Few years back one of my friends who is from Singapore introduced me to Fabindia stores in Chennai. Every year when he visits Chennai he buys his White cotton shirts and Kurtas from here and he loves them, I was impressed. Two years back I tried and bought a Kurta for an upcoming wedding function in the family. When I wore it in the wedding many complimented my looks (yes they did mean it for the Kurta!) and I was hooked by the brand & store.
From then I started to try few of their other products during every visit. I started with their Organic food line of Honeys and Soups – the Honey was certified by my mother to be good, the soup was not that tasty though. The products are certainly expensive compared to their competition but you got to pay extra for organic & the company seems to have good procurement policies to help handicraft communities. Then a year back I tried their Avocado Body Wash and Aloe Vera Moisturizer – both of which I use regularly & my wife likes it too. Today when I went to the store I bought their Khus (Vettiver in Tamil) Body wash and Strawberry organic conserve.
Few areas were Fabindia stores has to improve will be on their products running out of stock most often, no printed explanation of the merits and usage of products and their website needs a complete over-haul – most of their products are not listed on their site, including many of the items I have written about. While writing this post, I learnt that FabIndia was founded by an American John Bissell in 1960 (51 years back) for exporting Handlooms out of India in a self-sustainable model of helping traditional communities who make them.
On a related note, I have been using for long “Bath & Body Works Men Glacier Bay Soothing Face Conditioner” as my after shave lotion (I detest the alcohol based splashes). Over the years during my US trips I had stocked over a dozen. Unfortunately Bath and Body stopped this fine product few years and they even exited out of this product category. I have been trying to find a replacement but in vain. In the interim I have been using a Gillette After Shave that is OK but feels too chemically & gelly. Luckily I found one today in Fabindia (the top one in the photo above), let me try it few weeks from now and see how it is.
Update 10/03/2012: One down side to using FabIndia beauty & skin care products is that the local stores stock very few. As they run out of stock they take many weeks to get them back. There online store at FabIndia.com doesn’t list their entire catalog for some reason. Fortunately through Junglee.com I found out this ecommerce shopping site violetbag.com who was listing and selling the Fabindia Avocado Body Wash (250ml) that I was looking, I was able to order it from there and get it few days.