Plain Tiger Spotlight: Jaya Organics

Crafted in Cambodia

By Renee Fortune

Apart from the delight of finding a chocolate on your pillow, one of the most enchanting parts of hotel hopping involves being treated to your very own buffet of bodycare products. Sometimes, that travel-sized shampoo or body wash is just the item you forgot to pack. Other travellers collect these products as fond mementos of time well-spent on much-needed self-care. Of course offering complementary bodycare products are a fitting add-on to the luxury accommodation experience. But have you ever stopped to consider just how many of these travel-sized containers are tossed into a bin after use or wasted somewhere down the line? 

For an average sized hotel, every guest could potentially discard or keep (and then waste) 3 to 4 containers per stay. Times that by 100 guests per day and the numbers which may appear marginal at first, can really start to add up. 

The hard fact is that the cycle of using single-use plastic and other unsustainable materials in the bodycare offerings of hotels has literally gone on for centuries. Thankfully, there are people who crunch these numbers and decide that the environmental cost is simply too great to ignore. Dennis Reinhard, founder of Jaya Organics is one of those people.
After working on Jakarta’s bustling corporate scene for a number of years, a timely meeting with Christian, the managing director of Jaya Hotels took his career in a whole new direction. In 2018, when Christian and Dennis met up, an idea was formed to create a sustainable bodycare brand with products that would be distributed throughout the numerous hotels and residences in the chain. There was at the time, no other boutique hotel chain that had its own range of locally produced products that were made in an environmentally-friendly way using methods that provided employment opportunities for local Cambodians. 

One year later, in 2019, Jaya Organics hit the bathroom cabinets, dressers and cupboards of the Jaya Hotels group and that was just the beginning. Because Dennis would accept nothing short of a cruelty-free production process, Jaya Organic’s first prototypes were tested out on family and friends. The results were phenomenal. As someone with extremely sensitive skin, Dennis had learnt first-hand how harmful chemical additives and preservatives could wreak havoc on the body. So right from the outset, he set out to choose locally sourced, natural ingredients like moringa oil, coconut and kampot salt to create a range that represented the very best of what Mother Nature has to offer. 

The amusing part is that if you sit down with Dennis for coffee and a chat, he’ll tell you that Jaya Organics’s earliest beginnings began in a Nutella jar. Dennis and his team started producing the five flagship products (shampoo, conditioner, body cleaner, hand wash and body lotion) in small batches for people to try. Guests at the Jaya Hotels soon started asking for their own samples to take home. But during those fledgling months, Jaya Organics didn’t yet have its own formal, branded packaging. So one of the first samples Dennis sent out with a guest was in a Nutella jar, hastily cleaned and prepared for use in the kitchen of one of the hotels. That Nutella jar sample was the first of many to go home with guests as demand grew. 

By the time COVID hit in 2020, more guests who had used the products and become familiar with the brand began to ask whether the products could be shipped internationally. And that’s how Jaya Organics went from being a hotel brand to being its very own standalone bodycare brand that’s used in places all over the world. It’s even earned a spot in coveted titles like Forbes and Condé Nast Traveler where it was described as a brand ‘rooted firmly in Cambodia.’ 

Today, the range has expanded from just five products to many other variants used in spas and designed to provide people with the ultimate, sustainable self-care indulgence. The philosophy behind the brand however, has remained the same. As Dennis explains:

“We’re proud to say that 80% of the ingredients used in our products are locally sourced. Our team is made up of local women who have learnt valuable skills that they can use to enhance our offering and build on their careers. We’d like to use this model to be an example to other aspiring bodycare pioneers. It’s strange to talk about our brand as being sustainable, because by now, shouldn’t every brand be?”

Your Jaya Organics product will arrive in a brown, glass bottle or jar – a nod to Dennis’s personal inclination towards minimalism. Less in this case however, is undeniably more. What you’ll get with every product is a sulfate-free, paraben-free and cruelty-free solution to holding onto your holiday glow. 

On the aesthetic Dennis comments that: “Jaya Organics products are designed to blend in with your environment, wherever you find yourself. It’s the kind of unassuming aesthetic you’ll need to bring visual balance to your bathroom shelf or sink. That’s why we’ve pared it right down to a simple two-toned colourway and used glass for classic appeal and lifelong reusability.”

In the hotels, each glass container is washed and prepared fresh for the next guest, and those who use the products in their home, can easily reuse or recycle the bottles. A reusable pouch included with each order provides travellers with a safe and simple solution to mess-free travel, so you can take your Jaya Organics creations wherever you go. 

You could think of it as your opportunity to take a little piece of Cambodia with you, wherever your path may lead. And thanks to Jaya Organics, that little piece of Cambodia comes with a healthy dose of nature’s very own magic.
$18.00 USD