Aura Crafts was founded by Fatima Khan’s parents, which began as a home-based hobby while she was still in university. Fatima along with her mother Saweela Khan now manages Aura Crafts that specialises in 100% natural handcrafted and cruelty free skincare products. We talk one on one with Fatima as she shares some details of her professional journey with us
What inspired the idea of Aura Crafts?
A passion for holistic health, my parents and I founded Aura as a home-based hobby of making handcrafted, natural soaps.
How did it transition from hand crafted soaps to a whole plethora of organic products?
The response of the home-made soaps was so fantastic that our family and friends convinced us to market them on social media. A year into it we were selling at several retail stores in Lahore and now, seven years later, we’re selling nationwide!
In your opinion, how important is it to read the ingredients while buying skincare products?
Incredibly important; what’s the point of moving towards natural, safe skincare if you’re not interested in knowing what the product contains? Your skin is like a sponge, so one should certainly feed it something nutritious!
What does a typical work day involve?
Yoga, a big breakfast, office time, family time, dog time, TV time and finally a little bit of meditation, and good old sleep time.
What is the most gratifying part of your job?
Making everything in-house, giving our employees a sense of productivity and pride about locally handcrafted products, and receiving positive reviews from customers who suffer from serious skin conditions.
As Aura Crafts celebrate all skin colours, how do you feel about the country’s cosmetic industry facilitating a limited shade range?
It really infuriates me. I’m a person with tan skin so it bothers me even more. We have a long way to go as a country and subcontinent, to tackle these unfair (pun intended) beauty standards. I don’t understand how we, as a nation, really look up to public figures like Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra who fall in the tan/dark skin range, but we don’t seem to like those tones on ourselves, friends or our children. Doesn’t matter how fair or dark you are, I truly believe feeling beautiful from within is what shines brightest, and people should stop feeling privileged about their physical attributes.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in the field?
Be honest, work hard and stay focused!
Which products on your shelf do you gravitate towards most?
It depends on the season. These days it’s Rosewood Essential Oil, Organic Rose Water, Head Over Heels Foot Scrub and Activated Charcoal Bar!
What is the most challenging part about your job?
Finding local vendors with certified ingredients and maintaining an affordable price range with the increasingly expensive dollar to rupee rate! Most of our ingredients are imported, which means we spend everything on duties and customs. It’s absolutely nerve wrecking.
How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?
I’m a bit all over the place. I guess you have to be when you own a business. I divide my week into two halves. I spend Monday, Wednesday and Friday with my marketing and retail team, where we discuss everything from sales, promotions to designing Aura artwork and I spend Tuesday and Thursday (sometimes Saturday) at the plant with my production team where I overlook the production plan, test out new recipes and decide future products.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
I am fascinated by how incredibly organised my dad was so I’m learning to be as organised as him. I’m terribly failing, but it helps me meet my work deadlines and also helps me make room for more creativity - which means some new fun Aura products are on the horizon!
Where are you currently stocking?
Lahore: All the Al Fatahs, Haryali Store, My Vitamin Store, The Organic Shop, Esa Jee DHA.
Islamabad: Shams, The Edit Store, Al Fatah, Shaheen Chemist.
Rawalpindi: Shaheen Chemist.
Faisalabad: Al Fatah.
Karachi: Necos, Springs Store, Agha’s Store, Pharmacie Plus.
What are the top three Aura Crafts skincare products to pick up this winter?
Revive face oil for dry and/or ageing skin.
Goat milk bar for dry and sensitive skin.
Lift me up hydrating + firming face scrub + mask.
What is in store for Aura Crafts in the future?
We’re going international and some exciting new product ranges are coming soon!