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Women in business: Meet Cassie Sanghvi, co-founder of The Base Collective

Women in business: Meet Cassie Sanghvi, co-founder of The Base Collective

When Cassie Sanghvi started her cosmetics company, she knew it had to offer people something different; something useful.

As a pharmacist, she had a sound understanding of cosmetic formulations and felt passionate about creating a product range that was natural and organic.

Enter The Base Collective, a magnesium-based skincare and cosmetics brand, made with only the most natural ingredients and non-toxic components.

“We wanted to disrupt the market and create something that was genuinely clean, green and safe – these are the pillars we stand for,” Ms Sanghvi said.

The business was co-founded in 2016 by Ms Sanghvi and Carly Pountney. At the time of launching, there was a gap in the market for a magnesium-based product range that could offer incredible health benefits.

The range launched with a natural hand wash and hand milk, and has since expanded to include magnesium-rich products which has become the brand’s niche.

Why magnesium?

Magnesium is the hero ingredient in The Base Collective’s product range and something that the brand is renowned for.

But why did Ms Sanghvi decide that this ingredient would be the star of the show?

To put it simply, magnesium offers incredible benefits. From improving skin health, to relieving muscle aches and pains, and promoting more restful sleep, magnesium is a powerhouse mineral.

“Back when we started, many people didn’t know a lot about magnesium and the benefits of it,” Ms Sanghvi said.

“You can take magnesium orally but a lot of people don’t absorb it or find it irritating to the GI tract, but what people don’t realise is that they receive many benefits from absorbing magnesium topically.

“A lot of people are getting great relief from cramps, muscle aches and pains by applying magnesium topically. But it’s also really good for your skin health.

“If you are experiencing things like eczema, acne, premature ageing, and sunspots, your skin is one of those organs that magnesium is essential for. So if you’re experiencing those problems, usually your skin is lacking magnesium. By applying it topically, you’re able to balance it out and we’re seeing great results (among customers) with overall skin health.”

Magnesium can also reduce damage from external aggressors such as the sun and pollution, it assists with collagen production to improve elasticity in the skin, and it treats dry skin by enhancing skin barrier repair.

The way in which magnesium helps people has been one of the most impressive outcomes of The Base Collective range.

“I think, being a pharmacist, it satisfies that need to help people. I think that’s probably one of the things I love the most (about running the business) – helping people,” Ms Sanghvi said.

A cosmetics brand with heart

Not only does The Base Collective offer products that use clean ingredients and offer beneficial health outcomes, the brand is driven by wholesome values too.

All production of The Base Collective is based in Australia – a factor that Ms Sanghvi said the company was very intentional about.

“When we started out, when we had conversations about what we wanted the business to be, it had to be clean, green and safe. It had to be made in Australia. The formulation had to work and be as clean as it could be. And it also had to be a safe product for people to use,” she said.

The brand has also inherently had a sustainable focus since its beginning, with many sustainable practices naturally woven into daily practices.

The company is currently transitioning to using bio-degradable bottles across the range, they recycle materials as much as possible, and they even changed manufacturers to reduce their carbon footprint. They have also started manufacturing some of their product lines in-house to further decrease their environmental impact.

The company also hires local people and 100 per cent of their warehouse staff are female.

In terms of giving back, The Base Collective donates to various charities such as women’s shelters, school fundraisers, and morning teas – but they keep it all local.

“I really believe in keeping it local and supporting our local community,” Ms Sanghvi said.

“By supporting local charities and groups, you can have a really big impact and help a lot of people… and it touches them directly.”

Women in business: Meet Cassie Sanghvi, co-founder of The Base Collective

Business challenges and lessons

As with starting any business, The Base Collective has certainly had its challenges over the years.

For example, in the early days, there was an issue with labelling bottles and not being able to rectify the problem, so the company switched to screen printing.

“There’s daily challenges, but I think as my journey continues, I’m getting a lot better at knowing that they are learnings and I just don’t get hung up on them. And you have to try things to see if they will work. And if they don’t work, that’s okay; you pivot and learn from it and move on,” Ms Sanghvi said.

While the brand has carved a strong niche as a magnesium-based product range, Ms Sanghvi said the next challenge will be making big decisions about expanding the product range.

“I realise I am going to have to expand it a lot more if I want (the business) to grow. So it’s thinking about what fits under our pillars and where we can go,” she said.

“When we initially developed the concept for The Base Collective, we wanted it to be a collection of really good basics in your life… and I think it’s now time to expand.”

As a sole-funded and independent business, The Base Collective hasn’t had the luxury of large marketing budgets or venture capital funding to get the brand off the ground.

“I have to be really calculated. I go by the premise of ‘take a risk but with a life jacket on’. I’ll do my sums and spend a certain amount of money, but if it totally flops… I can recover,” she said.

Ms Sanghvi is open to receiving funding and is considering this as an option to grow the business in the near future.

“The brand has international capabilities – we have people from all over the world buying our products and we don’t do anything in those countries. If we had a dedicated team, funding and distribution, the sky is the limit,” she said.

For a self-starter like Ms Sanghvi, what does she wish she’d known when she began The Base Collective?

“You just have to start. Nothing is ever going to be perfect. You move through it, you learn from it, and you keep going. You will stifle yourself, so you just have to start,” she said.

“It’s also important to have a network of people around you. If you feel supported, you can achieve a lot more than doing it on your own.”


Learn more about The Base Collective and shop the full product range on their website.

Sharon Green, editor

Sharon Green

Sharon Green is the founding editor of SHE DEFINED.

An experienced journalist and editor, Sharon has worked in mainstream media in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Forever in search of a publication that confronted the real issues faced by modern women, Sharon decided to create her own.