An interview with Heather, the owner of Profoundia, the first online store most serious bindi shoppers I know think of when planning to purchase bindis in the US.
Aside of selling great products, Profoundia stands out as a place to get offerings to your Inner Goddess. The selection available is thoughtful of women of many lifestyles, from traditional to gothic to raver.
Niki: In my observation, Profoundia is the site most responsible for the successful crossover of Indian items to western hands outside of the fashion runways. What was it that sparked the idea?
Heather: I’m very flattered of course! 🙂 Are we responsible? I first became interested in bindis as a fashion accessory when I noticed how people react to them.
I have given a lot of people free bindis in person and can’t help but notice the reaction when someone first tries one on. It is a thrill for them. I have seen people of all ages smile at themselves in the mirror and straighten up, radiating pride . It is a joy for me to see that happen.
We have expanded our line to include other Indian items, but I still feel like the bindis are the soul of what we are about.
Niki: Profoundia has survived where many online businesses have fallen by the wayside. How do you do it?
Heather: How do I do it? I’m still asking myself that question all the time.
I feel that we try again and again to offer our customers attentive service at a price everyone can afford. I’ll be honest and say that our wholesale customers have also been a major source of revenue that keeps us going. I try to give personalized service to everyone, keep our costs down and keep moving forward.
Niki: What advice would you give to other women who are considering starting businesses on the net? or what do you wish someone had told you when you started?
Heather: Starting a business on the internet you have a lower overhead cost than offline, but it is still important to consider all of your costs, and keep good records. I’ve wanted to have a wide variety of products and that made life more complicated at times .
Set goals for yourself to reexamine what you are doing every few months or so. I have kept our core business as small as I could, and used technology to make things easier.
Niki: About bindi and other items: What are your favorite bindis in the collection?
Heather: I love the royal adornments collection.. these are just so fancy to wear out on a special occasion. They really make a statement and have sparked a lot of interesting conversations.
Niki: What item generally gets sold the most?
Deluxe colorful cards ( which we are currently out of stock on). These are a great value for the money. I like to think of them as our “party cards” .. they are great for sharing bindis with a crowd.
Niki: The gift sets you have look like the perfect presents to encourage girls
to find their Inner Goddess. What would you put in a package for let’s
say, a modern rite of passage for becoming a woman for the Large and Lovely pre-teen or teen?
Heather: I think the most important element of this type of gift is the time that women spend with their teenage daughters and friends.
A package would include henna, bindis, and ayurvedic beauty supplies with a focus on creating a party to pamper and encourage the young women involved . I would choose to have a selection of comfortable, beautiful clothing, like salwar kameez (Indian top and pantsets) to dress up in.
Creating sacred space with an altar made up from precious items from each participant would be ideal. I could say a lot about how healing it is for teenagers to be in community with older women who nurture them, showing them traditions of healing adornment like henna, and modeling self care and self respect.
Niki: What would you like to say to the plus sized readers?
Heather: You are the real trendsetters driving the trend of Indian fashion in the west! BBWs are discovering that Indian fashions are comfortable and luxurious , and they are not shy about wearing the bold colors and unique accessories like bindis!
Niki: Who have been the people who have influenced you the most in the Profoundia effort?
Heather: My husband John gets a big Namaste for encouraging my technical pursuits and jumping in to rescue data and hardware.
Two great inspirations for the idea that became Profoundia were my experiences at the Burning Man festival and the insights I gained through working in a group studying Julia Cameron’s book The Artists Way.
Other true believers have been my wonderful friends Ms. Pammie, Jessica and Jimmy. I owe a lot to Jasbir and Sanjeev, who have been faithful suppliers in India and willing to work with my offbeat ideas and sometimes limited budgets.
Niki: …and thank you for doing this interview 🙂
Heather: Thank you Niki!