Oct 30 2011
Holistic wellness-The Ayurvedic way
Dynamic, Aggressive and Highly spirited-three words describe Shailu Suresh in a nutshell who established Om Vedic Heritage Centre in Singapore (OVHC), a traditional wellness center to spread the message of Ayurveda, health and wellness. Shailu was in list of 15 finalists for SICCI-DBS Singapore entrepreneur award2011 and this nomination speaks a lot about her hard work and passion for her entrepreneurial set up. Womenlines is proud to share her success secrets, dreams and her visions with its readers!
Om Vedic Heritage Centre is a unique medical spa and is a hybrid between a medical clinic and a day spa that operates under the supervision of a certified Ayurvedic physician. OVHC also offers other holistic services such as Yoga, Meditation, Astrological consultations and more. It is recognized as the first authentic Ayurvedic center in Singapore to be accredited by Case Trust [the accreditation arm of the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE)], for Spa & Wellness Accreditation for good business practices since October 2010.
Mother of 2 girls (18 and 14) Shailu considers her center as her 3rd baby which is 1 yr. and 5 months old now, hence needs all her attention at this stage! Shailja held senior management, administrative and teaching roles at various Singapore Government and Statutory Boards such as A*STAR, NYP, NUHS for almost 13 years in Singapore, in 2009 she quit her role as the Assistant Director from the National Medical Research Council, MOH, to pursue her dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Even though she is a qualified postgraduate in Biochemistry and Biomedical Engineering, she wants to be known as an ‘Ayurvedic Lifestyle Practitioner’. The reason being her upbringing in a holistic environment with a family of Pioneers in Ayurveda. Shailu shares “A strong belief, drive and passion of wanting to spread Nature’s wealth in the form of our own 5000-6000 year old Indian Vedic Traditions, I started the first One-stop traditional Wellness Centre in Singapore, in 2010 to spread the message of Ayurveda, Health & Wellness.” Currently she still works part-time at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, helping manage a Government funded research project on Dengue and lectures part-time at MDIS.
OVHC in technical collaboration with the Ayurvedic Trust, Coimbatore, India, brings to Singapore the Pioneers in Ayurveda – The Arya Vaidya Pharmacy (Coimbatore, India)). AVP which was established in 1943 is one of India’s premier multi-faceted institutions in Ayurvedic medicines, teaching, therapy, research and related areas. AVP today has a network of over 1000 agencies, 50 branches across India and more than 25 treatment centres and hospitals in different parts of India and abroad. In a short period of time OVHC has been successful in establishing its credibility among its visitors and has also been featured by Tabla and Channel News Asia. OVHC’s clients and customers come from all walks of life, many races and nationalities with only about 50% of its customers beings Indians. OVHC has been successful in managing many chronic diseases. To name a few- Sinusitis in kids and the old alike, skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis , chronic pain management in chronic pain cases.
Talking about the challenges Shailu comments “Challenges and failures have always excited me and they actually help me strategise and become more creative.”Challenges for Shailu started right from finding an appropriate location for a holistic wellness set-up with close proximity to the Indian cultural belt in Singapore (Little India), with a heritage appearance. This business falls under Singapore’s Spa Service Sector and thus acquiring a Massage Establishment License from Singapore Police Force (SPF), Case Trust Accreditation from Case Trust were her next big challenges. Employing staff (ayurevdic physician and therapists) with required skills after getting across the many hurdles she faced from the Ministry of Manpower and SPF, WERE and ARE still her biggest challenges in this business.
Shailu is big hearted in giving credit to her supporters in her entrepreneurial journey. She says “Fortune of being born into a family that spreads the message of Indian Culture and Heritage, my passion, drive, support from my family, good service oriented staff, 7 decades of reputation from the family business in Ayurveda back in India, a good network built up over 14 years of having stayed in Singapore and a great country (Singapore) are some of the many reasons to get us to where we are today.” Family support is a big support for any women entrepreneur and Shailu considers herself very lucky to have such a supportive family, specially to her husband who provides IT support for her business too.
Any entrepreneurial setup grows well if is backed up by a big vision which aims to provide a strong basement to the set up. OVHC is also backed up by a big vision by Shailu “To see ourselves Leading the Wellness Revolution” in Singapore, by innovatively coupling our ancient and rich Indian traditions, heritage and culture with modern day people-oriented practices and technology and set foot on other shores in the region (SE ASIA) with confidence. I intend to diversify further and offer services in the areas of Ayurvedic Education, Ayurvedic/Healthy Diet/Food, and an in-patient facility either in Malaysia or Singapore.”
Shailu believes strongly in giving back to the society and also being a global citizen. Hence, organizes the Charity Drive twice annually where she collects toys, stationery, winter clothing etc. for the poor in India and sends collection to GOONJ, an NGO in India founded by Mr. Anshu Gupta (based in Delhi).For the go green campaign what she loves to promote is ‘recycle used cooking oil’, and Om Vedic Heritage center is one of the collection centers for alpha biofuels.
It’s just not only about having vision for her business set up ,Shailu’s next big project in the pipeline, is to launch a “Heritage Library” with books on topics ranging from theology (Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism etc.) and complementary and alternative medicine (ayurveda, homeopathy, reiki etc). She has an excellent collection of about 1000 books already, donated to her by a Singaporean Chinese couple who spent about 20 years learning Indian Philosophy and Vedic Literature and various other complementary sciences and philosophies.
Shailu is an extrovert by nature and loves making friends. She considers TV as an idiot box in the true sense and loves spending her time reading books. Ardent fan of Carnatic music and old Hindi Songs Shailu loves spending quality time with her family. Shailu’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is “If you have a DREAM (that’s been haunting you for years) and a strong desire to make it a REALITY, ACT on it, not fearing the possibility of the obstacles that might arise enroute!”……and of course, if you need a mentor, do feel free to approach other successful entrepreneurs and I am ready to help too.”
Womenlines wishes best of luck to Shailu for her future endeavours!