Rana Good is the founder of Naïra NYC. A writer for publications such as Forbes, Travel + Leisure, Coveteur, Mens Journal and others, she created her own platform celebrating women of color.
When influencer and philanthropist Diipa Khosla launched indē wild, she didn’t just create a skincare brand, she launched her own beauty category, coining the term Ayurvedistry™ which harnesses the powers of Ayurveda and chemistry. Before launch, the budding brand interviewed thousands of women to get it right when it comes to their skincare needs. indē wild focuses on melanated skin and Desi women in particular, counteracting skin issues like hyperpigmentation and environmental damage which are frequent concerns for women of color living in big cities.
While Khosla has a huge global audience of millions of followers, she isn’t going at this alone. indē wild uses the knowledge and experience of five women board members (dermatologists, ayurvedic doctors, and scientific researchers) to ensure this is a brand at the forefront of skincare.
We spoke to Khosla about why her products are so effective for melanated skin and what’s next for her brand.
You have an interesting background in social media, law, and beauty, can you briefly walk me through your career path?
Diipa Khosla: I was born and raised like a regular middle-class Indian girl until I attended boarding school. It was very international and I started to get the global citizen feeling. After that, I moved to the Netherlands to study law and moved to London. I got into Instagram because I realized there were not that many Desis doing it. I wanted to see someone that looked like me and started building my platform about seven years ago and experienced a lot of success through it. At some point, I felt that I had done everything as an influencer and my husband and I launched our NGO, Post for Change, which takes the power of social media and harnesses it for good. We’ve worked with UNICEF and the Spotlight Initiative with a focus on empowering women.
As for founding indē wild, somewhere inside me, there’s always been a budding entrepreneur. I’m a Punjabi and was raised in an entrepreneurial house with my parents. It felt destined to happen and two years ago was the perfect time to start. I was not expecting a pandemic to happen but it made me think through everything with the brand twice and thrice. It makes me very proud of what we have, a well-rounded and conscious brand.
How did your previous experiences as an influencer help you create indē wild?
It gave me a lot of respect for beauty brands and founders. It made me look at beauty from a different angle and helped me pick the best of what brands were doing, then incorporate that into indē wild. As an influencer, you get sent so many products from the biggest and best companies and it helped me experience their efficacy and branding. I was able to pick and choose from the best but also establish what was lacking for us. My brand was also co-founded by my community so I wanted to create something that was missing for them.
You utilized your large following as part of your market research, can you tell me more about that process?
Right from the start, I knew indē wild had to be people-powered. We created 13 focus groups and three surveys that spoke to around 12,000 people. We spent up to 2 ½ hours with women from the U.S., Canada, UK, and India. I wanted to know who is the modern Desi woman, what makes her tick, why does she follow me, and what are her pain points. All the answers they gave us created indē wild and will continue to be part of our journey with our new products.
Many of your followers are South Asian women living around the globe, what are some skincare concerns/commonalities you see within this demographic?
The usual suspects that all brown women relate to. The first one is hyperpigmentation since we tend to scar quicker and leave pigmentation marks quicker. We also struggle with acne because of our diet, because of our many spices and dishes like Idli Dosa first thing in the morning. We also experience humidity and pollution in major cities, which can cause wrinkles and sun damage.
What are the products in your line and what are their benefits?
We have two, to begin with, we really wanted to simplify skincare for the modern girl on the go who doesn’t have time for a 13-step skincare routine. Our serums have all of your day and nighttime needs in one. The ingredients are for melanated skin. The AM serum has 15 percent, the optimum percentage of Vitamin C in its purest form, combined with Vitamin E and ferulic acid, which pair nicely with Vitamin C. It also has niacinamide and through the Ayurvedic lens, we have ashwagandha and turmeric which are great for pigmented and acne-prone skin. There’s also hyaluronic acid to soothe the pinch some people feel with Vitamin C, and it’s also very hydrating so even people with sensitive skin can use it. We also have an anti-pollution veil and blue light filter in the serum which is perfect for anyone living in big cities.
For the evening, our serum is restoring and soothing made with bakuchiol which is the plant alternative to retinol. This makes it perfect for pregnant women and sensitive skin types. It’s only 1 percent so it’s gentle for everyone to use. The serum also contains squalene, which is moisturizing and feels like velvet on your skin. It also has amla and saffron which gives it this super luxurious scent, as the serum is otherwise fragrance-free. It adds glow and also acts as an exfoliant. And amla is the perfect superfood for all things anti-aging and radiance.
What is Ayurvedistry™?
It’s a term we coined and we also trademarked it. Ayurveda is the oldest life science — it’s been around for 5000 years and is still just as relevant today. Then we mix in chemistry, everything in our brand has a science-backed element. We mix Vitamin C and turmeric to give them potency. We take the best superfoods from our culture and combine them with cutting-edge chemistry, in a beautiful marriage creating our own skincare category Ayurvedistry™.
What’s next for you as a brand?
We’re jumping right into hair! We’re creating a beauty ecosystem and hair is something my followers are waiting for. My mom has the most amazing hair down to her knees and she’s almost 60. She’s an Ayurvedic doctor and has all these secrets and recipes that she’s perfected over the years. She’s itching to bring them into the world. I can already see the launch video with my mom with her hair flowing giving me a scalp massage with my hair flowing in a spa-like setting. After that we have a patented SPF dropping specially formulated for women of color, done in a way that hasn’t been done before. Of course, there’s zero white cast and the way it feels on skin is going to change the game.
What advice do you have for women of color looking to launch a beauty brand?
Do it now, this is the best time there’s ever been. Representation is such a huge deal now and people want to see themselves in brands, advertisements, and magazines. Another piece of advice is, you’re going to learn so much, so learn as you go. I say that I got an MBA the last two years. It’s the perfect moment for everyone to thrive.