Tell us a little about yourself and the road that led you to starting Ranavat Botanics. What inspired you to make skincare products?
My mother-in-law, a veteran esthetician, was battling hyper pigmentation and tried all the products in her spa without results. On a trip to India, she discovered Ayurvedic natural ingredients and was amazed at the results! I immediately starting buying my own botanicals and started to mix my own concoctions. Unfortunately, I found many of the ingredients had long lead times and were difficult to find at a high quality. With the support of my family, I immediately began the process to create a line that would share our ancient Indian beauty traditions with the world.
What is it about Ranavat Botanics that makes it a unique product in the market? What have you learned about positioning a new product in a busy market?
RB is all about using simple ingredients in their purest form because we have found this to yield better and more true results. For example, in our lavender tonic, we use hand-picked lavender buds from the mountains of the Himalayas. These buds are 100% steam distilled, so the amazing fragrance is natural, and the tonic has all of the amazing healing properties of lavender which is healing, restorative and soothing to your complexion. It’s a simple one-ingredient formula, but when you use the best raw materials—you really don’t need much else. RB also works with organizations like the USDA and Ecocert to audit the ingredients so in a world where “organic” and “natural” can mean almost anything. We actually put documentation behind that.
In terms of positioning, RB is not about any specific product or to obtain a certain level of beauty. It is about helping every individual no matter what stage in life, find their own Royal Ritual. We all deserve to treat ourselves to the most luxurious and pure skin treatments—just like the Indian Royals once did.
What was the biggest obstacle to starting your own business? What challenges have you faced, and how did you conquer them? (and despite the hard parts, how do you stay motivated? Or, on a difficult day, how do you push yourself to keep going?)
I would say one of the most difficult aspects is to overcome my tendency to compare myself with others. In a world where social media can quickly quantify exactly where you stand, it can be hard not to feel defeated. My mom once told me that the best way to stop comparing yourself to others is to shift the comparison inward: Compare yourself to YOU. Immediately I realized that less than a year ago, this was only a concept in my mind and we are now almost ready to launch and share it with the world!
What advice would you offer to keep other professionals from feeling overwhelmed by all the aspects of starting a business?
I would say that the key to moving forward is to use amazing resources like Bossladies Mag and other female-driven networking events. For me, it was instrumental in developing relationships with people that believed in RB but had a DIFFERENT skill set than me. I think leveraging freelancers and other experts in the field is crucial to fill in the gaps where you lack those expertise. Also meeting a group of driven individuals all striving for excellence can’t hurt much either.
What have you loved most about this adventure in being an entrepreneur? What are some of the major successful moments that have made you jump for joy?
I would say the most amazing part so far has been the experiences RB has created with my family. My dad, sister and I took a whirlwind Ayurveda/sourcing trip to India where we visited four cities in one-and-a-half weeks! My mother-in-law, a veteran esthetician, has been an amazing tester and has truly pushed me to create a spectacular product. My mother constantly encourages me and has stepped in to watch the kids during many inconvenient tines. Last but not least, my husband Anil has sacrificed a tremendous amount of his free time to helping with the creation of RB and also supporting my travel and other endeavors.
So far the most successful part has been watching people fall in love with RB—the ingredients, packaging, story—everything! I can’t wait for people to start using the treatments and give people the gift of feeling comfortable and confident in their own skin.
What do you see in the future for your business, and how will you get there?
I would love to start as a smaller cult brand and hopefully make it one day to the likes of Net-a-Porter or Sephora. I’m so excited to see where this crazy adventure takes me! In terms of getting there, we need to make everything work seamlessly on a small scale first. Growing too big too fast is not something we want to do. We would love to master the art of customer service so that the RB experience is fit for royalty from end to end.
What the best piece of advice for women who are interested in starting a business? What do you wish you had known when you started?
The best advice is to really go for it. No single person is an expert in every single field, and thankfully with amazing partners and freelancers, there is no need to be! Have faith in your vision and don’t be afraid to depend or collaborate with other people to get your product to a place where you are 100% satisfied and proud of it.
One thought on “Michelle Ranavat, Ranavat Botanics”
Michelle, I’ve been reading some of your articles
about your products, and your new lines. Very
You sound like a hard working mother, with lots of
energy, and some great ideas.
I hope introducing your product at Neimans has been
a great weekend for you. Sorry we missed seeing you.
Thank you so much for the bottle of hair serum. I am anxious to give it a try. Best of luck to you in your great endeavor.
Sincerely, Sue Cunningham