Today I have the pleasure to interview Michelle Ranavat of the Ayurvedic-inspired skincare line Ranavat Botanics. I feel so honored and privileged to be connected to a woman like Michelle. Not only is she incredibly talented she is also willing to take time out of her busy day to help other budding entrepreneurs.
I spoke to her for the first time last summer while I was still working at LinkedIn and I wanted advice on building a brand. She didn’t even know me personally but was willing to get on the phone and chat with me while she was in the middle of launching her skincare line!
Michelle began working on her brand just a couple of years ago and now you can find her luxurious products at various Nordstrom locations, Neiman Marcus and hopefully at a few more stores very soon!
Let’s hear it for Michelle!
Q&A with Michelle Ranavat of Ranavat Botanics
+What led to the creation of Ranavat Botanics?
There’s a lot of family history here—my grandfathers are both in the chemicals business and after a few years on Wall Street, I started working for my dad’s raw materials company. I would essentially search the world for amino acids, peptides, and other ingredients and fell in love with this process. As someone that loves tradition- I also spent a lot of time mixing my own masques and loving the results. I noticed that many of the Ayurvedic ingredients like sandalwood and bakuchi seed were hard to find in good quality and I wanted to create a way for more people to experience these incredible herbs. Since, I’ve used the same methodology for ingredient sourcing my dad uses- and just applied it to my passion for skin!
+I’ve read that each of your ingredients has a story. Can you share a special one with us?
I am so incredibly in love with the smell of the Jasmine Tonique. Ours is handpicked from an organic garden in India and then steam distilled- so that all the fragrance and properties are only from the Jasmine flower and no other ingredients. I love the story of jasmine because it plays such a prominent role in Indian culture. Jasmine is an aphrodisiac and is known to elevate your mood – which is why single women in India wear Jasmine flowers in their hair. It’s a symbol of youth and flirtation. In the Hindu wedding ceremony, Jasmine is a symbol of promise and everlasting love between the married couple.
+What is one of your favorite memories in the creation of Ranavat Botanics?
To start Ranavat Botanics, I first had to tell my dad I wanted to leave his company to work on this full time. I was nervous about what he would say- but his response was: “Michelle, the reason I wanted you to work at my company wasn’t that I wanted you to build my dream- but I wanted to give you all the skills to build your dream.” With that – the two of us hopped on a plane to an Ayurvedic conference in Chennai and started the journey to create Ranavat. We literally hit the road in India in search of each ingredient- and it was the most incredible bonding experience!
+If you had to choose one Ranavat Botanics as your favorite (I know it’s hard), what would it be?
I would say Mighty Majesty Huile Extrordinare. Mighty Majesty combines my love for jasmine and super soft skin. Growing up in Chicago- I’ve had to deal with dry skin my whole life—and I just love how soft my skin feels. I look forward to starting my morning with a few drops of Mighty Majesty post-shower to elevate my mood and feel pampered before I start running around!
+As a skincare guru, what beauty tips do you have for us?
The biggest tip I can give is to learn the difference between dehydration and dry. We often think they are the same thing but knowing the difference can be a huge help! Dehydrated skin means you lack water so adding oils will not really do much (since oil has no water). If your skin is dehydrated be sure to drink plenty of water and mist with your favorite Tonique! If your skin is dry—that means you are lacking oil. In that case, I would liberally apply your favorite (mine is Mighty Majesty!) and your skin will retain its moisture much more effectively.
+Give us a glimpse into your wellness routine!
Honestly- right now I need to re-vamp my wellness routine. I am in love with Barry’s Bootcamp and am a huge regular but it’s been hard with the India trip and Nordstrom launch to keep up. My goal is to get back into my daily Barry’s habit by March. I also love dance; I’ve been into ballet and Bollywood for a long time and there’s no better feeling than an incredible class. When I’m not doing either of those I like to work on my flexibility. I’ve found that stretching is so therapeutic and just helps release any tension from the day.
In terms of food, I’m a vegetarian. I don’t pay too much attention to what I’m eating — I typically like to eat healthy (non-fried) foods and have a very serious dessert habit!
+What has been one of your biggest challenges as a business owner?
Balance!! I love spending time with my family (I have 2 boys and an amazing husband) and so much of retail involves events on nights and weekends. It’s a constant struggle and I’m hoping to add to my team very soon to help create more of a balance for me.
+What advice would you give to other creative entrepreneurs?
My advice is to take the slow and steady path. I have made so many mistakes along the way and I’m so glad I invested in phases so that I could take my own time to adjust and build slowly. There is no such thing as “overnight success” – building something real takes time so if people don’t notice right away—it doesn’t mean you have a bad idea. Take the feedback and continue to refine.
I would also really encourage people to build a brand/concept that truly represents them. It is easy to fall in love with someone else’s’ success and then try to replicate it — but that doesn’t work. If you build something that is true to you, it will be so much more valuable and unique.
+Do you live by any mottos/mantras?
Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. We often look at other companies or stories and feel like they have accomplished so much—but the reality is that they have likely been working for a while. To me, I like taking a slow and steady approach where I can really feel 100% confident about every single detail I put into the company.
If you want to join a community of like-minded creative entrepreneurs be sure to check out my free Facebook group Passion to Profit | Brand Strategy for Creatives.
Stick around for more inspiring interviews like this one with Smita Kishore from Simply Smita.