A luxury brand is being launched in Pakistan by the name of Ánesi that has everything to do with relaxing and unwinding after a long, hard day at work. The multi-product line offers different blends of tea from Ceylon, China and Japan and a diverse range of premium quality products ranging to those ambient in nature such as fairy lights, soft furnishings, silk eye masks and so on.
Ánesi firmly believes if they help ease the stress and to some extent help in calming the hectic lifestyle that we have come to live through in this day and age, it will invoke positivity to fill that vacuum and truly make the world a better place.
Speaking to Hareem Sumbul, CEO of Ánesi, we find out:
Q1. Tell us about Ánesi and how you came about to start it?
Ánesi is Greek for comfort and as the name implies, under its banner we wish to cover all aspects of comfort for people who have a busy life and hectic schedules. Little things that help us relax and calm during and at the end of a long day is where Ánesi makes its appearance.
It was gradual realisation of the fast paced life that I myself had been a part of for over a decade and a half. How easy it is to forget taking out five minutes to listen to your inner self, stroll around the office, or simply stop slouching over that laptop (God knows I have done it!), recline and take a deep breath. Relax a bit, you know? That’s when I felt the need for a brand to constantly look out for people who typically forget to take time out for themselves without affecting their productivity and gusto as professionals or parents or whatever keeps them busy.
I had been mulling over the idea for a few years and more recently got interested in tea as a product. I knew from earlier years that I have to do something to make the world calm down in one way or another. Somehow, like most people out there, I wasn’t able to tear myself away from a cushy job that paid for my luxuries to opt for the risk that comes with entrepreneurship no matter how hard I daydreamed about it! Last year when I conceived my daughter, the pregnancy itself gave my startup a timeline of sorts. I had to set it all up and propel forward before I gave birth or forget about it for at least another few years before I can even think of starting a company. From the Federal Board of Revenue to the Customs Collectorate, I waddled everywhere, full term pregnant to get Ánesi up and running before I gave birth. I was in the middle of giving a workshop when I remembered I had to book my place at the hospital to give birth three days later and stepped out to quickly make that call during tea break! Even after she was born, she accompanied me to all meetings ranging from Chartered Accountants to Warehouses to Banks. She still goes everywhere with me. It has been a very interesting journey so far but that is how I came to start this off.
Q2. What is the difference between Ánesi and other lifestyle brands in the industry?
I feel the term lifestyle brands is so vast, it encompasses a lot of completely different products and services which is exactly the case with other lifestyle brands out there. We have all adopted our own line of action and so are very different. At the same time we also complement each other since we all focus on providing luxury and comfort to our clientele.
Ánesi focuses on the little things you can introduce to your ambience to make your day more aesthetically pleasing, when you want to curl up after a long day with a book or your favourite show, perhaps a cup of artisanal tea to relax you while you either work on a court case that’s due to be heard tomorrow, a presentation for an Annual Operational Meeting or tutor a 9 year old struggling with Math!
Q3. What inspired you to adopt a ‘calm’ life style for yourself and try to spread it to others?
Oh I am Ánesi’s biggest client myself. Please do not think I’ve reached the zenith of zen. I’m quite the contrary which is exactly the reason for me to have come up with Ánesi. The empathy is real. Being as busy as I am, I feel I am far from being alone and wished to take everyone else along on that journey.
Q4. What is most important in your mind, wellness of body, or your spirit philosophy?
I don’t think you can pick one. They go hand in hand where overall wellness is concerned. You need to be spiritually centred as well as healthy to strike a balance.
Q5. Do you have a daily ritual relaxation routine? What tips would you offer a stressed out person who needs to unwind?
I most definitely do not! However there are a few things that I love to do whenever the burnout becomes imminent and I promise myself I will do them more regularly to avoid a rerun of rock bottom. Only to walk into it again!
I am a voracious reader so reading is something that is always an integral part of my “me time”. It is my escape from what’s around me into the writer’s shoes and sometimes a break is all you need. In addition to that I love long bubble baths and a hot beverage right after. I think hot beverages are severely underrated in their ability to help you loosen up after the world is done winding you up. I love my traditional Jasmine or lemon qahvaas, or if I’m in the mood for it, a pot of tea with a touch of milk just hits the spot. A bit of regular meditation keeps you centred, even if it is 5-10 minutes a day and I can say that from personal experience. Diffusing Frankincense, Ylang Ylang and Lavender oils while I meditate as well as without meditation help me relax tons! I don’t think I can go a day without my essential oils. We all have our own ways to relax. These are a few of mine but anyone wanting to unwind (which includes me) will only be able to do it if they make conscious effort towards it. These things seem mundane and simple but just having a refreshing cup of tea or having even a quick bath when you consciously close out the rest of the world and at least try to clear your mind gives you some quick and much needed relief from the rut we’re all inevitably a part of.
Life in these times is fast paced. It is much easier to incorporate smaller elements of relaxation interspersed throughout your day or at the end of it to ensure you don’t burn out as opposed to taking three months off for a meditation retreat! God knows I would love to do that more often but realistically I know I have a life that I can’t regularly tear myself away from as do most people I know. So these little things go a very long way.
Q6. Are you hopeful about the future?
I don’t see another way to be. I think we live in great times. Technology is developing at the pace of light, medical science and research is booming, it’s a great time to build, create, grow. Future looks good given there are so many (though can never have enough) people looking out for environmental issues, things on that forum seem dismal but there is hope in shape of some very brave people speaking up for it. As long as we are able to tap into our own true potential as individuals and work towards whatever we are passionate about, the world is our oyster. Key is to ensure your body and soul is nourished in a way that keeps the engines revving and you performing at the very best of your abilities.
PHOTO CREDIT: Saad Sarfraz Sheikh