would stop me and ask what perfume I was wearing. That’s how I knew I had something unique. Something that people wanted more of, but didn’t know where to get it from.” From there, Chemnist’s brand ethos was born. She believes that everyone should be able to experience the richness of Eastern fragrance. “It’s truly unlike anything we have in the Western market.” says Nisprih. “Instead of recycling the same notes that we see all the time, why not introduce something new to the market? Put it out there and see what sticks.”
Once the formulations were solidified, an important aspect of the business was sourcing quality, all natural ingredients. The search was a long, but important one. Nisprih was able to identify strong players in the Canadian market and also identify what purchases she would need to import. Packaging was another equally important branch of the business that involved ensuring only sustainable materials were used. Chemnist strips down the unnecessary and makes sure that everything can be reused, recycled or composted. For that reason, Body Butter Melts are shipped out in recyclable boxes and compostable mailers.
Chemnist is also meant to appeal to multiple ethnic groups, which can be seen in the logo itself. Growing up with a mother from a Muslim household and a father from a Hindu one, she was influenced by both religions and cultures. Her parents encouraged discovering and learning about other cultures. There was always a strong respect for Traditional Chinese Medicine, for example. Nisprih cites that as a strong reason for her obsession with holistic healing and natural remedies. There were common denominators in these Eastern forms of medicine that she wanted to bring forward in her formulations. Similarly, applying the tenets of Ayurveda continues to be an important aspect of the brand. Aside from scent, health and wellness drives new product development.
The team’s main focus these days is setting the brand apart from other South Asian companies. It’s easy to be pigeonholed and grouped together with others just based on the founder’s South Asian heritage. Being a part of the South Asian community is extremely important and one of their brand objectives, however Chemnist aims to represent more than just that. They’re holistic, anchored by science, eco-friendly, and unique in the artisanal scents they formulate. There are other Ayurvedic body care companies out there, but Chemnist fills a special gap in the market as it relates to fragrance. Chemnist is an example that everyone has something different to offer, regardless of the brand’s origin story.
Another area worthy of differentiation is their commitment to being green. With more and more people becoming concerned about the environment, it's no surprise that greenwashing has become a big issue in the world of marketing. Unfortunately, big corporations with large budgets are often able to greenwash their products, making them seem more environmentally friendly than they actually are. On the other hand, small businesses like Chemnist that are diligent about sustainability can have a hard time getting noticed. greenwashing makes it difficult for consumers to trust anything that companies say about their products, but small businesses like Chemnist that are honest and transparent about their ingredient lists, manufacturing processes, packaging and all other operations are more likely to build trust with consumers. In addition, small businesses tend to be more local and therefore have a smaller environmental footprint. And because they're usually more focused on quality than quantity, their products tend to be better for you. So next time you're looking for natural, good-for-you products, seek out small businesses that are transparent about their ingredients and operations. You'll be doing yourself—and the planet—a favour. Chemnist continues to educate consumers on what being green really means. They hope that consumers feel that they have options - you can have natural, sensitive-skin friendly products at an affordable price. You just need to do your research. You can even source products at even cheaper prices with Chemnist. They have a Wabi Sabi line that sells Body Butter Melts at a discount if they have small manufacturing defects (like a dented jar, or an old product label). Small, intentional choices like these sources of pride for Nisprih and the Chemnist team. As Nisprih puts it, “Sustainability doesn’t need to be expensive or difficult. It’s a mindset that can have healthy impacts on your lifestyle and the environment if exercised consistently.”
The Chemnist team has plans to grow the product line up and introduce new scents based on consumer demand. The brand has seen tremendous growth season to season, and Nisprih is excited to work towards even bigger and better things. We all know that feeling when you put on a new outfit and suddenly feel like a million bucks - that's the power of a good scent. That’s what keeps the Chemnist team going. While we might spend a lot of time and energy on our facial skincare routine, sometimes the rest of our body can get neglected. That's why Chemnist is here to encourage everyone to get experimental with their body care routine. By finding your signature scent and playing with artisanal products, you can turn your self care routine into an experience that feels truly good for you. Whether it's a luxurious lotion or an invigorating scrub, taking the time to pamper your whole body will leave you feeling confident and radiant from head to toe. So go ahead and explore - the Chemnist team is geared up to serving you more products to choose from!
If you're thinking about starting a business, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Where do you even begin? Nisprih’s advice would be to dream big, then break that vision down into small, achievable tasks. It's easy to get bogged down in the details of a grand idea, but you need to remember that the biggest hurdle is getting started. Just keep at it and the momentum will propel you forward. Remember to do your research - build an audience and demand before your official launch to maximize your impact. You’ll be able to validate product-market fit and grow a community of highly engaged people along the way.
Of course, running a business isn't always easy. You need to wear a lot of hats and be a jack of all trades. But if you're consistent and have a growth mindset, the learning curve won't seem so daunting. Surround yourself with professionals with strengths outside of your own to make sure your business stays well rounded. They’ll help cover your blind spots as you focus on accelerating growth. And who knows? With hard work and a bit of luck, you might just find some amazing opportunities along the way.