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#UpWithHer: TCU professor trades career to create brand with global outreach

Dr. Vanessa Bouché founded Savhera, a natural wellness company that provides jobs to trafficking survivors.

A Texas Christian University political science professor gave up a career and her tenure at the university to start a socially conscious brand with a global outreach.

Dr. Vanessa Bouché founded Savhera, a natural wellness company that provides jobs to trafficking survivors. In 2017, Dr. Bouché was in Delhi, India on a study abroad when she met a woman who changed her perspective on what it means to offer help.

"We were sitting on the floor of a medical clinic in the red-light district in Delhi and a woman said to me that day, 'why should I share my story with you, why should I tell you anything about myself? You are no different than the people who come here to exploit my body, you’re exploiting my story.' And when I asked her what she needed, she said I need dignified employment to get out of this dirty business," says Vanessa Bouché.

Bouché admits she had no idea what she was getting herself into when she offered to help but today, Savhera employs seven survivors of trafficking in India and more in Texas. Savhera’s essential oils are ethically made, and USDA certified organic.

Bouché says socially conscious companies are more than a trend; the business model requires a market solution that will solve a social issue. 

She came up with certain criteria to create a strategy honoring Indian culture while developing a consumable product expected to grow over the next decade. As they scale, Bouché says she created a way to reflect on their mission every day.

"And one of the ways we’ve decided to do that is that every single day reflecting on one of our values as a company. We identified 30 values, our top three are dignity, integrity, and excellence but underneath those are twenty-seven other values that are very important to us as a company so, we wrote a book of meditations that dissects each of those 30 values and every single day whether we’re in India or whether we’re in the United States the team reflects on the same value," says Dr. Bouché.

A Nielsen global survey found more than half of consumers would be willing to pay more for a socially responsible product.

January is National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month; you can learn more about Dr. Bouche’s mission and essential oils at savhera.com.

Dr. Bouché is looking to build momentum by partnering with influencers online who focus on wellness and justice.