Deepika Vyas

Courtesy of AVYA

Courtesy of AVYA

Age || 59

Company Name || AVYA SKINCARE

Job Title ||  CEO

Company Start Date ||2014

Years Living In New York || MOVING THERE JUNE 2019

Social Handles || @avyaskincare / @deepika.vyas

Company Website || AVYA SKINCARE

What did you want to be while growing up?

I really wanted to be a secretary — an executive assistant in today’s terms! My father had his own business and it fascinated me, but I did not believe at the time that women could be bosses!

What drew you to beauty?

I am drawn to beauty because I think it is such an important part of how you feel which in turn affects your self-confidence and that is the key to having a happy and productive life.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given when you were starting AVYA?

“You’ve been talking about it for years - just do it!”

How does AVYA fill a void in the market?

Historically, the legacy brands like Estee Lauder, L’Oreal etc. have been founded and developed by Caucasians. There have been some successful African-American brands like Carol’s Daughter and Ambi in skincare and Fenty Beauty for color cosmetics. In my opinion there is a whole spectrum of skin tones between white and black that have largely been ignored, especially in the luxury skincare segment — this is where we feel AVYA fills the void.

How do you define success?

I define success as making a difference in people’s lives by fulfilling an unmet need.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned since starting out?

The most important thing I have learned is to be nimble and make decisions quickly when things are not working out.

Courtesy of AVYA

Courtesy of AVYA

What is your go-to motivational quote?  

The Serenity Prayer - God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Do you have a personal motto?

“Life does not come with a menu” and “Put one foot in front of the other”

Which women inspire you?

Women who have had the courage to break barriers and have had resilience through tough times inspire me, like my mother, Rosa Parks, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Princess Diana, Indra Nooyi, Sheryl Sandberg.

How should brands be working to be more inclusive in their offerings?  

Brands should really be taking the time to understand all consumers and their cultures to be more inclusive, respectful and authentic, not just because everyone is doing it. Creating the same formulas or products and using different models for marketing is not sufficient any longer

How do you overcome moments of self-doubt?

I stop and think of what I have accomplished in the past.  I am also very spiritual so gratefulness and prayer keeps me grounded.

What is the hardest part about being your own boss?  

The hardest part for me is not being able to switch off and feeling the huge responsibility of running the business.

How do you handle situations where you feel overwhelmed?

I have an incredible team, so I share my concerns and always break things down to smaller action items. Also, I practice Pranayama - which is the breathing aspect of Yoga.

What can consumers expect when buying your products?

Consumers can expect unparalleled attention to detail and quality beginning from the packaging to the formulations — the luxurious experience of products that work creates an emotional connection to feel one’s own beauty, which we strive for.

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What has been the most rewarding thing since starting AVYA?

The most rewarding thing has been seeing and hearing how our products have cleared up people’s skin where they start to feel their inner beauty and self. Also, when I have been speaking at events, it has been very powerful for me to see the gratitude in people’s eyes for what we are doing with our brand AVYA. I feel like I have opened a Pandora’s box and voicing so many long-ignored feelings!

How has your background helped you with creating AVYA?

I have been very fortunate to have experienced living in different countries among different people and that has helped me to have a deep understanding and respect for different cultures and races.  I have been able to apply this in creating AVYA.

How have you worked to keep female empowerment at the core of your work?

We have worked to keep empowerment at the core by having “unconditional” as a key word in our communications, and also focusing on that in our marketing and events.

What advice would you give to other women trying to enter your field?

I would advise them to really do their homework since it is a very competitive field and there are still the behemoths of the industry.  However, once they have identified a real need, then they should have razor sharp focus and follow their dreams.

What are some of your goals moving forward for AVYA?  

Some of our goals are continuing to build brand awareness for which we are bringing on a digital media partner. We are also hoping to do more events like the successful LIVELY event we had so we can keep engaging with our consumers.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Sarah Fielding