As a daughter of Indian immigrants growing up in small-town Wisconsin, Michelle Ranavat sometimes felt as though she was going back and forth between two different cultures. Today, she merges them with her eponymous beauty brand, which brings products made in India from traditional and locally sourced ingredients to the rest of the world.What drove you to start your own brand? I created Ranavat as a way to blend my background in science with my love and appreciation for my Indian heritage. As a first generation South Asian-American, I grew up with many traditional beauty practices that carried so much value, and I wanted to bring them to light here in the US. When I launched the line in 2014, there was a major white space in beauty. Ingredients like bakuchi, turmeric and ashwagandha hadn’t been used in mainstream skincare, and over the past few years, we’ve seen such appreciation for them. I think these ingredients just scratch the surface in terms of what Indian beauty and traditions can offer.
The evening is when I get more detailed. A few times a week, after cleansing my face, I’ll do a nice massage with my Kansa Wand. It’s a great way to let go of stress and get into relaxation mode. Lastly, I love reading in the evenings. This helps my body prepare for rest and gets me away from my phone. We end the evening with family time and a rest, so we can start the next day off strong! What would people be surprised to learn about you? For many years, while living in New York, I was a professional Bollywood dancer! I performed in TV commercials, movies and even at Lincoln Center. What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business? You can do it! Being an entrepreneur is all about believing yourself and not letting stress get to you. If you can do both of those things, you’re well on your way to being successful.