In the late seventies, to bring in much needed finances to Auroville, several young professionals launched what was then known as L’Encens d’ Auroville, with a single line of incense packets of just twelve fragrances. Several years later, Paul Pinthon, one of the co-founders, was joined by me and we then started building an organisation which would offer a total range of home fragrances with a recognizable brand image. Therefore the first and foremost consensus was to change the name of the organisation to MAROMA while retaining the Encens d’ Auroville as the flagship incense. However it was very important for the organisation to generate employment to the local people and use indigenous technologies which still is carried forward in the DNA of the organisation.
The name MAROMA was chosen because MA – from mother, AROMA – the fragrance, OM the universal sound and finally back again to MA – mother. These words within a single name are the real essence of the organisation which today is spread across Auroville and the world through its beautiful fragrances.
Today MAROMA has made a big break through and created a niche for itself in the new and evolving sector called health and personal care. Our products include natural fragrances’, incense, candles, an anti-insect line an aromatherapy line and personal and body care products like soaps, shampoos, creams, lotions and other associated products.
Production, the commitment, and Fair practises have always come hand in hand in the organisation. This commitment we translate through our solar lighting, water harvesting, handmade and recycled packaging and using local and indigenous material for our production. Our social contribution to Auroville has been growing year by year and today we are one of the largest contributors economically to the Auroville community. Our employees are our biggest assets and we as an organisation believe that they are our pillars of strength and innovation. We are committed to the improvement of their quality of life. Our long serving employees are the proof of their belief in the organisation and its ideals.
While we have always focused on Fair Trade standards, this year we have made a step forward by going for certification and membership to Fair Trade Forum-India. We have renovated the toilets for workers usage, and while improving our retail showroom in Pondicherry, are working on opening a retail outlet in Chennai.
I am sure you will learn more about us through this annual report. MAROMA which belongs to nobody in particular but to Auroville wants to continue to spread the message of human unity through our fragrances’.
From the early years the numbers of fragrances were steadily increased to 60 in this flagship line Encens d’ Auroville today and several new fragrance based products were also added. Hand poured candles are a strong product line for MAROMA today. The Aromatherapy line was created with incense and candles and extended with the addition of Body care products including soaps, shampoos, massage oils and others. Colibri, an all- natural insect and moth deterrent in several forms of application, is one of MAROMA’s strongest lines.
MAROMA’s fragrances conform to the guidelines set by the International Fragrance Association situated in Brussels. Our products are completely non-toxic and no tests are carried out on animals. Candles made by hand with imported cotton wicks and international standard colours as well as high grade paraffin wax and palm wax from sustainable sources are all part of an ever evolving unit. The use of handmade paper gives us a unique packaging that encompasses both style and commitment to environment.
Under this philosophy of the organisation we have installed close to 6 solar street lights in the campus and we use two battery powered vehicles in and around the organisation. As part of water conservation, rain water harvesting has started in MAROMA’s campus. This is a big move in terms of investing in alternate energy to preserve our environment. We have also started to calculate the carbon foot – prints by monitoring our diesel and electricity consumption on a monthly basis, reducing lights when possible and changing to LED bulbs.
COMMITMENT STARTS AT HOME
Over the years MAROMA realised that most of our workforce comes from the economically marginalised strata of the local community and therefore they lack heavily in basic comforts like clean toilets, good drinking water and a comfortable eating area. MAROMA already in the past years had created a clean dining area with good ambiance and good drinking water. As a step further from this year we have started the policy of checking our water for portability every year even though it is filtered clean water. This year we started renovating the toilet block for both men and women employees and we spent an approximate amount of INR 10,00000 for this renovation. We want our employees to work in the best of the atmosphere as every day they spend a large amount of their daily time in the premises of the organisation.
As part of our commitment to our employees and community we started formally implementing FAIR Trade Standard in the organisation. In this program the whole HR system of the company was reviewed by the management taking into account the suggestions and views of the employees, staff and other stakeholders like suppliers. We have conducted 3 fair trade awareness programs for the employees, we have improved upon the food and beverage system in the organisation, created Anti-discrimination and welfare committees which meet once in a quarter and give their suggestion to the organisation as part of improvement. We hope to go for final certification by the end of the year 2010. This will give us a very beautiful opportunity to be part of the national Fair trade community, leading to FTFI membership.
MARK THE MARKETS
MAROMA due to its unique products has a large following in the world. This year we realised that due to the culture and beauty of the country we have a huge potential to reach our products to the local consumer. As part of this we want to concentrate the maximum in local marketing for the coming years and as a first step towards this we want to open a retail outlet in Chennai in September 2010. Our marketing and design team under the guidance of Ms. ROMA and Namrita Gautier is working very hard for this idea which we have generated last year while evolving our strategic plan.
This financial year we did a turnover of INR 12 crores. We have completed the audited reports in the month of June. We have completed the financial audit. This financial year our turnover decreased by One crore from the last year. Our employee strength remained the same as last year. However the raw material costs went up approximately by15%. For any further details Annexure I is available for reference. This year we contributed INR 43 lacs for the Auroville community.
PRESENT MARKET MAPS
Presently we are active in India, UK, Australia, Parts of continental Europe and USA.
In the coming year we would like to improve our environmental and social commitment by increasing the environmental and welfare programs in the organisation. We also want to become active members of Fair Trade through the support of our esteemed National Network secretariat FTFI. In business we want to explore more and more avenues to make our product reach consumers in India.