Tell us about yourself?
I am a Research and Development Scientist and a founder at Skinveda. I earned a master’s degree in Inorganic Chemistry Magna Cum Laude from the University of Toronto with 5 publications and 2 patents through my research.
I have since graduating worked with several pharmaceutical and cosmetics manufacturing firms. I started Skinveda to find a solution for my son’s eczema when he was born.
Seeing great results prompted me to quit my corporate job and start working on formulating, researching, and developing skin care products targetting stress-related issues.
Using my knowledge in Chemistry, peptides, and being self-taught in Ayurveda helped create the groundwork and delivery systems for my Ayurvedic-inspired line.
What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?
I walked into being an entrepreneur blindly with a positive attitude.
I had to multi-task like any entrepreneur and learn so many things, from marketing, and creating my website from scratch to selling, and accounting, while staying in harmony with my personal life.
If there was one thing I took away from this experience, it is that you got to let go and not dwell too much on the failures. Learning to rise from failures and letting go is the key to being successful.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
If I could go back in time to when I first started Skinveda, I would advise myself not to jump quickly into every opportunity that comes to my way and trust that better opportunities are out there.
A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?
It is never easy to juggle personal and professional life and keep the balance. I have been fortunate to have a supportive family.
They helped me through some rough patches during this journey. I also have given my family top priority, and that will always remain constant.
Being true to myself and knowing that family comes first has taught me to work around that and learn the importance of time management.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
Skinveda could not have been possible had I not had the incredible support of my family and friends. It started out of a personal need and then got exposure through trade shows, health and wellness expos, and then Whole Foods.
I cannot thank enough some friends without whom this would not have been possible, including Deborah Milhelm, who photographed the products and assisted me with marketing and demos at Whole Foods.
I would like to thank Kristy Leon, an English teacher who not only became my ardent customer but also gave me the platform to inspire middle school students by demonstrating science experiments.
I like to thank Eva Castilla for helping me with youtube videos and Douchka Lecot for her incredible help with Shark Tank video and for choosing to make Skinveda their brand ambassador.
I cannot thank Diana Morales, who helped me not only with marketing, youtube videos but also in the lab when I had to do all the manufacturing, packaging, and filling. I like to thank Mary Winkenwerder for her collaboration in creating amazing interviews on each product.
I like to thank Cathy Harmon – who has not only been a big supporter of my line but a true friend. I also like to thank Lisa Womack for supporting Skinveda and giving me opportunities to present the line through yoga networks.
I have to thank Maya Jedlicka for her vision and belief in Skinveda and Dr. Dhanada Kulkarni for hosting me on Radio Azad. I would like to also thank Koshi Dhingra for giving me exposure through her WalkSTEM program.
I like to thank Gowri Sharma for hosting me at the Philanthropy Fashion Show with Sabyasachi and introducing me to the Regional Director for the UNICEF fund in North Texas. Finally, I wish to thank Brooke and Jamie Lyons, who put my vision into reality through their beautiful photography and also supporting Skinveda.
I like to thank all the buyers at Whole Foods for their help and ideas as I navigated through this journey as an entrepreneur.
Last but not least, I would like to thank my son, Abhi, for putting together an LED display of my logo, my daughter for helping me with inventory, labeling, and blogging, and my husband for always being my shoulder to cry on and helping me with anything that I asked for.
What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?
There is no magic sauce. What I feel sets me apart is the way I see the future of skincare.
Having cross-trained in both medicinal Chemistry, Ayurveda, and cosmetic science, I was able to create a tailored skincare line that is free of harsh chemicals and is based on psychodermatology and the principles of Ayurveda.
I believe in Less is More using powerful activities and delivery systems to see results.
How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?
Sales have been great! I think my advice would be to always be in the know and do your research well based on the clientele you think will be your consumers.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
People have made many promises and not delivered, and then there are people who used me to get ahead.
I have tried to overcome these challenges by letting go and not taking everything to my heart. Things happen, and sometimes you do not have control over them.
What do you consider are the main strengths of operating your business in Texas over other states in the US?
Texas has been my home for almost two decades now! The southern hospitality and the solid economic growth, while being one of the top states for small businesses, have definitely helped to operate my business in Texas.
Are there any disadvantages of operating our business in Texas?
Coming from California, I was first disappointed in the lack of knowledge about Ayurveda and clean beauty.
But, it seems like Texas has now become the hub for clean beauty space with thriving indie brands in this space with gradual awareness of Ayurveda and its benefits.
Texas has a pretty diverse population. How have you found the quickly changing demographics have impacted your business? Have you got new opportunities? Managed to expand your business into new areas?
A diverse population and the ever-changing demographics of Texas have been pivotal for many businesses.
I have not particularly seen any change as a result. But this is always a positive change for my business as it caters to a diverse population.
With rising prices across Texas (and the US as a whole), have you been impacted? Do you have a plan for dealing with inflation going forward?
I have noticed that the supply chain has been affected, and our costs have gone up, but we still try to keep the retail price the same and absorb the loss.
What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years with your business?
I would like my brand to be known globally, and more products launched, including for babies, men, and menopausal women.