Ananya is the Founder and Chief Everything Officer @ Type Beauty Inc., a cosmetic company that merges makeup and skincare offering products rooted in dermatological science.
In a conversation with AboutHer, she spoke about her life, her brand, the journey she has had so far and what it takes for a young women entrepreneur to succeed in a man’s world.
Children learn what they see, so parents must always be mindful of what they portray in front of their children. How parents behave and conduct themselves affects how children turn out. Children may not react, but they absorb it all. These truths of life find proof in Ananya’s life. Her interaction with AboutHer proved this, helping us discover different facets of her life and personality and revealing how she became what she is today. Ananya shared several incidents and anecdotes of her life with us.
Born into a family of entrepreneurs, while growing up, she saw that everyone around her was ambitious, driven and working towards making a success of their ventures. The men and the women, including her mother, were work focused. They all had careers and went out to work, so she grew up believing that we all must have an occupation that makes us independent and self-sufficient.
When she looks back on her childhood, she remembers how it was normal for her parents to come back from work and discuss their day and work. These discussions were family conversations that the children were a part of. Though the children may not have been able to contribute much, they learnt a lot from those interactions. They learnt to be a family where each could discuss the highs and lows, successes and failures, without inhibitions. It created a bond and a space which let everyone feel secure and comfortable. These interactions had a considerable impact on the impressionable mind of young Ananya and sowed the seed of her dream, which today is a reality. She soaked up what her parents shared to get inspired in a big way. And today, she is a part of those conversations not as a listener but as an active participant. She feels that the environment she grew up in was probably the best.
While she imbibed a lot from the family environment, she also grew up to be someone with a mind of her own. There was this streak of rebellion in her which made her do things that she wanted to and not bow down to any pressure from family or peers. So therefore, when it was time for her to go to college, she chose a subject like Chemistry which her dad felt was unnecessarily challenging, but Ananya stuck to her guns. Though she wasn’t sure what she would do with her knowledge of Chemistry, she knew she wanted to study the subject. So off she went to Carnegie Mellon to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry.
As they say, ‘Fortune favours the bold’.
Today Ananya is using her Chemistry knowledge to develop her products in the lab, and her mastery over the process behind how her products are made gives her that edge. She feels that her rebellious nature, having a mind of her own and being able to use it, has helped her get where she is today and where she wanted to be.
After she returned from college, she had the option to join any of the existing family businesses. Still, again the independent streak in her made her decide to start her cosmetic company because she knew exactly what she wanted to do. Her vision, the clarity helped her take this decision.
However, deciding to enter the makeup industry was not like an overnight whim. The decision was taken after a lot of thought and consideration.
How Type Her Brand was Born ?
As a young girl, Ananya was not really into makeup, but college in the US changed that. Her friends and the availability of several brands around her piqued her interest in makeup. But while most girls around her were interested in learning the art of applying makeup, she got interested in how it was made; she wanted to understand what went behind how a makeup product looked and felt and what it could do for people. All this fascinated her, and she wanted to dig deep.
This was the time when the world was battling with Covid. This meant that Ananya had to return to India while still in college. But rather than whiling away her time, she decided to make the most of it and explore the area that so fascinated her. So she started experimenting in her kitchen to see how she could develop different products. The underlying desire was to make products suited to people’s needs and skin types.
She considered going into the skin care space but decided against it as she felt that there were too many players, and the market was saturated. She wanted to do something different that nobody else was doing. She tried to make products that, while making the user look good, would also care for their skin. So she experimented with different concoctions spending long hours sourcing ingredients from local suppliers and coming up with different kinds of products, which she would then send to her friends for them to try and give their feedback. The feedback was positive, to her delight; people loved her products, which is how Type- her brand was born. It is called Type because it gives every customer a product that suits their requirement and skin type. The company customises products based on people’s skin concerns.
Ananya believes that makeup gives you the confidence to face anything and everything. You wear that lipstick, and you are ready to face the world.
Challenges She Faced
So while she got to choose what she wanted to do, Ananya’s journey has not been without challenges. The first challenge, which she accepted happily, was that she was thrown into the deep end once she decided to follow her passion. Her family was there to support her in every possible way, but the venture was her baby, and she had to figure out how to run it. So she had to take on the reins independently. And being the kind of person she is, confident and ready to take on challenges, she more than rose to the occasion.
But more than that, what she had to face as a young woman entrepreneur sometimes frustrated her, sometimes irritated her, and at others made her wonder at the unfairness of it all. She feels that her age and her gender meant that several times people did not take her seriously. So they either ignored her or refused to do what she wanted them to do. Her suppliers, for instance, would not take her seriously and lie to her about deliveries, leaving her discouraged and frustrated.
But as they say, ‘God helps those who help themselves’.
Ananya, the go-getter she is, chose a smart way to get out of such tricky situations. Rather than beat herself up over these experiences and try to handle them independently, she decided to act smart. She delegated this part of her work to her team members, who were older and more experienced and knew how to deal with people with such mindsets. The result was that she was able to get her work done.
She believes our society has yet to evolve to accept young women at the helm of affairs, but one must be practical about the situation. So rather than trying to break the barriers, a better way sometimes is to circumvent them and get your work done.
