Our founder Horst Rechelbacher
The legacy of horst rechelbacher extends far beyond the creation of Aveda. a pioneer of holistic beauty, and a champion of environmental responsibility, horst’s purpose and passion have taken on a momentum of their own as part of a greater global movement toward balance and harmony, both individual and collective.
Born in Austria in 1941 to an herbalist mother and a shoemaker father, Horst began working in the salon across the street at the age of 14. “I was not a good student at all but I was very eager to be something different,” he said. Horst was a natural talent, and by 17 he was working as a stylist at a prestigious salon in Rome, tending to such film stars as Sophia Loren. By the young age of 20 he had won the European Hairstyling Championship, which he used as a springboard to tour Europe and the United States. “What is a calling? It’s like almost a fire inside me and it keeps me alive,” he said.
A lifelong student with a lasting vision
From the ancient art of Ayurveda come the rituals of AVEDA
In India, he also received the inspiration to create Aveda. Horst gained greater appreciation for the power of wellness to promote balance in mind, body and spirit, the prerequisite to achieving the guest’s beauty goals. He met Shiv Nath Tandon in the ashram Sadhana Mandir in Rishikesh, India with whom he developed his first Clove Shampoo in a kitchen sink in Minneapolis, together with doctors of Ayurveda, Vinod and Kusum Upadhyay. All have continued to work with Aveda since the early 1970s.
Out of this well-timed collaboration, Aveda was born in 1978 with the vision to bring beauty professionals botanical products that would be good for them, their guests, and the Earth and its communities. Horst’s foresight is a testament to how far ahead of his time he was, and although no longer with us his legacy lives on in countless ways, from the signature ritual of a neck and shoulder massage that Aveda salons are known for, to an ecologically-minded way of doing business, one that celebrates companies with a conscience. Most importantly, Horst taught us that: “Every day presents every one of us with the opportunity to create positive effects. Even the simplest, seemingly insignificant choices we make in our daily lives—what to eat, what to wear, what to use on our bodies and in our homes—have a ripple effect that reaches far beyond us personally.”
A life of extraordinary leadership
Ayurveda is an ancient holistic system of healing that strives to create balance in body, mind and spirit. Ayurveda means “the science of life” and it has been central to Aveda since the very beginning, when we partnered with the Ayurvedic Doctors Vinod and Kusum Upadhyay*.
*Maharshi Bhardwaj Clinic and Research Centre in Haridwar, India.
In keeping with Ayurvedic principles—and because of our concern for the Earth—Aveda is committed to using organic ingredients. This has led to another Ayurvedic partnership—between Aveda and the Indian firm, Nisarga.
Nisarga—which means “nature” in Sanskrit—grows Ayurvedic herbs with organic agriculture. We have partnered with them to obtain organic turmeric and amla for use in some of our products.
Nisarga employs an environmentally friendly extraction method using CO2, which leaves no toxic residues and works at a lower temperature—yielding highly potent extracts.
Because of the company’s concern about the dangers of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, Nisarga works to encourage farmers to convert to organic agriculture. They have held regular educational seminars for about 35,000 farmers over the years, convincing many to go organic. Nisarga pays the organic certification costs for the farmers they partner with and also provides educational support to help make the conversion successful.