Geerthana Uthayakumar Successfully Launched Socially Responsible E-Commerce Brand Devi Wellness Company In The Midst Of a Global Pandemic
Geerthana's journey into natural, homemade, bath and skin care began a couple years ago when she was on the search for products to nourish and balance her children's sensitive, often dry, and eczema-prone skin.
Ara Ehamparam
Business Owner
Toronto, Canada
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When she couldn't find products that worked for her, she resorted to learning about ancient ingredients found in the Eastern parts of the world and age-old routines practiced by her ancestors.

What made you start the Devi Wellness Company?

When I shared my children’s natural skincare routine on my Instablog, I received a lot of positive feedback and requests to sell what I was using on my kids. I hadn’t really put any thought into selling or launching a small shop prior to then but once I had that encouragement it seemed like the perfect thing to do. 

I feel like this is the “Golden Age of the Creator Economy” where it’s never been easier to be a creator and monetize as a creator.  Would you say that this statement is accurate - has this been your experience?

I would definitely say that this statement is true in the sense that we are fortunate to have free apps like Instagram which we can utilize as a professional portfolio to showcase skill, talent, and essentially our work. As a content creator, just posting on Instagram has brought forth many opportunities and collaborations my way. As a small business owner, it has brought forth not only many customers but repeat customers in such a short amount of time. 

How do you manage your time between being a mother of 4 kids, homeschooling, blogging and managing your business?  

Finding a balance between all of the above has proven to be much more difficult than I had initially anticipated. My first and foremost priority are my young children so whatever time is leftover after making sure their needs are met, is what gets devoted to either blogging or the business. Planning everything in advance from meals and lessons to product launches and blog posts has helped me make efficient use of the time I do have. The reality is I hardly get time for myself, I simply cannot take on all opportunities that come my way, and I don’t have as much time as I’d like to devote to my small business. However, I take what I can get and make the best of it. 


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How have your family and friends supported you through your journey?

My husband works long hours to support our family so that I could stay home with our children and my parents are still working. As a result I have very minimal access to physical help. However the support I have received from family, friends, and the Instagram community via encouragement through messages and shares has been vital to my success. 

I noticed that you’re a vegetarian which is something more people in general are trending towards.  What pushed you in this direction?

I have wanted to become a vegetarian since I was a child but I wasn’t able to persuade my parents until I turned 13. I could never justify the idea of an animal being raised, many times in poor, unethical, conditions, with the intention of being slaughtered for food. It just seemed very wrong to me even as a child. As a result, I have been a vegetarian for about 19 years now. 


Where do you see Devi Wellness Company in the next 3-5 years? Where do you see yourself in that same time period?

In the next three to five years, my children will that much older and thus more independent. This means I will most likely have enough time to devote to myself and my ambitions which include not only growing my company but also possibly taking on a few courses to further enhance my knowledge and benefit the business. As odd as this may sound, I don’t really have big plans for the company other than having world-wide shipping available. I believe anything mass-produced loses its integrity and therefore I do not want to do this on a bigger scale. I just want to be able to offer an all-natural, organic skincare option using ingredients our ancestors used to those that desire it and earn enough to lead a comfortable life while helping those less fortunate at the same time. 

How has COVID-19 impacted your businesses?  How have you adapted?

I actually launched my business during COVID but the response has been great. I find people now are more keen on supporting small businesses so I’ve been really fortunate. 

Tell us about a major win that you’ve had so far that you’re proud of.

A major win would definitely be the successful launch of my small business in the midst of a global pandemic and just months after having had my fourth baby. Since my launch in late October, I have been able to plant 100 fruits trees in rural states of India via One Tree Planted, make a contribution towards girls’ education which was matched six times via Plan Canada, and help fund CTHA Canada’s pilot project to provide home gardens and chickens to families in Pavatkodichchenai, Sri-Lanka. 

What is a failure you’ve experienced in the last 5-10 years that you’ve learned the most from?

