KevAn Bish has seen the belly of the beast, as an employee of one of the biggest cosmetic conglomerates in the world, a subsidiary of L'Oreal. Sick of the rat race, he decided instead of toiling for the corporate dollar or serving as a hired gun in someone else's spa, he'd start his own. And he was sure he wanted to make it organic. Thus we have Swanki Guri, an intimate spa/salon located at Purdy's Wharf. Bish has seen the way companies operate, without real conscience beyond the bottom line, and he's determined to do it differently.
"Let's follow the money trail," he says, "and if it leads you to an oil or a pharmaceutical company, is it really an organically, ethically minded company? My opinion, purely, chances are, not. The people who I'm dealing with are ethically conscious, people who want to make everything from spiritual media, to greening the planet to creating hospitals for the mind, body and spirit."
Bish has friends in the industry who personally live an organic lifestyle but they don't work for organic companies. " in New York may eat lunch and have an organic meal but then they go back to the pharmaceutical company," he says. "When you start looking at life that way, through more organic, maybe more spiritual eyes, do you want to contribute to the planet or not? That was the biggest turning point for me."
At Swanki Guru you can buy Bish's own natural shampoo, made of local Nova Scotian-produced ingredients. "The quickest way a chemical gets into the brain is through shampoo and hair colour. If you look at it by that perspective, in my opinion, you're obeying the laws of nature instead of toxifying it or polluting."
In the past few months Swanki Guru's business has gone from up-and-coming to very good, and Bish suspects it's the shampoo that's doing it. "A friend of mine invested in my product, and he's done this before in the US, and he feels the product is tangibly different than anything out there," says Bish. "What will help Swanki Guru---the salon and green hairdressers---is that they'll be able to use things that women and men will really dig; they'll feel the difference. They'll go, 'Why wouldn't I be natural if it doesn't feel this great?'"
One of the main ingredients in his product is alginate from sea kelp, which Bish says has nutritional compounds that actually improve your general health. "If you want to detoxify from certain poisons like aluminum or heavy metals, some of them lodge themselves in the brain. Technically, when you are washing it will naturally draw that into the blood, pull that into your lymph down into your bowel. Do you see the concept? You're washing with things that make you feel amazing but it will enhance your immune system, too."