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20 Oct 2014
“I firmly believe that being an entrepreneur runs in our blood” – Priti Mehta

Priti Mehta

Recently Priti Mehta was in the news when the company she founded, Omved, won the award for the “Most Admired Retailer of the Year” in the “Health & Wellness category” at the 11th annual Images Retail Awards (IRA) in Mumbai. It was one of the 25 winners from among the 145 nominated companies. Priti is the daughter of Nainaben and Harshad R. Mehta.

One of the first women entrepreneurs among the community, Priti started her professional career in the family business of jewellery manufacturing and later retail. She subsequently set up her own venture, Omved, focused on natural products and living which now has 44 points of sale located across 5 cities.

Recently Palanpur Online met up with Priti Mehta to learn more about her story of success.

Palanpur Online: Your latest business Omved has recently won an award. Can you share with us some details of this achievement?
Priti Mehta: This award is a homecoming of the Vedic traditions. It’s a celebration of pure natural living! We’re very happy to be cited among extremely admired and veteran brands. It is indeed a BIG honour for Omved.  We thank all who have supported us on this journey, all who have worked diligently to create Omved, all who have given their feedback in the form of compliments, criticism and even complaints, for they helped to push our benchmarks higher and lastly all the energies of the Universe that are opening the way for us.

Welcoming Nicky Oppenheimer of De Beers

POCan you share with us some of the highlights of your career? And any of your other achievements?
PM: I have always been a person who is very self-critical and not so competitive. I learn from other veterans in the field and learn equally from novices and the dreamers. In this journey I am always the learner. I have learnt about the immense power of our bodies and minds. How if one understands what disturbs our balance and the simple solutions that are needed to restore that balance, one can enjoy life to the fullest. This is the message that I want to share through Omved.

At work my focus has never been about profitability or number of stores or expansion; it has always been about how many people have we reached, how many people have experienced Omved, how many have heard about the healing sciences of the Vedic tradition. And the numbers look great!! To have your dreams realized, to have your wishes come true and to have people connect with their own selves and progress on their own paths to wellness is indeed to have been blessed.

My journey has been immensely rewarding in so many ways. I have had the good fortune to know fellow people in the field who are working tirelessly through their enterprises to make the world greener and healthier, I have worked with people who have amazed me with their determination and passion and of-course above all this I have had the honour to spend hours listening to Masters and Wise men and expanded my heart and horizons. Omved has been a journey of self discovery

PO: What inspired you to enter this field of specialized products for wellness and beauty shifting away from jewellery which was your initial business?
PM: My journey on the path of natural products and living started when I was pregnant. My search for safe natural products for myself and my babies left me feeling completely disheartened and frustrated. The lack of truly natural products available to consumers, prompted me to start researching for answers. After searching the world over, I found them in the holistic living, time-tested remedies and ageless wisdom of the Vedic traditions of India. And after nearly five years of seeking masters and pouring over books Omved was born.

Ahimsa is one of our founding principles. We believe in ‘cruelty free’, which not only means a ban on animal testing, but also a ban on the use of animal ingredients. We refrain from selling our products in those countries that legally require animal tested products. Our products and cosmetics contain no animal ingredients (not even honey, lanolin, beeswax etc) and have been certified by PETA as cruelty free and vegan.

PO: While the community is known for its entrepreneurship, you were among the pioneering women who got involved in the family business. What were the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
PM: When I joined the family business in jewelry manufacturing and later in the founding of the retail business – Orra (then Intergold) I don’t really feel I have had any obstacles that are out of the ordinary. The struggle was not because I was a woman but the bigger challenge was getting people to realize that I was there to learn, to contribute, to take lead and not just another family member who inherited the seat. At the end nothing speaks like success – your work always conveys the message. Overall I think the jewellery journey had the same trials and tribulations that any profession has.

With cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar

PO: Can you share with us some details of your connections with city of Palanpur? When did you (or your family) move to Mumbai? Why?
PM: My great grandfather was in Palanpur since 1920's and my grandfather came to Palanpur in 1935. So, my connection from Palanpur is almost 100 years old. My grandfather moved from Palanpur in late 40's. He then got himself settled in Zaveri Bazaar and stayed at Vile Parle-Bombay. My father was born in 1947 at Pataan - 40 kms away from Palanpur.

Between the 1st and 2nd World War, many people lost money, including people in Burma /  Malaysia / Sumatra and Indonesia. They were the people who were very rich and they were of Indian origin. When they needed cash flow, they sold their jewellery, which came from Karakodi, Madras-Tamil Nadu.

This came as an opportunity in Zaveri Bazaar and people started going there and buying jewellery studded with diamonds. This brought a lot of people from Palanpur to Bombay and Bombay to Karakodi to do business. At that time, Bombay was flourishing with textile mills and cotton mills and ganja was the big business and so people were making money.

So, there was a huge scope in diamonds. My father was in the pearls business. He also took an opportunity to change his business at that very time from pearls to diamonds and that's when we changed our business and switched to the world of diamonds.

PO: Do you have any personal memories of Palanpur and the community that you would like to share?
PM: My fondest memories of Palanpur are summer holidays with my Dadaji and Maa at our ancestral family home. Drawing water from the water pump in the backyard, sitting on swings and eating sugarcane with cousins, watching peacocks dancing in the sandy grounds right behind our home, visiting government schools to donate uniforms and school supplies… are all moments etched in our childhood. Those were times of simple ‘unplugged’ pleasures, fresh food made with organic produce and family time spent together.

PO: Please share a message for young Palanpuris in general and especially for women who have embarked on their own business ventures or wish to become entrepreneurs?
PM: I firmly believe that being an entrepreneur runs in our blood. This combined with sharp acumen and our cultural fundamentals of Ahimsa and conscious living – allow for strong business talent. Persistence, passion and faith will take you far.


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