Besides that, her business is such that she has to deal with people from other countries, which means getting used to their culture and language. Though a daunting prospect, she feels one should look at the positive side and focus on learning from such experiences and interactions.
Balancing Work and Social Life
Ananya comes across as a balanced and sorted person who knows when to do what. Though ambitious and driven, she likes socialising and spending time with her friends like anyone her age. But being the organised person she is, she balances her work and social life by restricting the social part to the weekends and focusing on her work during weekdays.
She believes that her weekends with friends give her a break from work, enabling her to get to Monday morning fresh and rejuvenated. She also feels that while young, one can push oneself to the limits to fulfil one’s dreams. Therefore while friends and partying are necessary, one cannot lose time; one needs to remain focused.
Ananya is a driven and ambitious young girl who loves her work and has big dreams. She wants to make her brand bigger and stronger, having a presence in different parts of the world in the future. She feels that being planned and organised will help her immensely in this endeavour.
For her, the biggest success of her life at this age is that she could make her dreams come true and build her brand. Not only has she managed to build it, but it is becoming bigger by the day in terms of the number of products they offer and its market presence.
Moreover, she is being recognised for her work by big names. Type has been featured in publications like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Grazia and Bizarre, and she has also been recognised as one of the 100 emerging women leaders by yourstory.com.
But more than anything else the fact that her customers love her brand means the most to her.
When Things Go Wrong
Though she loves her work and is passionate about it, there are days when she does feel down and out. Those are the days when things are not going the right way or not moving at all despite all the effort. But when that happens, her positive bent of mind helps her take on the challenge and push herself. She also has a bunch of friends who are also entrepreneurs and who can relate to her woes. She says sharing her worries with them on such days helps her stay on the path.
Other than that, she feels that if one is well-planned and does not overwork, one can stay motivated most of the time. Working without a break can take a toll on one’s health, which could be hugely demotivating. Therefore she feels taking a break or going on a holiday can help one cope by infusing freshness and energy. But again the holidays have to be well-planned so as not to affect work.
She also feels that going on holidays is a great way to think and innovate. Since the mind space is free, one can get fresh and new ideas, which can help in a big way.
Learnings from Her Journey
Her experience has taught her that very often, things don’t work out as per our plans. Unforeseen circumstances and emergencies can thwart the best-laid plans, but rather than fretting over that, one should provide for such happenings. While planning, one should build a buffer for such contingencies.
So rather than circumstances or unforeseen contingencies controlling you, you should be the one to control everything. Be organised, and be systematic, but at the same time, be practical.
Successful Women and the World
Her response surprised us when asked how the world takes to a successful woman. Today when times are changing, and there are many more women in the workspace, one would have expected her response to be slightly different from those older than her. But surprisingly, it was pretty similar.
She feels that how people react depends on their background and generation, and while friends and family are generally supportive many others are not.
She feels that while everyone needs to balance work and family, the expectations from women are still higher. A woman is expected to sacrifice a lot more than a man. Society still has that patriarchal element where a woman is still the one to handle the homefront. People still expect a woman to balance their work lives with their families, which is not the same for a man. She has been asked questions like whether she would be able to carry on with her business once she gets married. So though change has happened, is happening we still have a long way to go.
However, the future looks bright with more women breaking barriers and taboos. Also, she feels when women see other women succeeding in making something out of their lives, it inspires and motivates them. Therefore it is critical to have role models to inspire and motivate.
People’s Desire to Change Careers Mid-Way
Regarding why people are switching to different careers, she feels that we live in a world with much more awareness than before. There is so much information available on social media that anything that anyone wants to know is available at the click of a button. Also, today, there is a growing awareness about mental health and finding happiness. So if people are not happy with what they are doing, they know they have the option to change; it is not unheard of, and there are no taboos attached to it. People want to grow and evolve, and if they feel they can’t do it in their current jobs, they are willing to explore options.
Many young people nowadays have these side hustles which they pursue while doing their regular 9-5 thing. So all the information and the opportunity make people more adventurous and follow their passions.
Financial Independence and Women
Ananya feels that it is essential for girls to have careers and be financially independent. She thinks the future is uncertain; therefore, one should be able to fend for oneself if required.
However, knowing what one loves doing is equally important. She feels nobody should ideally do what they don’t like. But knowing that is not enough. Once you know what you want to do, gathering all possible information on that subject is vital to acquire expertise and command. She feels when one is young, one has all the time to follow one’s passion, but one has to be smart about it and not waste time. We live in a digital world where learning new skills or getting information is relatively easy. She feels mastery over the area one chooses to be in is essential.
She feels that for a woman to hold her head high, she needs independence. Not only for oneself but it is vital for the growth of the country and our economy. If the country has to progress, half the population cannot be left behind.
Also Read: 21 Self-Love Quotes
Time with Oneself
She also believes that while having your friends and family around is good, sometimes it is necessary to detach oneself for some peace of mind. Sometimes we need to give ourselves space and time out from others and be with ourselves. That time allows us to reflect and review things and situations which could be a great way to evolve and grow.
And Yes, according to her, a woman can have it all and more; there is no stopping her; one just needs to plan, schedule, structure oneself, and be smart about it.