In 2012, when I a full-time postsecondary student, pregnant with my second child, I suffered an autoimmune flare up which landed me in the hospital. As a result of the hospitalization I failed the two labs I was not present for which resulted in an automatic fail of that course. At the time this seemed like a huge failure for me especially because I was studying on top of raising a family. However I quickly learned to take it as an opportunity to slow down and focus more on health. Since being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition I have learned not to take health and essentially life for granted and have introduced an organic diet, natural skincare, yoga, and meditation to my family. 

What is a great business idea that you would be working on if you weren’t focused on your current business?  

I’m not a very business driven individual however if I wasn’t working on Devi Wellness Company, I would probably be looking into making sustainable and biodegradable clothing pieces with natural fabrics in an attempt to reduce the amount of clothes that end up in landfills while decreasing the negative impact textile manufacturing has on the environment. 


What do you think you would tell 16-year Geerthana looking back?

There are so many things I would like to tell myself looking back but mainly that no matter how many things you do right, life seldom goes according to plan and that it’s okay because everything that happens (or doesn’t happen) will take you towards your destiny. 

How would you describe your dream life?  

My dream life would be one where I move away from the city, probably onto a piece of farmland, to live minimalistically while growing my own food, practicing yoga outdoors with the sunrise, spending quality time with my loved ones, and doing my part to help others, preferably hands-on through various organizations. 

What is your favourite book(s) you’ve read recently and why?

These days the only books I read are children’s books. However one of my favourite books is “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. There are so many great underlying messages within the book but the main one and the one that resonates with me the most that when you really truly want something the universe will conspire in helping you achieve it. 

What is a new belief, behaviour or habit that has most improved your life?

Practicing gratitude every morning has definitely improved my life as it gives me the opportunity to reflect, focus on the good, and start each day with a positive mentality. 

If you were given $1 billion, how would you allocate the money to change the world?

I believe poverty is the cause of high crime rates, child marriages, exploitation, etc. and as a result the majority of the billion will go towards efforts tackling poverty in various parts of the world as well as efforts designed to empower women within their communities. Another portion will be allocated to help end human trafficking and child exploitation. Lastly a portion would go to initiatives that are working to protect the environment and thus combat climate change so that we can leave the planet in a better state for future generations. 


How would you describe the Tamil community in Toronto?

I would describe the Tamil community as one of the most diverse and fastest economically growing communities within Toronto. Our hardworking and ambitious nature has allowed members of the community to successfully dominate any field in which they choose to work and that is definitely something to be proud of.  

Do you think affluent members of the Tamil community contribute their fair share to philanthropic initiatives outside of the community? Any changes you’d like to see?

To be honest with you, I really do not know. However if they weren’t contributing their fair share to initiatives outside of our own community, I don’t think I would look negatively upon them because there is so much that needs to be done for our own community which is at an disadvantage due to the impact of the decades long genocide in Sri-Lanka. I hope as affluent members they are contributing to initiatives set up to help those that have relocated here as well as our people back home who are still are facing poverty and limited access to resources due to discrimination and war.

What is your favourite Tamil food (meal or dessert)?

There are way too many to choose from but my absolute favourites are the dishes that are made during auspicious festivals - pongal, vaadai, ladoo, sundal, and mothakums. 

What is your favourite Tamil movie?

I have never watched a Tamil movie but to be fair I hardly watch any movies or shows. 

What does Tamil culture mean to you?

To me Tamil culture means a rich and diverse culture - known for its ancient language, poems and epics, Carnatic music and Bharathanaatyam, festivals celebrating nature, aromatic dishes with healing properties, sarees, and hospitality - which continues to disperse and evolve globally. 


Connect with Geerthana via her TC profile

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Ara Ehamparam
Business Owner |
Toronto,  Canada
Podcast Host: @TheTamilCreator Co-founder: @ContinyouCare Community Builder: @TamilCu...
Podcast Host: @TheTamilCreator Co-founder: @ContinyouCare Community Builder: @TamilCu...
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