A brand inspired by the ancient beauty rituals of India

A brand inspired by the ancient beauty rituals of India

Shop Small is a fortnightly series highlighting small business owners from various origins. This series aims to go beyond your typical product roundup, diving into the inspiring stories behind some of our favorite brands. Taking a behind-the-scenes look at how their stores came to be and highlighting the products they (and their shoppers!) love, we hope to put a well-deserved spotlight on these marginalized entrepreneurs.


As a first-generation Native American who grew up in Wisconsin, Michelle Ranavat felt different about following Indian self-care rituals, like oiling her hair. She hoped that when she started RANAVAT in 2017, their products would educate others about Indian culture and inspire them to embrace ancient philosophies.

Fast forward to last year, RANAVAT became the first Ayurvedic skincare brand founded in South Asia in Launch at Sephora — a milestone that Ranavat hopes will “pave the way for greater diversity and cultural inclusion” in the beauty industry. The brand is also available at retailers, including NeimanMarcus, blue mercury Y Amazon.

“In the beginning, it was really hard not to be aware of the Ayurvedic philosophy,” a belief that wellness is based on the balance between our mind, body, and spirit. Instead of treating a single symptom or indicator of disease, philosophy (developed over 3,000 years ago in India) seeks to understand the root cause of a problem.

Growing up with that Ayurvedic philosophy, I realized that overall self-care is critical and RANAVAT aligns with that philosophy of making sure we’re balanced as a whole,” she says. “You can use the most amazing serums in the world, but If you’re super stressed, you can still have stress flares.”

skin care bottles on a glass table with flowers around

RANAVAT’s best-selling products are available at deluxe miniaturesso you can try the lower priced formulas, starting at $15.
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The beauty of RANAVAT products

The skincare line is defined by quality ingredients sourced from India, such as turmeric, papaya enzyme, sesame seeds, bakuchi seeds, and saffron, which also happens to be the most expensive spice in the world. world. Reproducing ancient techniques, Ayurvedic oils are infused with herbs in large copper pots and shaken by hand. Meanwhile, the whole bakuchi seeds go through a decoction process that lasts about 10 days “to keep the product as effective as possible and as close to the authentic formulation as possible.”

“We are for the customer who is really intentional about their purchases and wants to invest in ingredients,” says Ranavat. “By the way, we don’t have a ton of overlap in our offerings, because I think one well-made super whey can replace 10.”

Ranavat hopes to show that there is a science rooted in Indian rituals. “A lot of people assume that if you’re talking about old science, we may not have clinical trials, but we do.” Case in point: In an independent clinical study, 100% of 32 subjects demonstrated a significant reduction in fine lines and wrinkles after four weeks of using the Saffron Illuminating Serum.

Bakuchi Renewing Cream

Bakuchi Renewing Cream
Credit: RANAVAT

Jasmine Moisturizing Mist

Jasmine Moisturizing Mist
Credit: RANAVAT

Sacred Rose Hand Cream

RANAVAT Holy Rose Hand Cream

Hair Fortifying Serum

Hair Fortifying Serum
Credit: RANAVAT

the jeweler

the jeweler
Credit: RANAVAT

Balancing Cleansing Cream

Balancing Cleansing Cream
Credit: RANAVAT

How it started

Growing up, Ranavat spent summers helping his father in his pharmaceutical warehouse, furthering his love of science and his entrepreneurial drive. “The journey is something that started very authentically for me,” she says. “A lot of the entrepreneurial spirit comes from watching my dad start his company. I saw him build a business in the basement of our house, and that always made a big impression on me.”

Later in her life, Ranavat reconnected with Ayurvedic tonics, recipes and strategies as they had a profound impact on her during childbirth and postpartum recovery. “That’s when I really started digging again,” she says. “When I had my kids, I started noticing all these changes, like postpartum hair loss, plus when I was in my 30s, I definitely noticed a change in my skin. That’s when I started asking questions like, ‘What did the girls do? people before me?’?”

ranavat skin care products in front of the pink curtain

“Our products are incredibly luxurious, from the packaging to the scents to the experience,” says Ranavat.

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As an entrepreneur, you have learned:

  • “Go ahead and focus on your ‘why.’ I don’t put time limits on my goals. If my goal was something like ‘I have to throw myself into Sephora,’ I probably would have given up a long time ago, because that didn’t happen for five years.”
  • “Mentorship is incredibly criticalespecially aIt’s someone entering a new industry. I was looking for them, it wasn’t like people were knocking on my door in any way.”
  • “Invest in the team you build. As with our products, we do not put any ingredients into our equipment; we have to make sure it’s the right one and the right person.”

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