Meet Auroville: Margarita and Guildelma the founders of MGEcoDuties
When and what inspired you to launch MGEcoDuties and the probiotics beauty bath bar line?
Margarita: In 2010 we were fed up with the laundry detergents and body care products we were using, they were full of chemicals and pollutants. So we did research how to make our own laundry detergent with natural ingredients. At the same time we got more and more concerned about the water treatment and conservation in Auroville. I am involved in the water group of our community since 2000. Mother spoke about soap making and water conservation as one project. I have studied probiotics in connection to water conservation my entire life–to put them into the soaps so they reach the drain was an eye opening moment for me. So we did all kinds of test for over a year to manufacture cleaning solutions and body bath bars, which were filled with active probiotics. We send samples at every step to laboratories in the US to make sure it works. We realized that when we all move towards probiotic soaps and natural cleaning and beauty products there is the possibility to clean the rivers and oceans.
What made you become so passionate about probiotics?
I have seen probiotics to perform miracles. I worked on a project to clean a lake in Los Angeles with a team of researchers. The lake was dead and poisoned. We used probiotics to clean and reactivate the natural balance of the microorganisms. In a matter of months the lake was healthy and clean. I gave a talk about this project on a summit of environmentalists and scientist in California, the governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger came and embraced me. I felt so blessed we could perform this change with the help of these tiny microbes. In my home in Colombia I have seen so many projects where probiotics were used to clean water bodies, which changed the life of so many.
At Matrimandir the big plumeria was in terrible shape a few years ago, some people even suggested cutting it down. We coordinated with the gardeners there and enriched the soil around the plant with probiotic compost powder. Today the tree is healthy and in regular bloom.
The changes we have seen with the help of probiotics are effective and affordable.
How do you differentiate your products in today’s crowded market?
We passionate about what we do. The impact of probiotics once they go down the drain inspires us so much. Our main concern is our environment and how we can protect and take care. Connected to these values we pledge to use no palm oil, never engage in animal testing and use as little product packaging as possible. Furthermore, we feel connected with Auroville, our home. Unity and equality amongst our staff is very important. Everyone earns the same, no matter what they do. We encourage our staff to take responsibility and to work independently.
What feedback do you hear from clients who use your bath bars and supplements and how does this make you feel?
The knowledge about our products travels by word of mouth. Everyone who gets back to us seems thrilled and satisfied. The probiotics are being used by midwifes in Auroville who find our products effective. It is very important to us that our customers know of the secondary of our products, the good effect of the probiotics once they reach the drain. That people consciously choose our products, making an impact and participating in the change makes us very proud. It is time to change the relationship between producers and consumers–transparent and fair for everyone with the main aim to protect our environment.
We often think of beauty as a surface quality–how do you nurture your inner beauty in daily life?
I have over 100 trillion microbes in my body. Being healthy means feeding the good ones bringing balance to the bacteria.
What is next for MGEcoDuties?
We want to increase our capacity, in the Indian market. One of our dreams is to create a place in Auroville where one can have a spa like experience with food, wellness treatments and a bath all connected to probiotics.
We are supporting Tata Industry in their shrimp farming to move towards an ecological and chemical free farming. To build similar relationships in the agriculture industry is another goal.
We are working on zero packaging, which requires an organized refill system all over. We aim for zero plastic first and zero packaging after.
In terms of products we are experimenting with hemp oil at the moment. Furthermore, we would like to start with flavored salts with probiotics and herbs for cooking and body massage.
Living in Auroville means to you
… endless adventure.
…joy and the realization of dreams.