The story of how AYU was born after two friends travelled through india

AYU Smack Bang Designs 1
AYU Smack Bang Designs 2
AYU Smack Bang Designs 3

You have probably smelt the divine aromas of the Vedic-inspired scented oils by AYU. Perhaps, it was when you stepped into your favourite homeware store where the unique scent was floating through the air or a time when you inhaled a beautiful yet unusual scent that emanated from the nape of an obvious cool girl, who just strolled past. Ayu oils have that lasting effect. They are the kind of fragrances that stay on your mind and have been on ours for quite a while now, which is why we thought it was about time we opened up a conversation with the creators. Read on as we chat with one half of the two-woman team, Alanna Quinn, as she tells us the ins-and-outs of their biz and how it came to be. 

The story of how AYU was born after two friends travelled through india
The story of how AYU was born after two friends travelled through india
  1. HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
    I don’t actually drink coffee, chai is my weakness!
  2. HOW DO YOU EARN A CRUST?
    I work in fashion PR alongside running Ayu with my business partner Madeleine.
  3. HOW DID YOUR CAREER BEGIN?
    Ayu began with a shared love of Ayurveda and subsequent studies in Ayurvedic medicine by both Madeleine and myself. The idea of creating Vedic-inspired scents came about while we were both travelling through India together and not long after we returned back to Sydney Ayu was born. 
  4. WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
    No day is alike which I love. It generally involves answering emails, planning new product development, sampling new materials and scents and trying new blends. This is all alongside maintaining relationships with our wholesalers, making connections with new ones or planning shoots where we collaborate with our favourite creatives to help bring to life our brand story.

 

AYU Smack Bang Designs 2

“India plays such a huge inspiration to our brand. We always come back brimming with ideas and new-found excitement.”

  1. TELL US ABOUT YOUR BRAND, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DREAMING IT UP?
    The creation of Ayu stems from extensive studies of India’s ancient and traditional systems of healing, Ayurveda, and is also grounded in the strong beliefs tied to the Vedic traditions. Ayurveda translated from Sanskrit means ‘the science of life’. Ayurveda’s main philosophies revolve around the three fundamental energies or Doshas; Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These three energies exist within all things in balance and are carefully considered when creating each unique Ayu blend. We’d been dreaming up Ayu for at least 2 years prior to launching in 2014 once I’d completed my studies in Ayurveda.
  2. WHAT’S BEEN THE BIGGEST EYE-OPENER FOR YOU WHEN OPENING YOUR ONLINE STORE?
    How much work was actually involved! It’s not as simple as it sounds and you really need to visually tell your brand story to make a connection with potential customers. There’s also the constant promotion that needs to happen to bring about a greater brand awareness so that you’re keeping current customers interested while appealing to new customers.
  3. WORK AND KIDS, TELL US YOUR SECRET! 
    I wish I had some magic tricks to share with you but I don’t! It’s hard work and a constant juggle between staying present to them while keeping on top of work. Meditation and lots of yoga keep me grounded, focused and sane. I’m a big fan of lists and Madeleine and I never put pressure on ourselves as we both juggle family life. It’s so far worked for us and we have grown our business to exactly the point we want and at the time that is right for us.
  4. WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO REMEDY WHEN YOU’RE STUCK IN A CREATIVE RUT?
    Remove yourself from the situation and go and do something to take your mind off it, go for a walk or a swim, then come back with a fresh head, even if it’s a few days later I find I come back with a completely different mindset and sense of clarity.
AYU Smack Bang Designs 3
AYU Smack Bang Designs 1
  1. HOW DOES TRAVEL INTEGRATE INTO YOUR BUSINESS?
    Travel plays a big role for us and our business. We work with many suppliers in India so regular trips to meet up with them is a huge help to the sometimes ‘lost in translation’ emails and phone calls we have. We are so much more productive with them when we meet face-to-face and India is such a huge inspiration for our brand. We always come back brimming with ideas and new-found excitement. Travel, in general, is so important as we are constantly sourcing new materials such as essential oils to work with globally.
  2. HOW DO YOU START YOUR WEEK?
    With a yoga class!
  3. WHAT ABOUT ENDING THE WEEK?
    Again with a yoga class. I’m also addicted to a good massage as well.
  4. TELL US ABOUT A PROJECT YOU’VE LOVED WORKING ON:
    2017 – Launching our traditional Ayurvedic body oils was a highlight and working on the campaign around this with a bunch of highly creative and intelligent women.
  5. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST HURDLE FOR YOU WHEN STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
    Working with a lot of overseas suppliers can be challenging, be it through time differences or communication being lost in translation. Things can take much longer than necessary at times.
  6. WHO ARE YOUR CREATIVE HEROES?
    Needless to say, I love contemporary Indian photographers such as Dayanita Singh who beautifully capture life in India.
  7. WHAT IS YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE?
    I’m planning a trip to Italy and Greece later in the year. I’m on the hunt for a delicious bergamot while there!
  8. WHAT’S ONE LESSON YOUR BUSINESS HAS TAUGHT YOU ABOUT LIFE?
    It has taught me about patience and to trust that you are exactly where you need to be.

Campaign photography by Daniella Rech

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