Interview with Ritika Jayaswal, Woman Entrepreneur, CEO & Founder of Nourish Mantra
Fueled by curiosity, self-introspection and a love for wellness, Ritika Jayaswal founded Nourish Mantra in 2019. She was born and brought up in a simple town in Central India in an industrial family.
Her grandfather Shri Basant Lall Shaw Jayaswal is one of the key players of the industrial revolution in India and Ritika has always been influenced by his trajectory immensely. This is what evoked her love for consumer behavior at a very nascent stage.
After completing her education at Parsons School of Design in New York, Ritika delved into the fashion and beauty industry there.
Over time the fast-paced life of New York took a toll on her and she started looking for ways to combat the quick shrill of everyday life, she needed stillness.
Trading back to her roots and the Indian way of healing, she started practicing Vipassana – a virtuous process that trains the mind to practice zero interaction with any soul.
Tell us a little about yourself
Ritika Jayaswal: After completing my MBA, I joined my family business in iron and steel manufacturing and worked there for 5 years.
I always had a deeper calling in consumer goods so I decided to pursue Fashion Marketing at Parsons School of Design in New York to get relevant knowledge.
After finishing my course, I started working in New York based companies and that helped me gain real industry experience and I was also lucky to find a few mentors along the way.
Please tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey
Ritika Jayaswal: After years of hustle and bustle of New York City, I was feeling exhausted and depleted as I started ignoring my body’s needs of proper nutrition, sleep and calm, which soon started to show on my skin and hair.
I’ve always been close to my grandfather, who would guide me with natural remedies to tackle these issues.
During one of my trips to India, he convinced me to visit Kerala and meet some Ayurvedic practitioners.
When I experienced the benefits of nature-backed treatments firsthand, it inspired me to create something around it.
This was also around the time I started practicing Vipassana. I took learnings from India and worked with doctors and formulators in the US, and this was the collaboration where age-old healing practices merged seamlessly with new age formulation techniques.
That’s how Nourish Mantra was born. I call it a teamwork between me and my grandfather – a true combination of old-world wisdom and modern science.
Kindly brief us about Nourish Mantra, its specialization, and the services that it offers
Ritika Jayaswal: We are a modern beauty brand that is rooted in heritage and backed by science. With focus on holistic wellness, we offer skincare, haircare and wellness products.
Our mission is to modernize traditional Indian beauty philosophies making them relevant to today’s changing lifestyle.
Our mantra is conscious living, with a connection of the body, mind and soul. Ideated in the USA, our products are 100% vegan, cruelty-free and created with ethically sourced ingredients.
What is your biggest USP
Ritika Jayaswal: Our biggest USP is our blended approach that sets us apart from others. We blend ancient Indian wisdom with modern chemistry, which allows us to bring the targeted results of science-backed ingredients & holistic benefits of age-old and tried-tested ingredients. This way, our users don’t have to choose between the two and get the best of both worlds.
What made you choose this type of business?
Ritika Jayaswal: With my personal journey to holistic wellness and combining that with my experience in the international beauty industry, it felt like a natural fit in choosing this business.
I had no knowledge of e-commerce prior to Nourish Mantra but growing up around businesses definitely helped in the general understanding of running a business. Once I knew what I wanted to do, I couldn’t be more excited to get started!
What was your mission and vision at the outset?
Ritika Jayaswal: With launching Nourish Mantra, my vision was to change the global narrative about beauty by building a brand where beauty isn’t the source of happiness, but happiness is the source of beauty.
Our Mission: At Nourish Mantra, our mission is to provide result-driven wellness & beauty solutions that focus on achieving beauty from the inside out. We believe that when you feel your best, you look your best.
What is your Leadership Mantra
Ritika Jayaswal: My Leadership Mantra is to let my department leaders really take the lead. I remind myself that the reason they are in the team is because they have more knowledge than I do in their field, and it’s valuable to use their expertise.
This also encourages a sense of ownership in them. I do give my inputs but I’m all about empowering my team members by giving them the opportunity to make decisions.
What’s your company’s goals?
Ritika Jayaswal: Our goal is to learn about our audience’s skin & hair concerns and create result-based solutions that are of high quality yet affordable.
We are currently also focusing on expanding through both online & offline channels so our users can find us easily.
What was the inspiration behind turning an entrepreneur
Ritika Jayaswal: Being brought up in a business family that values work as worship has been the single greatest inspiration for me to take the leap of faith and become an entrepreneur.
My family’s determination and commitment to building better solutions for existing problems and filling the need gap, provided me with the foundation needed to build a business and achieve success, and they continue to be the source of inspiration that fuels my passion and resilience today.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Ritika Jayaswal: At the early stage, I have had to learn the hard lesson of avoiding being blinded by one’s own expectations or biases.
One classic mistake was investing resources in trying to construct the “best product” instead of a product that would immediately solve a problem or provide better value to customers.
Apart from that, inventory management has also been a costly lesson for me as overstocking inventories significantly decreased liquidity.
While mistakes were made, it has only bolstered my understanding that taking a customer-driven approach is critical.
Key things to consider before starting a Business
Ritika Jayaswal: Before diving head-first I would suggest all potential entrepreneurs to have a few key considerations, the first question being – What are your assets that you can leverage on?
Other obvious questions are – is this something you want to do on your own, or have co-founders? What about funding?
Is there any additional education or qualifications that would give you a stronger start? It’s also important to consider the amount of risk associated with this endeavor.
Taking the time to build a business plan will better equip you for success beyond launching day. No matter how much you have planned, it is inevitable that you will hit bumps in the road, but with a prepared start you have the confidence and knowledge to navigate them with ease.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Ritika Jayaswal: Find the product-market fit as soon as possible and don’t take time in pivoting if that is needed.
Make sure you understand the market, competitive landscape, and your customer base as these are key elements that will increase your chance for success.
Your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs
Ritika Jayaswal: Don’t be afraid to seek advice from those who have been there before. I am never ashamed to discuss my challenges with other business owners in the same or different vertical. Knowledgeable guidance and support can often be the key difference between success or failure.
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