Luxury beauty startup AVYA Skincare is bringing traditional ingredients from India to consumers with the help of leading-edge microencapsulation technology. The brand is meant to meet the needs of skin care consumers across generations and ethnic backgrounds with (and without) sensitive skin. Here founders Deepika Vyas and Dr. Tanuj Nakra share a profile of themselves and the brand.
Name: Deepika Vyas, CEO and Co-Founder and Dr. Tanuj Nakra, Head of Product and Co-Founder
Indie Beauty Company: AVYA Skincare
Launched: January 2018
Headquarters: Austin, Texas
Cashflow: AVYA Skincare is a self-funded company. Currently beginning a friends and family round of funding.
In our launch year of 2018, we received a large order with a subscription box company and within 8 months, we had tallied hundreds of orders on our website. And in 2020, after building a team of amazing part-time employees, we were able to hire our first full-time employee.
Indie how? Indie brands think outside of the box when meeting the demands of consumers, listening to their needs and creating innovative, authentic solutions with a no compromise approach.
Bigger brands need to follow a lot of red tape when developing products; indie brands on the other hand can react quickly, setting the trends while others are trying to catch up.
At AVYA Skincare, we are creating a movement, becoming leaders in the In-Beauty movement delivering Advanced Ayurvedic Skincare that is rooted in traditions from India and elevated by advanced medical science.
Teamwork: 2 full-time and 7 part-time
Distribution: Currently, AVYA Skincare is sold direct-to-consumer, available on avyaskincare.com. The brand is also sold on Macys.com and is included as part of Amazon’s luxury division. AVYA Skincare is also a featured line at medical clinics in Austin, Texas.
Years in beauty:
Deepika Vyas has 9 years in the beauty industry and 10 years in the pharmaceutical industry
Dr. Tanuj Nakra has been a physician for 20 years and a facial cosmetic surgeon for 15 years
Years at AVYA Skincare: We first conceived of a medical-grade / Ayurvedic skincare line in 2012, and AVYA Skincare began R&D in 2016.
Entrepreneurial experience: In addition to my pharmaceutical experience, says Vyas, I have entrepreneurial experience within the technology industry. I founded an IT consulting company called EPS technology in 2000. Then in 2003, founded Mobile Armor, a cyber security company, which I sold to Trend Micro Inc. in 2011.
The business: Rooted in ancient Ayurvedic traditions from India and elevated by the latest advancements in technology, AVYA is a leader in multicultural beauty and is founded on the belief that high-quality skincare should be experienced and enjoyed by all, says Vyas, adding that AVYA Skincare was born first and foremost to fill a personal need that I had. For years, I struggled to find quality, premium skincare products that address skin aging, but are also suited for sensitive skin types.
And Nakra explains that AVYA Skincare harnesses the healing and anti-inflammatory powers of traditional Ayurvedic ingredients used for centuries to help heal and repair skin including turmeric, peony and neem.
With its proprietary microencapsulation technique, he says, AVYA Skincare effectively blends these Ayurvedic nutrient-rich dynamic botanicals with powerful proven ingredients from beauty molecular science. The result? Medical-grade luxurious formulas with high concentrations of active ingredients that protect, rejuvenate and boost the radiance of all skin tones.
The wow-factor: AVYA Skincare is a truly unique brand in that it effectively blends ancient Ayurvedic ingredients with modern science to create efficacious products with a luxurious feel and texture, says Vyas.
We created products with a no compromise approach, adds Nakra. And he says, our goal has always been to create the best products, which is why our formulations contain premium quality, carefully selected ingredients with high level concentration levels more aligned with professional products found only in a physician’s office. With the microencapsulation technology, we were able to blend complex botanicals and modern science to create medical grade products openly available to consumers everywhere
The consumer: Our target age demographic is 25 to 65. AVYA Skincare is designed to optimize all skin tones. The target consumer enjoys luxury skincare products and desires medical-grade efficacy to provide real results. Suitable for people who have sensitive skin conditions, are experiencing inflammation or have a compromised skin barrier. AVYA can be used on all skin types and conditions.
Milestone moment: After a four-year journey formulating the products, working with three manufacturers, and testing hundreds of samples, we are so happy and proud with the result. Being one of the first cosmetic companies to incorporate microencapsulation technology to stabilize complex
product formulations was exciting for us and a huge milestone in achieving our unique formulas that feature technology previously used in the pharmaceutical industry, says Vyas.
AVYA Skincare has also been enjoyed by countless beauty editors, influencers and celebrities, and we are so grateful for the support we’ve received from them. In 2019, Gabrielle Union and Mindy Kaling promoted their use of AVYA Skincare just before stepping out on the red carpet, which was very exciting, adds Vyas.
Getting our brand messaging right has been a journey, but we are so happy with where we are today, says Nakra. It took some time for us to sharpen our message, effectively communicate and share who we are as a brand. A little trial and error in the beginning, but the journey has helped us figure out who we are as a company. We are excited to bring AVYA to even more people in the future!
Advice for fellow beauty entrepreneurs: Vyas cautions that, the road to entrepreneurship is a long one, so be prepared for it. It can take up to five years before you can begin to break even, so do not go into it just for the money, it has to come from a place of passion and love for what you do.
It is a journey, but the mistakes are just as important as the wins because they helps us learn, evolve and grow. I would also recommend that entrepreneurs starting in the beauty industry really need to have a good understanding of the digital ecosystem and all of the resources that are available today.
Lastly, she says, it’s important to be open minded and nimble, understand how to pivot when things are not working.
Nakra advises entrepreneurs to Focus on the integrity and quality of your product first and foremost. It’s so important to get the formulations right before you launch. Ensure you can stand behind your product. Don’t cut corners in product development.
Just one: Asked about their go-to products, Vyas says that The most essential step in my skincare routine is cleansing, which is why using a gentle, nonfoaming cleanser that does not strip skin’s barrier is so important to me. I always recommend using a cleanser that both cleanses and hydrates skin. I’m so proud of the formulation we developed in our Gentle Cleanser.
Nakra recommends that all his patients use a vitamin C serum daily - it's one of the most important active ingredients that can truly do it all: prevention, rejuvenation, and real improvements in skin tone, he says.
Our AVYA Anti-Aging Power Serum is filled with microencapsulated pure vitamin C, antioxidants, peptides and key botanical extracts that may be used on any skin type or condition, even the most sensitive skin.