We love entrepreneurs and appreciate how much work, dedication, and passion it takes to grow any brand. Especially, when they are a local beauty company run by four women of colour, three siblings and one childhood friend, (‘all sisters by any measure’ according to their web site), who are brave enough to go head to head against some of the world’s largest cosmetics brands like, P & G, Johnson & Johnson’s, and L’Oreal, just to name a few.
Vasanti Cosmetics, which means ‘of spring’, in Sanskrit was created when these sisters found that the cosmetics being marketed to them, were not made for them. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, they naturally started their own business with a simple formula. They were driven to create a brand that inspired to make beauty inclusive, accessible, and inspiring. Their line of cosmetics and skincare was designed to ensure that their client’s natural beauty shined through with weightless products and great colour selections.
Vasanti was created by women,for women with their motto: Beautiful. Confident. True.
Q: Best of Toronto:
We saw your line at our local Shoppers Drug Mart and what drew us to it was the packaging and the colour selection. It’s interesting to see a line with so many tones, so we read up on your story, and really like what you’ve done with your brand.
It seems your story and product was created because you saw a need for cosmetics for women of colour from your own personal story. We also read an article about how Pinki Gosal, one of your founders, was told to ‘get her some concealer’ by her employer in Chicago. I’m sure this was infuriating, but apparently this helped create Vasanti back in 1999.
As women of colour, what are the most common complaints you hear from other women of colour? And how do you see Vasanti’s role in the cultural consumer revolution movement?
What we hear time and time again is that “Makeup just doesn’t look good on me”. And it is mainly due to women not being able to find the right shades to complement their skintone.
We believe that all women should have options to choose from and feel comfortable and beautiful in their own skin regardless of skintone. We’ve been doing this for about 18 years and we’ve had a lot of support from not only the South Asian community but from many different cultures as well. We believe we have been able to continuously grow because of this support and growing consumer demand. Many of our customers have expressed their appreciation for our brand existing. This is one of the most motivating factors that has kept us going. And we feel so lucky to be a part of this movement.
Q: Best of Toronto
As you know, working with family can be difficult, let alone friends. Some say friends and business should never be mixed. At what point did you everyone decide to really join Vasanti full time, and become full time entrepreneurs? What are some of your challenges you face working as friends and family? Any advice to our readers on how keep your sanity, friendship/relationship in an extremely competitive field?
Its actually taken awhile for all of us (four) to join fulltime, we finally accomplished this 2015.
We are a group of opinionated and expressive women and its not always easy but we all value our relationships with each other. We never let our business disagreements get in the way of our personal relationships because we believe in open communication and don’t let conflicts last long……having the weekends away from each other helps! ☺
Q: Best of Toronto
Vasanti has had great success with the South Asian Community, and your brand has had an ability to expand Canada’s unique niche markets because, you recognized diversity. That’s something a lot of international brands like Cover Girl, are just catching onto now, so Vasanti really are trailblazers in this industry.
Your products are designed for a wide range of skin colours. For example, when you removed the titanium dioxide in your foundations, you eliminated the powdery, ashy finish women of colour hated in traditional cosmetic lines. Now, where would you like to see Vasaniti in 5 years?
Thank you, yes, we have definitely spent the last 18 years putting our hearts and souls into developing the most innovative formulations in makeup and skincare. We will definitely continue on this track with even more high performance products but with a stronger emphasis on letting more women know more about the products and how to use them. The thoughtfulness that has gone into the products are based on developing products for our own sisters. We want to extend this by sharing the gift of sisterhood. We want every women to see themselves through the eyes of those who love them. We have been blessed to feel beautiful and truly attribute that to those wonderful women around us that have supported us and make us feel beautiful.
Q: Best of Toronto
With the constantly changing trends in make-up, we have seen the ‘90s trend that the Kardashians have been promoting for several seasons now, with the full eye brow, heavy contour (aka too much make-up for most women), and full nude or dark lips.
Where would you like to see the make-up trend go? Also, any new products or skincare items that our Best of Toronto readers need to get now?
There will always be trends that the runway or the celebrities are promoting. What Vasanti does is the concept of “trends translated” into wearable looks for the everyday women. We take for example contouring trend and give our customers the ability to use their bronzer and do a few extra swipes of colour just under the cheekbone that gives them a more subtle contoured look or highlight using our super wearable formula to apply along the top of the cheek and on the bridge of the nose.
We believe great looking makeup starts with great high performance skincare. Our hero product “Brighten Up! Exfoliator” helps smooth the skin and brighten the complexion to allow for a great makeup application. One of our newest products “Brighten Up! Moisturizer” truly works in synergy with the exfoliator and definitely a must have for great looking skin and what the Best of Toronto readers need to know about!
Q: Best of Toronto
We love that you are proudly made in Canada, and with Canada’s 150th Anniversary coming up, we are excited to feature Vasanti. Your company celebrates Canada’s rich cultural diversity by allowing everyone’s natural beauty to shine. Your story is what true Canadian success is about.
Now, do you have any words of wisdom for up and coming entrepreneurs? Also, if you can tell your 1999 self-something, what would be your words of advice, and would you have done things differently?
To up and coming entrepreneurs, we should say that if you have a dream of starting your own business – you should just go for it, but be smart about it. You don’t have to mortgage up your home, put all of your life savings in to your idea or even quit your job right away. We all had full time jobs when we started Vasanti and took things very slow in the beginning. Also, talk to people about your idea, make sure that other people understand what it is that you are trying to do. A support system is crucial and you will be surprised at how many people (outside of just family and friends) that will be willing to help out and guide you through your journey.
Q: Best of Toronto
Also, if you can tell your 1999 self-something, what would be your words of advice, and would you have done things differently?
Don’t be afraid of failure – learn quickly and don’t wallow in it. Failures are stepping stones to better understanding yourself and your business. Success does not happen overnight and there are no magic answers. We can surely look back and say that there were certain initiatives or products that we should not have gotten involved with or created, but then again everything we have done has gotten us to where we are today.
For more info about Vasanti visit vasanticosmetics.com
Photo courtesy of Vasanti