Ranavat’s Founder on How Pregnancy and Ayurveda Inspired Her to Start Her Skin Care Company

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

Michelle Ranavat
Photo credit: Grey and Elle

On this episode of Behind Her Empire, Michelle Ranavat talks about how pregnancy and traditional ayurvedic remedies inspired her to start her skin care company, and how she grew it without relying on outside funding.



Ranavat started her company at 35, after giving birth to two kids. Her maternity leave allowed her to step back from the day-to-day worries of life at work. She found herself diving into Ayurvedic postpartum rituals. Around the same time, she noticed some of her hair started falling out and was paying attention to the ways her skin was changing. That inspired her to do something about it.

“I think I was in the frame of mind that I was discovering and thinking about, ‘Oh, that's kind of an interesting idea’, or ‘Why isn't there a product?’ and I had the time, in many ways, and the clarity because I wasn't in a day to day job,” she said.

Ranavat began working on a product, and used her last name for her fledgling company. Its first big launch brought positive feedback from prospective customers, but she didn't want to stop there. Instead, she said, she looked closely at what people said could make the product better.

“I think the product was good. I think that I just got better at formulating [it],” she said. “And so I didn't feel bad about letting go. Because I knew I was working towards something better.”

Ranavat was one of the first companies to bring Ayurvedic practices to skin care, focusing first on a variety of hydrating masks and mists.

“Early on, I didn't have amazing packaging [or] a great brand story, but I think the brand story and the concept and the area in which we were trying to educate and push in the whitespace that existed was massive,” said Ranavat.

Out of the gate, Ranavat got interest from Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Credo Beauty, among other big retailers. At the time, the brand didn’t have much of a social media following or a cadre or influencers to boost it. But its unique story got it some early press, and that helped it build a following – even from some in the South Asian community who may not be accustomed to paying for a product they’re used to making themselves, Ranavat said.

“I think it's a hard sell, honestly, to a South Asian community. Because they're like, ‘Oh, I make it at home’, or ‘I don't really typically spend this much on my beauty’,” she said. “But we actually had an amazing response. And a lot of the responses were like, ‘Man, I don't usually spend this much. But let me tell you, this works‘.”

Ranavat said the rise of her company didn’t happen without some mistakes along the way. But she reminds herself that feeling is only finite and that nothing needs to be perfect.

“I don't think anyone really is making a mistake unless they are feeling like they're stuck in their ways and they can't evolve,” she said.

Hear more of the Behind Her Empire podcast. Subscribe on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radioor wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA Audience Engagement Fellow Joshua Letona contributed to this post.

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