In Conversation With Avani Shantanu dixit
Tell us about your journey as an Entrepreneur. I want to start by saying that it burst my tiny little bubble of the idea that I can dress up like a boss babe, give clear orders and then as a result I’ll have a big company to run. Fortunately, I do have a big company, indeed two to run but it demands me to act like anything but a boss sitting on a comfy chair. It requires me to be highly adaptable and always be on a learners stage acquiring new skill sets . Within 5 months of starting my company in India, I started another one in UAE . So now it’s like I have 2 children who are completely different , with totally different needs and requirements. So the moral of my entrepreneurial journey is that if it is your dream then you will have to work the hardest with least expectations and utmost patience and with the acceptance that you will be rewarded the last. At no point , you can use your age or your gender or anything else as an excuse to not do what must be done. Coming to the more factual parts , I started working at the age of 16 , I was and still am coordinator of a pan India NGO where I would teach in Government schools , organise plantation driver , setup blood donation camps , cultural events and much more. In addition to this my mother made me take tuitions to work on my temperament and patience, yeah I had quite a temperament. Then when I finished school , I had good 6 months before I’d start with collage so I got the opportunity to start a fashion studio , and it was then that I came across the concept of styling and realised that I enjoyed it more than designing , so I joined style coaching institute, London . I believe my qualification in Image Consultancy and Styling helped me land an internship at Ami Patel . God bless my timing , I got the opportunity to be a part of some of India’s biggest styling assignments with Isha Ambani , Priyanka Chopra , Katrina Kaif and the list is long. For 2 years I worked in Mumbai as a celebrity stylist , and it was after my wedding in December, 2020 that I got the itch to start my own cosmetic company.
Tell us when and how did you decide to start Avanii Cosmetics? Honestly it was very random , it was not a childhood dream or anything , however I have always been very passionate about creating a brand but awkwardly I didn’t know of what . So I started thinking of what matters to me the most - Beauty it was ! Secondly , I wanted to create a beauty line that is simply from a consumers perspective like I always make decisions seeing myself as a consumer and not the owner of the company and that is how we got our value points - Clean , Multifunction, inclusive and practical. This is important to me cause if you will pay heed you will see that most of the cosmetic brands are founded by makeup junkies , professional makeup artists or celebrities whose lifestyle and expectations from a cosmetic brand differs quite significantly from people like us who are working class , entrepreneurs , students, or general public, our lifestyles don’t allow us to have 10 step skin care routine or 5 layer make up look, it’s just unrealistic and near to impossible for us to be consistent with it.
What is special about Avanii ? There are various things we take pride in, but quality has to be on top of that list. I’m very conscious about what goes in my products I don’t and will never take even a slightest chance with the Ingredients. During the product development stage, I tried all the products on myself and my family members - mother , husband, father-in-law, sisters, etc . Purpose of this was to get honest first hand feedback from people of different age, gender, skin types. So, what’s special about it is that we are genuinely clean and the term “clean” is not just a marketing word for us. Next on our pride list is “ multi-functionality” of our products as we don’t want people to spend unnecessary time on grooming cause I personally would never do that even though I’m big on skin care routine .And then of course we are PRACTICAL , meaning consumer-centric and INCLUSIVE .
Which are your personal favourite products from Avanii ? Well that’s a very tough question , but if I have to choose then it would be our AVANII gold and collagen hydrogel eye mask because it allows me to work to my limits , like late nights , too little sleep , very frequent travelling , I’m always on the go. These eye masks keep not only my under eyes but my whole face illuminated and fresh. Yes, you heard me right , our eye mask is multifunctional and can be used all over the face . It gives me that boost of confidence , keeps my self-esteem on point and thus makes me feel powerful and assured.
Are Avani products clean? Yes , we are proudly Sephora Clean. Honestly , it took in a lot of work to create a Clean product. Initially I wanted these patches to have colour in them like blue or yellow to compliment the theme of the brand but we had to drop the idea to make it clean , which is our top most priority and is non-negotiable. What are your plans for India and UAE? Well my plans are global in nature ( please understand my humour here) but reason I started with these two countries is because it’s home and I feel more confident and secured working here. And I’m sure that these countries are just the beginning and we are already operating as a global company so that we are able to cater to every person on this planet . That’s how INCLUSIVE we aim to be, not just with the genders but also with ethnicity.
How would you define success for you ? I’m very clear about this, If I’m able to inspire or motivate people to have a better life professionally , personally , physically and mentally , then I’d consider myself to be a success . I want my journey to be a source of hope for people . I want them to look at me and say that “if she can do it , so can I” What has been your pinch-me moment this year ? My story was featured in India Today and of course To be on the cover of Luxpresso Magazine, I feel honoured and super excited about it .