“The Forbes Next 1000 list celebrates the ambitious sole proprietors, self-funded shops and pre-revenue startups who are redefining what it means to build and run a business today, especially in the “new normal.” They are proof-positive that American entrepreneurship remains resilient, vibrant, and ever-changing.”
That business owner is Vanessa Bouche, owner of Savhera. In Vanessa’s own words, “Savhera is a Hindi word that means new beginning. And it was named by our very first employees in Delhi because this represents a new beginning for them. So, what Savhera does is we turn the sales of organic aroma therapy products into jobs for survivors of sex trafficking in both India and the United States.”
As chairperson of the Freedom Business Alliance, I was intrigued with the question of how a faith-based, mission-driven business owner achieved such a prestigious award as the Forbes Next 1000, in just three years. I was proud to have a member business serving God and people in such an influential way. These few thoughts are certainly minimal, but they can be instructive for others whose vision is a kingdom startup in a faraway location.
In 2017, professor and human trafficking scholar, Dr. Vanessa Bouché, sat on the floor of a medical clinic in the red-light district in Delhi, India when one woman named Pushpa boldly stated, “I need dignified employment to get out of this dirty business.” Dr. Bouché vowed to help. Since that time, the owners of Savhera have been face-to-face with “this dirty business” on the ground level and have experienced the hurts and pains of human slavery. Their passion is to go beyond rescue to healing and wholeness.
Savhera was birthed to provide Pushpa and women like her dignified employment. A job with Savhera offers a pathway to holistic wellness + renewal for survivors of sex trafficking. Savhera hires people that many employers would not consider. Trafficking survivors face employment barriers due to social stigma, lack of experience and education, and unjust criminal records.
At Savhera, trafficking survivors can access the education, mentorship, and quality of life that they deserve, and that God intends for them. Their salaries are much higher than the living wage. Their benefits include paid time off, maternity leave, health and dental insurance, and trauma counseling. They enjoy paid time to work on their personal growth. They receive education in literacy, finance, health, civics, spiritual truth, and more!
The company uses the PIES model for the growth and development of the employees; physical, intellectual, economic, and spiritual are all important in their values-driven focus. They boldly affirm: “We envision a world where women’s lives are changed eternally, igniting hope and transformation in their families and communities. We do this through outreach, emergency housing, support groups, customized care, economic empowerment, education, and advocacy.”
Dr. Vanessa Bouché is an award-winning thought-leader and scholar who has earned over $1 million in federal research grants. Her published work on human trafficking has taken her all over the world, sharing her expertise through consulting and speaking for dozens of organizations including the U.S. State Department, UN Office on Drugs & Crime, the U.S. Agency for International Development, Polaris, McCain Institute, and Thorn.
Bouché is a social entrepreneur who develops innovative solutions to social problems. The barriers that trafficking survivors face to secure sustainable, living-wage employment catalyzed her to found Savhera, a natural wellness company that provides jobs to survivors.
With transparency as a central pillar, Savhera sources only the highest quality oils from all over the world. And every essential oil celebrates new beginnings and restored joy; and contributes to dignified employment for brave survivors of sexual exploitation in India and the United States that comprise their team.
Savhera serves aromatherapy and other natural wellness products to over 2,500 consumers directly, but through partnerships such as one with Alltrue, the company has been able to reach over 85,000 consumers to date–noting a 400% increase in DTC revenue from 2019-2020.
Savhera’s sustainably sourced products provide holistic wellness + renewal for everyone. Savhera is encouraging the essential oil industry towards sustainability by rejecting the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides on the soil where the crops are grown. Chemicals and pesticides not only harm the earth, but also affect crops, the oils that they’re made from, and ultimately the air and the body.
All of Savhera’s oils are USDA certified organic and third party-tested by an independent lab. They value transparency and publish the purity test results for every oil lot based on their quality assurance guarantee, their P.E.T.A.L.S Promise. Savhera packages their oils in recyclable glass bottles. Their boxes are made from 100% cotton paper handmade by women in rural Indian communities.
Congratulations Vanessa Bouche and Savhera. May you grow and continue to impact those trapped in the world of slavery.
Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures