Creating a New Beauty Category, with Riddhima Kapoor, AAVRANI

In this episode of the Beyond the Shelf: the Product & Packaging Podcast, Laura Foti speaks with Riddhima Kapoor, former chief of staff at AAVRANI, an innovative beauty brand celebrating Indian beauty rituals and bringing Indian beauty to the US market.

Posted on 
August 30, 2022
Laura Foti
CMO, Specright

There’s an old adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

But the reality is, beauty companies and media have long set the standards of what beauty is.

The good news is, this is starting to change with the rise of more diverse and inclusive beauty brands, who are bringing new products and stories to market.

That’s why I was so excited to talk to Riddhima Kapoor, the former Chief of Staff of the innovative Indian beauty brand, AAVRANI.

In our conversation, we talked about the importance of representation in beauty and what it takes to pioneer a new category of beauty in the United States – and AAVRANI’s impact on expanding existing beauty norms.

The company is also having an impact on the climate (Kelp naturally removes carbon from the atmosphere) and the local community of fisherman and lobsterman in Maine, where the company is based.

Below are some highlights from our conversation – you can listen to the full audio on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. And be sure to subscribe to our channel to get the latest episodes as soon as they drop.

You can catch the full episode here – and be sure to leave a rating or review if you liked the show – it helps others find the podcast.

On the rise of beauty brands with roots in different cultures  

“Korean beauty and Japanese beauty [have] really been paving the way for all of these cultures to come to the forefront and it really is a movement. So while we like to say, we’re at the helm of bringing Indian beauty to the masses, it really takes an army. So it’s really exciting to see other ethnically inspired brands pop up, as well.”

On what makes Indian beauty rituals special

“…Indian beauty specifically is rooted in Ayurvedic, which is an Indian science, which has been around for hundreds of thousands of years.”

“…But it’s so much deeper than even you or I could get through on this podcast… So given that, it’s clinically proven in the sense that it’s passed down to traditions and traditions and just it’s something that’s worked and people just don’t know about it a lot. So Indian beauty is really special in that it’s this generational wisdom and knowledge that’s passed down for many ailments.”

On the importance of ingredients in not only their products but story

“Every one of our products has a bit of that inspiration in the ingredients…If you read the back of the box, we have a little story on every single one about how it relates back to the culture. Because hopefully when we have a hundred thousand SKUs one day, right, we just want everyone to still know where it came from and trace back the heritage of why it’s so special. And it’s really due to the ingredients rooted in the culture.”

On how they balance sustainability as a startup

“You have to think of the customer first in every journey, right? So if we can’t focus the resources on a whole new sustainability plan at that moment, we have to get the best in class products out and then work other angles, whether that’s cutting down on truckloads and cutting down on things coming from overseas and things like that. There’s always little changes we can keep making as we work towards a larger goal of being sustainable.”

On what excites her about the future of beauty

“I’m excited to see beauty evolve from just something external to something internal. And while we’re really trying to focus on that, I know larger beauty brands are trying, as well. Which is what’s exciting because if they make noise, we all get lifted up from that, as well. But I think focusing on inner beauty and how something makes you feel and how you radiate confidence from that versus just putting on something and rushing out to go to work and get on the subway and do your commute, there’s a different approach to that.”

Listen to the whole episode here – and be sure to stay tuned through the end for one of my favorite “Keep, Kill, Change” segments, where we make Riddhima decide between St. Ives Apricot Face Scrub, sunscreen and toothpaste.


Laura Foti

Laura leads marketing and investor relations at Specright. Prior to Specright, she led advertising and analytics at GE Digital, GE’s Industrial Internet software business. Before that, she was a consultant at Deloitte Digital working in enterprise digital transformation, where she helped clients design and deploy eCommerce experiences, develop revenue-driving mobile apps, and reimagine their global digital marketing strategy. Laura was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for marketing and advertising and Brand Innovators 40 Under 40 and 100 Women to Watch lists. She graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She resides in Newport Beach, CA.

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