What inspired the idea behind aavrani?
Rooshy Roy: Throughout my formative years, my Indian culture had a huge impact on my approach to health and beauty — from my grandmothers and mother applying raw coconut oil in my hair as a deep conditioning treatment, to making turmeric masks before special occasions to cleanse and nourish my skin.
As I got older and pursued a career in finance, the frenetic and unhealthy lifestyle often caused me to break out in ways I’d never previously experienced. Every time I’d visit home, my mother would carefully assess my face and come up with a solution using ingredients from the kitchen. I remember turmeric masks being the most effective; sometimes, she’d make the formula, dab it directly on my breakout points or acne scars, and after just a few hours, my acne would be calmed, the redness would vanish, and my scars would fade. When I’d go back to New York, I’d long for that solution but couldn’t find it in any store and didn’t have the time to or energy to make it myself.
This was the inspiration behind aavrani: to share the very ingredients I used for several years and create an Indian inspired ritual that would be safe, effective, and stand the test of time.
What do you think is the most important skill founders need to succeed — and why?
Roy: Resilience. Making mistakes is inevitable, so the faster and stronger you can come back from them, the faster you’ll get to the right answer.
A great example of this is in the fundraising process. As we talked to investors, we got many nos.
“I don’t invest in beauty.”
“You’re too early.”
“What even is ‘Indian Skincare?’”
We’ve heard it all. Not getting discouraged by those early nos, and driving forward has allowed us to raise nearly $2 Million!
Justin, how did you get involved in the skincare and beauty industry?
Justin Silver: Prior to receiving my MBA at Wharton, I worked in investin — specifically focus[ing] on the early-stage consumer companies. My biggest portfolio responsibility was with a company called Tatcha, a luxury skincare company with a Japanese heritage. I saw how the founders of that business, Vicky and Brad, created an aspirational brand. I’m bringing my experience there to the team at aavrani.
What keeps you going when things go south?
Roy: The emails, letters, customer reviews, direct messages on Instagram — I could go on — that come in from people who are just letting us know how we’ve changed their life! Most recently, a mother from Oklahoma sent us an email thanking us for giving her teenage daughter her confidence back as our exfoliator actually cleared up her acne!
There is nothing more motivating to me than notes like these.
What is your superpower?
Silver: Having a positive attitude, even in the most intense times. Oh, and also, I can fly. [Unconfirmed - Ed.]
What’s your kryptonite?
Silver: Tic-Tacs and Baked by Melissa cupcakes. I don’t know what it [is with] each of them, but if I have them in my hand, I’ll finish all of them.
Do you have any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
Silver: I like working with my hands, so some of my favorite hobbies include cooking classes, welding, wood carving, and other unique things in New York City.
Do you have any favorite gadgets or devices you consistently use?
Silver: The rollerball on the travel-size eye rejuvenating elixir is a pretty amazing thing.
Any advice for aspiring founders?
Silver: Just start. The hardest part is starting. Call suppliers. Make a website. Talk to your friends about it. Just start.