Articles

A Fragrance That's All About Giving Back

Source: The Hindu
Jan 12, 2018

Smells like good karma: Amidst the decadence of haute parfumerie, here’s Meera Gandhi’s charity-focussed scent



Meera Gandhi was only 16 when she first visited Mother Teresa’s Asha Dan in Byculla, Mumbai, and she continued to visit the ashram every Saturday to take care of differently-abled children. “I would bathe them, change their clothes and sometimes even hold their hands while they went to sleep,” she says. Today, Gandhi lives in New York and is the founder and CEO of The Giving Back Foundation launched in 2010. The foundation’s main project is the St Michael’s Giving Back School in New Delhi where they board and provide for the education of 150 girls.

In late 2017, Gandhi launched a fragrance called Giving, which, as the name suggests, is all about giving back to society. Priced at ₨10,500, all proceeds will go to her charitable foundation. This indeed is a novel concept because, even when luxury brands sell for charity, they only give back a small percentage of profits.

Memories and musk

The beauty of this perfume doesn’t lie in intention alone. “The fragrance costs $165, but it costs $140 to make,” says Gandhi. The money used to create Giving is her own, and she has pulled out all the stops to ensure that it smells exquisite and has a lasting sillage (veil of the scent left behind).



Gandhi worked with Mane in the South of France, who are one of the three major perfume manufacturers in the world, and it took her 10 years to come up with the fragrance. While she has no prior perfume experience, she still managed to bottle all the things dear to her: childhood memories of cinnamon and turmeric, jasmine that reminded her of a champa tree outside her bedroom, a hint of lavender for her Irish mother, and marjoram for its calming powers.

“The fragrance is 28% pure perfume instead of the usual 5-6%, the paper used is biodegradable, even the juices and essence have been stabilised to make the perfume pure enough for babies’ skin,” Gandhi elaborates.

But it doesn’t stop there. The bottle, made by Baccarat, comes with a crystal stopper instead of a metallic atomiser, so the fragrance doesn’t change molecularly when it comes in contact with the metal. And because it contains mood elevators such as patchouli, lavender, orchid, and sage (to remove negativity), she has used the colour purple in the bottle.

Her passion for her fragrance didn’t go unnoticed. At Mane, perfumers nicknamed the fragrance ‘sacre coeur’, or sacred heart, because of her commitment to the project, its intention and the unique mix of notes. Gandhi has presented the fragrance to world leaders such as Tony and Cherie Blair, and Rahul Gandhi, who have all pledged support for this project.