Interview with Clelia Cecilia Angelon, Founder and CEO of Surya Brasil
Clelia Cecilia Angelon is the founder and CEO of Surya Brasil, a renowned Brazilian cosmetics company that specializes in natural and organic beauty products.
With her passion for sustainability and dedication to creating high-quality cosmetics, Angelon has led Surya Brasil to become a global leader in the industry.
Under Angelon’s leadership, Surya Brasil has grown to offer an extensive range of hair care, skincare, and cosmetic products.
The company is committed to using ingredients derived from sustainable sources, such as exotic Amazonian fruits, Brazilian herbs, and essential oils.
Surya Brasil’s formulations are free from harmful chemicals like parabens, sulfates, and synthetic dyes, ensuring they are gentle on both people and the planet.
Tell us a little about yourself
Clelia Cecilia Angelon: I was born in São Paulo Brazil but my maternal and paternal grandparents were Italian from North Italy Veneto and Toscana.
I lead my life on the philosophy of consciousness for all living beings. Since I was a child, I have had a special affinity for Mother Nature, as well as the rich cultural heritage of India, a country I visited for the first time in 1974.
Regarding my education I’ve studied psychology and also pursued a course in Ayurveda in Kerala, the hub for herbs and medicinal plants.
Most of my business knowledge was by experience, and I set foot in the entrepreneurial world with a small shop at a gallery in London’s Oxford Street.
In 1994 I went back to India again, this time with my young child, and just a year later came the inception of Surya Brasil in 1995.
With a belief that Surya is the supreme soul that adds light and warmth in our world, we started Surya Brasil to usher in an era of conscious products for people across the globe.
Please tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey
Clelia Cecilia Angelon: Since my childhood I used to tell my parents that my dream was to be in business and to visit India. They wouldn’t pay much attention saying that I was a dreamer, but my dream came true.
My first experience of entrepreneurship was a small shop in a gallery in Oxford Street in London. Later I went back to Brazil and started to import garments and carpets from India.
In 1995 we started Surya Brasil brand with our flagship henna cream and powder hair color. It has been an exciting journey so far, where I have met some really wonderful friends.
At the onset, I collaborated with Kanwal J Singh, a dear friend who was then based in Chandigarh. He became our manufacturing partner for Henna as we get amazing quality here.
I have visited India 43 times and I have been in business for more than 45 years. We became the natural and organic alternative for people who wanted to cover their greys.
With ingredients sourced from Amazonian rainforests, we could also provide color options like red, burgundy, brown, chocolate and blonde to our consumers.
The Direct-to-Consumer brand was able to cater to a vast population in US and UK initially, later in Japan, South America and we finally had a homecoming of sorts when we launched our products in India in August 2021, catering specifically to Indian hair types and needs.
The time since has seen a great response from the consumers who resonated with our vegan, organic and natural brand.
While the world was shut due to lockdowns, we expanded our footprints across six countries during the pandemic. Today Surya Brasil is present in more than 40 countries across all continents and still growing.
Kindly brief us about Surya Brasil, its specialization, and the products that it offers
Clelia Cecilia Angelon: Today Surya Brasil is a global leader in Henna Cream segment and its product range comprises the most natural hair colors with best performance without harsh Chemicals like ammonia and its by-products like ethalonamine, diethalonamine and triethalonamine, perfume, resorcinol, PPD, EDTA, sulfates, lead and other heavy metals.
We export to all the continents and we have been selling to US for more than 25 years in the natural market as wholefoods, Sprouts, Natural Grocers, etc. We have a strong presence across Beauty Supplies and pharmacies.
SURYA BRASIL has always tried to be as natural as possible with the best performance. Our range of henna hair color in cream and powder has been in high demand.
The range of Color Fixation Shampoo that is 99% natural, Conditioner -98% natural and Mask- 98% natural has always gotten maximum attention from consumers.
ECO SILVER is for people who love to flaunt their grey hair consisting in a shampoo (96% natural), conditioner (98% natural),mask (98% natural) and henna powder 100% natural and 96% organic with olive oil extracts.
The AMAZONIA SKIN CARE LINE natural, Organic and dermo with 85% efficacy and Brazilian ingredients is also popular across the globe.
Can you tell us about the founding of Surya Brasil and what inspired you to start a vegan clean haircare brand?
Clelia Cecilia Angelon: I have been a vegetarian for more than 45 years and vegan for almost past 17 years. My love for animals since my childhood impacted my life choices immensely.
Through our NGO we have rescued many animals such as lion, pigs, horse, dogs, cats, birds, etc. We also work with natives and communities.
