The Skin Specialist Lasakan Cholayil, Co-founder, Sadhev

By Punita Sabharwal

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Company Handout

Lasakan Cholayil first stepped into the business environment when I started off as an executive at Cholayil Private Limited, which was his family-run business. He was initially extremely intimidated to enter a business environment as he was navigating through uncharted territory. Gradually steering his way through a wide range of jargon that he was only slowly able to comprehend, he managed to grow to a Directorial Position at the Enterprise. But his desire to start something of his own always lingered, while the family business was flourishing. He somehow had a distinct business vision in mind and over time he made the bold move of starting his own Luxury Ayurvedic venture with Sadhev. There was a lot of pressure involved as he had an entire legacy behind him that he needed to live up to. "The factor that rebuilt my confidence in my journey and exclusive beauty range, was the external validation I started to receive for my products. The fact that I was able to move out of the traditional setting, and create a successful business of my own gives me a feeling of immense satisfaction and accomplishment. I was able to step away from the shadows of the family business and do something that was truly my own," shares Lasakan.

The journey of starting Sadhev began when he paid a visit to his ancestral hometown in Kerala, to pay respects to his forefather, Cholayil Kunju Maami Vaidyar. Through his experiences there, he gained a deep understanding of the unconventional healing techniques used by Vaidyars, during his time which led to countless miraculous treatments and exceptional cures. According to him, there was a treasure trove of ancient Ayurvedic wisdom lying right in front of him, which could be of utmost benefit to the World. So he decided to execute his ideation into reality, and that's when Sadhev was born in September 2019. Talking about the brand, Lasakan says, "The Brand is Rooted in an ancestral practice that spans three generations, the ethos of Sadhev – is embedded in the treatments and recipes of my forefather, Brahmasree Cholayil Kunju Maami Vaidyar, a renowned Ayurvedic healer and physician."

Talking about working in a family business set up earlier, he says, "With respect to my father, Mr. Pradeep Cholayil, Chairman and Managing Director, Cholayil Pvt Ltd, I've learned a lot from him in my years working under the family business. And while there are many plusses, I do not completely operate in a similar fashion as my father. I set healthy and achievable targets for my employees and allow them to navigate their way toward the set targets. This ensures creative inputs from their end which may be different from my own and allows me to perceive the business from a fresh perspective."

When asked about the qualities he was bestowed from the family business, he mentions, "From my family-run business I sustained putting quality first and never compromise on this, as this helps enable repeat purchases in our space and brings back consumers to us. What I did change was to never shoot in the dark when it comes to developing new products. I always tried to build customer-centric products, by building solutions around them. At Sadhev, we developed products that are customer focused, with whom we bounce off ideas and share product prototypes. Based on their feedback we make iterations until we have the perfect product."

Talking about venturing out of the family business, he says, "It wasn't easy to introduce new ideas, let alone starting my own venture, as everyone involved in the family business is so used to doing things in a certain way. After multiple back and-forths and noticing a difference in ideation and execution style, I decided to pivot and do something on my own. The source of Ayurveda remains the same, while the brands speak a different language. Initially, we had thought of rebranding for the global market, but as we started working towards it, we believed in the idea and execution to an extent that we chartered it into an independent brand. Sadhev's business model is currently D2C led." During his stint at Cholayil Private Limited, his company mentor gave him the opportunity to do something a little different from Medimix to see if he can help capture a new audience for the company. Lasakan ruminated on the idea and decided the best way to create something original with the resources he had access to.


  • Age 30
  • Current turnover 3.5 Cr
  • Number of employees: 8
Punita Sabharwal

Entrepreneur Staff

Deputy Editor, Entrepreneur India Magazine

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