On October 22nd Ayurveda-inspired skincare line AAVRANI launched their newest product to their collection: the Healing Rose Clay Mask. Founded by Rooshy Roy, AAVRANI was born out of the desire for Rooshy to share the secrets of Indian beauty rituals she practiced growing up in a dual-identity household, while also finding her way back to her roots. It bridges the gap between modern-day routines and ancient, all-natural rituals, and empowers everyone to embrace and celebrate what makes them unique.
To learn more about AAVRANI and their new launch we met with Chief of Staff at AAVRANI, Riddhima Kapoor, where she gave us an inside look on what it takes to work at a beauty startup, what it takes to develop a new product, and where they see the future of AAVRANI.
“I am Riddhima Kapoor, Chief of Staff at AAVRANI”
What does your role entail? What does a normal day look like for you?
Riddhima Kapoor: Due to the nature of a small startup, my role at AAVRANI has changed a lot! Currently, I manage all of our product development & management and operations. This entails everything our consumer physically touches from the shipper boxes the products are mailed out in, to the jars holding the product, down to the actual formulation and fill.
There really is no “normal day” at an early stage startup. My days consist of calls with our lab to make developments in R&D and manage replenishment of inventory, coordinating packaging workstreams with our suppliers, tracking down and managing our inventory, and so much more!
How did you get to your role here at AAVRANI? What is your background?
R.K.: I worked in Investment Banking at Citigroup for 2 years after college and then left my role to join the early team at AAVRANI. I got my role AAVRANI after running into one of the AAVRANI co-founders, Justin, at a mutual friend’s housewarming in NYC. I had reached out to the team a year before meeting Justin, and heard nothing back, but the universe always has plans in store for you! After meeting Justin, we talked at length about my ideas and passion for the business, the team needs, and after a few months of conversations, they had a role for me!
Tell us about AAVRANI and the new Rose Clay mask.
R.K.: AAVRANI is the Holistic Skincare Brand rooted in Indian Inspired rituals. We strive to modernize rituals passed down for thousands of years through generations of Indian women and bring them to women in a shelf stable format. Our products are clean, non-toxic, organic, sustainably sourced, and made in the USA.
The new Healing Rose Clay Mask (HCRM) is a gentle sister to our existing hero product, the Glow Activating Exfoliator. Don’t be fooled though, she is mighty. Made with rose clay, saffron, pomegranate, and rose water, the Healing Rose Clay Mask draws out impurities, restores damaged skin, and improves skin elasticity. It’s topped off with a specially sourced Bulgarian rose oil to soothe irritation and scientifically proven to reduce rosacea. Each jar contains 6,000 distilled rose petals!
What inspired you and your team to make this mask the next in AAVRANI’s collection of products?
R.K.: The HCRM was born out of a consumer need. Our existing hero mask, the Glow Activating Exfoliator is made with Turmeric, Honey, Neem, and Jojoba beads. The jojoba beads made this mask a physical exfoliant, and combined with the potent turmeric it is sometimes too powerful for those with sensitive skin. The HCRM was born to provide an alternative to those with sensitive skin to nourish and detoxify their skin with a gentler, healing, clay mask.
What were the steps to developing this product? Walk us through when the idea first came to mind to it’s launch.
R.K.: The idea for this mask had been brewing for a while based on customer feedback for a sensitive skin option, but once we launched the new AAVRANI brand in August of 2020, I got to work formulating this new product alongside our team of chemists. We started by first removing the beads, so there was no physical exfoliant present. Then, we added a rose clay and rose water to the base so the mask is able to draw out impurities because of the clay, but also nourish and hydrate the skin due to the presence of rose water. Rose clay is a finely grained clay that is less harsh on the skin. From there, we tested and iterated. We added saffron & pomegranate to add brightening and anti-inflammatory properties to the mask and after 17 iterations, we had the perfect formulation.
What’s the easiest and hardest part of product development?
R.K.: The easiest part of product development is getting started! There are so many powerful Indian-inspired ingredients that we are so excited to share with the masses.
The hardest part is knowing when you’re done and have reached a final formulation. It is easy to keep iterating and tweaking versions of the formulation to get It to be as perfect as can be for the customer, but it is important to know when to stop.
What is the most important part of product development?
R.K.: The most important part of product development is the testing phase. It’s so crucial to get to know the product inside and out and understand how she acts on different days. Every user will use the product in their own way so testing the product on a variety of skin types and in a variety of ways is critical. This allows you to make changes as you uncover new facets of the product. Maybe she makes your eyes sting or maybe she doesn’t come off easily with cold water, warm water. Getting to know all of these quirks are imperative so we can effectively market and educate the product to our consumers.
What’s a common misconception people have about product development?
R.K.: I think a common misconception about product development is how involved it actually is. While I am certainly not a chemist physically creating the product, I manage our lab and have to oversee the entire development process. Outside of just creating the physical product through adding ingredients, there are numerous tests and stability work that the formulation must go through before it reaches the consumer.
What is the process in determining what ingredients you want to be in each product?
R.K.: It starts off with a problem that we want to address for our community. In this instance, it was a sensitive skin face mask. I am also currently finalizing an oil-based cleanser that came from a need to remove makeup before beginning our existing AAVRANI ritual. Once we’ve identified the problem we’re solving, I research Indian-inspired ingredients that address the concern and what ingredients pair well to make a robust formulation. The rose clay and rose water in this formulation were a no-brainer for example, because the rose clay is finely milled and is less harsh on the skin, and the rose water deeply hydrates and nourishes the skin from within.
Why pomegranate, Saffron and Rose Water? What are the benefits?
R.K.: Rosewater hydrates and revitalizes the skin. Saffron helps promote skin cell turnover to brighten the skin and pomegranate regenerates and unlocks a lit-from-within glow in minutes. These ingredients work together to gently purify and heal the skin leaving you with nourished skin and a brightening complexion.
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What does growth look like to you for AAVRANI?
R.K.: Growth for AAVRANI looks like growing our community to be even larger and being able to change the lives of more women and men through powerful beauty rituals that unlock inner confidence and outer radiance. At the end of the day, growth is continuing to empower more and more people worldwide.
Where do you see the future of AAVRANI? In 5 years? In 10 years?
R.K.: We see the AAVRANI being a staple in the beauty ritual of every woman across the US, and hopefully the world! We are spearheading the I-beauty or “Indian Beauty” movement and want to share these rich, culturally inspired rituals with as many people as possible. In 5-10 years, we know I-Beauty will be its own section in every retailer and hope to continue to educate and inspire others to be their best selves inside and out.
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Amber Sabri is a Rutgers University graduate and PR professional. Her interests revolve around fashion and beauty.