Sustainability on recycling, planting trees and also supporting and incentivising organic growth through our NGO and supporting other NGOs in Brazil along with other countries.
This is important as it helped us lay the foundation of a 100% cruelty-free brand that thrives solely on the idea of consciousness for all living beings on the planet.
How does Surya Brasil approach the sourcing of its ingredients and what steps do you take to ensure they are ethically and sustainably sourced?
Clelia Cecilia Angelon: We are stringent criteria of choosing our suppliers, testing the quality and veracity of the claims, getting a declaration that they don’t conduct tests on animals or use any animal source in the ingredients. We also try to have ingredients from communities in different areas of Brazil.
We source our Ayurvedic herbs from India and some more like Jaborandi, Copaíba, Guarana, Cumaru, Açaí and Oils of Olive and Coconut, from the Amazonian rainforests.
The resultant products are organic, vegan, natural and free of harsh chemicals. Surya Brasil products have been certified by global bodies, which is a testimonial to our efforts at ensuring ethical and sustainable products for our consumers.
How important is it to Surya Brasil to ensure that its products are free from harmful chemicals and other potentially toxic ingredients?
Clelia Cecilia Angelon: Awareness and love it is our goal. Respect and love for all living beens. By having products free of harsh chemicals and vegan, not only do we protect the consumer but all living beings on the planet.
As a brand we started with a vision to provide clean products and today all our products are natural, organic and vegan, making them cruelty free too.
Harsh chemicals like PPD, EDTA, GMOs, Gluten, Ammonia, and its by-products such as Ethalonamina, Diethalonamina and Triethalonamina are strictly prohibited in our products.
They don’t just harm in the short term but can also cause cancer in worst cases. That is why we have ensured free from harsh chemicals products.
By creating awareness, we will be able to ensure that there is respect and love for all living beings. Ultimately with harsh chemical free and vegan products we are protecting the consumer as well as the planet.
Can you discuss the benefits of using vegan and cruelty-free beauty products?
Clelia Cecilia Angelon: Using vegan and cruelty free products is a benefit not only for the animals but for us also. According Quantum physics, we are pure energy, anything that we consume out of suffering and cruelty will affect us and generate suffering and disturbance in our life.
Apart from being sustainable and good for the environment and ultimately us, vegan and cruelty free products are the path that will lead us to our goals.
What was the inspiration behind turning into an entrepreneur?
Clelia Cecilia Angelon: I believe I was born to be an entrepreneur and through my work I could be in touch with so many cultures and gain so much knowledge.
As Krishna says ‘The Only power we have is our action, the result is in the hand of the Universe.’ I turned entrepreneur to bring across the message that vegan, natural and organic products can be the right alternative to harsh chemical based ones.
We are working to earn our customers’ trust and guarantee that all market segments adopt the mindset of switching to organic products.
We are focusing on areas and places where we notice a general shift in consumer attitudes towards this concept.
Through our carefully thought-out marketing strategies, we hope to connect with customers who live in the most rural areas of the nation.
Today we are available across the globe and in India through leading online portals. Surya Brasil products take you on a path of living in sync with nature.
How do you manage work-life balance at such an age? Any Tips for today’s generation.
Clelia Cecilia Angelon: We need to put our heart and soul in to every task we do and be committed to our goals.
When we choose a profession where our passion lies, it will benefit us financially as well as help us see unbelievable levels of success. If you work on what you love the Money will be a consequence and not only the goal.
What is your wellness mantra?
Clelia Cecilia Angelon: Believe in your dream and never give up. Out of mistakes and obstacles, opportunities can arise and we must seize them.
What are your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs?
Clelia Cecilia Angelon: We need to create a balance between work, family, rest, enjoyment, good nutrition, exercise and most importantly mental balance through meditation.
Health and happiness depend on your lifestyle. I have never stopped my exercises and having contact with nature.
I have been practicing dance for many years and indulged in various sports. Two years ago, apart from dancing, I have started karate, skate and surfing at the age of 72 years.
Today I am 74 and will be turning 75 soon. I started karate to keep my bones strong and have better reflects and agility.
I am undergoing training for kathak and taking Hindi classes with Uma Sharma. On Saturdays I am pursuing a course in Ayurveda which will take 5 years to finish.
Moreover, I also play piano and drums for the cognitive balance and to keep all the human body five senses in shape.
According to Krishna we came to this world to be happy, prosperous and healthy. It is important to live every moment, because the moment is the Only Thing you have. Past is gone and we don’t know what future will unfold.
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