Women in Wellness: Honouring your cultural roots with Michelle Ranavat from Ranavat Botanics

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle Ranavat, the founder of Ranavat Botanics

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“Since I started working on my own social I’ve seen my engagement and sales go up much faster as a result — and most importantly — I’m communicating and hearing from the customer myself and that makes me the happiest!”

Michelle Ravanat

I believe that people are here in order to make a bigger impact in the world — and with my book, ‘Make an Impact’, I had the chance to prove that hundreds of people are using their influence to improve other people’s lives.

As the founder of the Health Bloggers Community, my mission is to support people with growing their passion into a business — and so many women are building businesses empires all over the world.

This series is a chance to spotlight some of these women.

Michelle Ravanat created a skincare line to honor her roots as a first generation Indian American- using the luxurious treatments the Kings and Queens of India one used as inspiration. Michelle was recently named as one of Vogue India’s “50 Most Influential Global Indians” and a “Must Follow” by Bustle.

Hello Michelle, thank you for joining us! Could you please share with us when it all began?

I grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee Wisconsin where being Indian was not very common. Always self-conscious about my Indian culture, I chose to hide it from my friend’s at school. As I grew older, I felt a need to create more awareness around Indian culture and the importance of self-care. In school I studied engineering (I have a masters in Engineering Management), and used my science background to develop the line in a way that would highlight botanical ingredients and share their power to unveil beautiful skin!

Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

  1. SLEEP. I know, we often think that being an entrepreneur, mom or successful person means we don’t need to sleep. The reality is we are more efficient and perform way better on a good night’s rest. A key step to ensure good sleep is setting an arbitrary “end” to the work day and also putting your devices away from where you sleep to avoid the temptation of picking up your phone at night.
  2. Clean Beauty. I hear of a lot of people thinking that clean beauty is ok when we are younger but people “need chemicals” to help with aging. That is not true at all. In fact, it is more important as we age to use quality ingredients. Many fillers actually trap dirt into the skin causing irritation and acne. Eliminating fillers is a great way to see how beautiful your skin can be.
  3. Morning Ritual. Getting a good start to the day is essential to leading a productive and healthy life. A nice cup of Illuminate Tea, a trip to my favorite workout (Platefit), and dropping my kids to school is the way I love starting my morning. When I’m in the car I love listening to motivational podcasts: Dream Big by Diana Madison, On Purpose by Jay Shetty are two of my current favorites.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

When I was launching Ranavat it was in the middle of the summer heat here in LA and I was waiting on my final ingredient so I could have my product ready in time for the trade show. I had already pre-paid so not having a product was NOT an option. Turns out there was a huge snowstorm in New Zealand and it took 3 days of constant work to navigate my manuka honey out rural New Zealand! It ended up being a great learning experience- but I’m hoping I won’t experience it again.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One of the biggest mistakes was to outsource my social media to an agency. At the time I was small, didn’t have an audience so it seemed easiest to give my social to an expert so I could have time to focus on my product. The reality is- while it saved me some time, I missed out on a genuine opportunity to connect with my community. Since I started working on my own social I’ve seen my engagement and sales go up much faster as a result — and most importantly — I’m communicating and hearing from the customer myself and that makes me the happiest!

When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Since Ranavat started as a mission to take adversity and turn it into empowerment- I have started a platform: Claim Your Crown. Through this platform, we profile stories on overcoming adversity and also donate 2% of proceeds to rescue foundation- a foundation in India that rescues girls from human trafficking in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My friend Ami Desai has been a huge inspiration and supporter. She is a mom of 2, makeup artist and influencer that does an incredible job of teaching her children the importance of retaining our Indian culture. When I first came up with the idea for Ranavat, Ami encouraged me and even flew out to NYC to help launch the business on our first day!

Stella Simona is another friend I truly adore. She has a beautiful Jewelry line Haati Chai — and has the most humble, down to earth and supportive person I have met. She took time out of her busy day to help me with my branding, and when we spend time together I really feel her support and know she believes in me. If there’s a time where I’m experiencing self-doubt she’s someone that will remind me to stay in my own lane and embrace my path.

“It takes a long time to build a business and constant re-investment of revenues to grow. You need the patience to persevere through that part of the business.”

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I feel that Ranavat IS that movement. It’s sharing the beauty of these ancient treatments once used by Kings and Queens and sharing them with the world. These long-forgotten elixirs and potions are brought back to life and the feeling they give us is just so beautiful. We feel transported to a relaxed state of mind, where wellness and self-care are paramount.

What is your “3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Be ready for Financial Instability — it takes a long time to build a business and constant re-investment of revenues to grow. You need patience to persevere through that part of the business.

Call your mom every day- I didn’t realize how isolating starting a business can be. I lean on my family and husband for support because you need someone to share the highs and lows with!

Network — I have always been a person that loves networking- but after being in the business for 2 years I can really see how it has changed my trajectory. It’s not about being “fake” or “businesslike” — networking just means make friends and build genuine relationships. You never know- you might be able to help someone or vice versa!

Do you have a “girl-crush” in this industry? If you could take one person to brunch, who would it be?

It would absolutely be Radhi Shetty (@veggieveganveda). She’s an incredibly talented and gifted vegan chef and a very positive and humble human being. I feed off of her positivity and she provides so many of us with daily inspiration!

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

So much of what we do with “Claim Your Crown” hits on all of these aspects. To me, I believe these are all part of our conversation and doing little micro steps can provide the most impact. Beauty Heroes and the work Jeannie Jarnot does to bring awareness to this topic is inspiring. She once said: “We don’t need 1 person to do a lot- we just need a lot of us to do a little”. Small, achievable micro-changes are what we all need to help to lead a happier, healthier, more sustainable life!

Are you looking to connect with Michelle? Make sure to follow @ranavat on Instagram

About the author:

Fab Giovanetti is a business mentor, published author, influencer-specialist, best known as the founder of the Health Bloggers Community and co-founder of the Register of Health and Wellness Influencers. Serial start-up founder and professional troublemaker, she is obsessed with avocados and helping people making an impact in health and wellness. Sounds like you? Get daily tips on how to grow your influence via the HBC magazine.

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