A hectic lifestyle led this woman entrepreneur to launch Ayurveda-based skincare brand
After completing her MBA, Ritika Jayaswal worked for the family business in Nagpur for five years.
Her true interest, however, lay in the consumer goods sector and buoyed by a love for fashion, she decided to go to New York to study fashion marketing at the renowned Parsons School of Design. After finishing her course, she worked in the city for a few years in the apparel and personal care sectors, to gain relevant industry experience.
“Living a true New Yorker life was exciting at the beginning, but later it started to impact my overall wellbeing. Health and nutrition had taken a backseat, and anxiety and stress seeped in. I thought meditation would help and started trying out different techniques, including some meditation apps, but none of those felt like a good fit. Then a friend mentioned Vipassana to me and without thinking much about it, I decided to go for the 10-day course, which is mandatory to learn the technique,” Ritika recalls.
“I cannot express the enlightening experience I had in those 10 days! The programme requires you to meditate 10-11 hours a day with zero interaction with anyone for 10 days. It might seem daunting at first, and a lot of people quit in between, but I am glad I completed the course successfully as it continues to benefit me in so many ways,” she adds.
During one of those trips, Ritika says an epiphany dawned upon her: outward beauty is a direct reflection of the inner self.
Towards inner wellness
Soon after, she began researching and questioning how much the beauty industry really accounts for inner wellness. That’s when the idea struck. What the market and women today needed was a simple remedy that catered to our current lifestyle. The challenge was to ensure this with pure ingredients tested over centuries.
Living in the US and exploring the industry deeper, Ritika noticed that a few brands that claimed to be Ayurvedic had neither any background nor connection with India or the traditional science. Moreover, these brands were made in the US, which made their authenticity questionable.
Nourish Mantra products
Ritika returned to India and bounced the idea on her grandfather, Basant Lall Shaw Jayaswal, or Baba, as she calls him. With his help and advice, she began travelling across India to locate pure yet exotic ingredients for a year, and then to find genuine practitioners to fine-tune the recipes.
At the end of 2019, she launchedin the US.
Nourish Mantra focuses on skincare products, which are free from harmful ingredients, are ethically sourced, and 100 percent vegan. Its formulations primarily include natural and Ayurvedic ingredients like moringa, hemp, Indian ginseng, Gotu Kola, grapeseed oil etc.
Manufactured in India, the products are now available on its website and will be launched on Nykaa after the lockdown is lifted. The prices range from Rs 850 to Rs 3,500.
After the US launch, Nourish Mantra products have received a favourable response, says the entrepreneur.
“Very early on, our brand was mentioned by Allure in their article that talked about trends that will go big. More recently, our Vedic Elixir Facial Oil has been selected as a Finalist in the Pure Beauty Global Awards 2020 in the Best New Premium Skin Care category. It was recently featured by Destination Luxury as a must-have beauty ritual at home.”
Ritika believes that the approach to recreate Ayurvedic formulations and make them relevant to today’s lifestyle sets the startup apart.
“Five thousand years ago, the skin did not have to face so much pollution, stress, screen time etc, which it does today. Hence, there was a need to back the ancient system with modern science. Our products are mindfully created using a mix of traditional ingredients with modern supplements like Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide etc. Hyaluronic Acid is naturally produced by your body and Niacinamide is Vitamin B3, so our products give you what your skin needs in today's times,” she says.
In a small attempt to fight the COVID-19 crisis, Ritika has committed to donating 20 percent of Nourish Mantra’s online proceeds to a community kitchen in New Delhi that is distributing 1,000 meals a day to the needy.
Her future plans include making Nourish Mantra an overall wellness brand. “Our plan is to educate and spread awareness of Ayurveda in the US, along with providing high quality products that deliver the exoticism of India to the world,” Ritika says.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)