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Radiance & Resilience: An Inside Look at Anara Skincare with Founder Arati Nar

Welcome to an inspiring journey into the world of skincare with Arati Nar, the visionary founder behind Anara Skincare.

Welcome to an inspiring journey into the world of skincare with Arati Nar, the visionary founder behind Anara Skincare.

In this exclusive interview, we delve into the transformative story behind the brand, exploring Arati’s passion for self-care, sustainability, and inclusivity. From her entrepreneurial spirit nurtured in the fast-paced startup scene to her heartfelt dedication to crafting luxurious yet natural skincare solutions, Arati shares the challenges, triumphs, and invaluable insights gained along the way.

Join us as we uncover the radiant ethos driving Anara Skincare and discover how Arati’s unwavering commitment to excellence is leaving a lasting mark on the beauty industry…

What inspired your transition from the fast-paced world of startups like Ocado to the serene realm of skincare with Anara?

Launching my own skincare brand has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager. Everything about a beautiful skincare routine delights me. It’s been a consistent feel-good part of my life and my 5 minutes of calm at the start and end of each day. When my skin is nourished, healthy, and looking radiant, I feel set to take on the day. It’s this feeling of calm and empowerment that I wanted to share with the world.

Working for such a wonderfully inspiring startup taught me so much about launching a customer-centric business based on honesty and integrity, and in many ways, my time at Ocado gave me the courage to take this path forward to starting my own business.

Could you share some insights into the holistic ethos of self-care that underpins Anara Skincare and how it sets your brand apart in the industry?

Skincare has always been an extremely powerful part of my life. It’s been a consistent feel-good regardless of what else was happening in my life. It’s my personal time to reflect and reset. It was this special feeling, filled with love, that I wanted to bring to life with Anara Skincare. It is, therefore, extremely important to me that each product in the range not only gives your skin all the nourishment it needs to age beautifully and gracefully but also delights your senses and brings you a sense of calm and well-being.

With an emphasis on well-aging, how do you approach the formulation of products to ensure they cater to diverse skin types and ages?

Diversity and inclusivity are the foundations upon which Anara Skincare was built. It was always my desire that my products should be loved by as many people as possible, regardless of skin type, life stage, or life choices. I had a very long list of criteria that each product had to meet before I was willing to sign it off.

Each and every ingredient chosen to be part of an Anara product had to have well-aging benefits, but overlaying this was ensuring that they could all be used on sensitive skin, around your eye area, and also during pregnancy. Our products, of course, went through the official testing process, but in addition to this, they were tested for over 1 year by a wide variety of people to ensure inclusivity.

Can you walk us through the process of sourcing high-quality, plant-based active ingredients from around the world for Anara Skincare products?

I was very fortunate to find the most amazing formulation company very early on after I made the decision to build Anara Skincare. They are very well-aligned with my values and understood my vision immediately.

As a company, they also only work with ethical suppliers and producers of raw ingredients. In sourcing the ingredients, we always ensure we use the Organic version of an ingredient if this is available and where this is not possible we will always choose the highest quality ingredient from one of their reputable and known suppliers.

As the entire range is certified by the Vegan Society and approved as Cruelty-Free under the Leaping Bunny Programme, our suppliers are also proactively and independently monitored to ensure that our products adhere to their strict criteria.

The testimonials on your website are glowing. How do you maintain such high customer satisfaction levels, and how does customer feedback influence your product development?

I am truly delighted by all the love the range has been receiving by customers and also by the beauty community. It’s only been 6 months since we launched and it’s truly wonderful to see so many repeat customers already.

Customer satisfaction is of utmost importance to me, and I believe that having an honest and transparent approach assists in getting this level of loyalty. Feedback and testing have always and will always be paramount to our product development process. Before launching the range it had been tested for a long period of time by a diverse cross-section of people and their feedback was extremely important to the process.

Your products are designed for multi-use. Could you elaborate on the benefits of this approach and how it aligns with the ethos of simplicity and efficacy?

The concept of multi-use has always resonated with me. It allows simplicity in a beauty routine and also enables products to be used and enjoyed at their freshest and without wastage. Our entire range is multi-use and multi-functional as well. Each product not only supports various aspects of the well-aging process but they can all be used around your delicate eye area, your face, and your neck.

What challenges did you face during the four years of research, education, and exploration that went into creating Anara Skincare, and how did you overcome them?

There were challenges that were expected during this process, such as ensuring the products met the long list of criteria I had set out to achieve – a minimum of 99% Natural Origin, Vegan, Cruelty-Free, For all skin types including sensitive skin, Pregnancy Friendly, Halal Friendly, Gluten-Free, High Organic Content, overlaid with ensuring that the natural origin products that were used to fragrance the products truly did delight the senses.

Alongside this, we had the added challenge of being faced with the pandemic and all the uncertainties that came with it. There were also huge price increases and supply issues that occurred during the process as a result of the trying times we all faced.

I learned the art of patience during this process but also used a lot of the skills I had gained earlier in my career with regards to being flexible and finding innovative solutions as challenges occurred.

Sustainability is a growing concern in the beauty industry. How does Anara Skincare address environmental sustainability in its formulation, packaging, and overall ethos?

Sustainability is at the heart of Anara Skincare. It was the basis of every conversation we had during the creation of the brand. As mentioned above, we always ensure our ingredients were ethically and sustainably sourced. All products are packaged in glass bottles and jars which can be recycled as part of your household recycling scheme.

Our recyclable outer cartons and marketing material carry the FSC forest management certification which confirms that the forest is managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of the local people.

We are and will always continue to look for beautiful and sustainable options for our packaging. As an example, our metal spatulas that come with our moisturiser and balm are packaged in glassine bags, which are an eco-friendly alternative to plastic packaging. They are created from 100% biodegradable and sustainable smooth, glossy material, so they keep our spatulas clean and hygienic whilst helping the planet too.

As someone deeply involved in the beauty industry, what are your thoughts on the evolving trends and consumer preferences in skincare, especially post-pandemic?

The move to a simpler, more sustainable skincare routine alongside people being more aware of what is included in their products align perfectly with our values as a brand. These factors have always been important to me and therefore when I started the process to build Anara Skincare in 2019, pre-pandemic, my vision was already well-aligned to what we are seeing as the current consumer preferences, including a move to multi-use products.

I do, however, feel that there is still some way to go to have full transparency, as the beauty industry isn’t regulated and terms such as natural, organic, and clean are being used without strict rules in place, which can be very confusing for a consumer who doesn’t necessarily fully understand the INCI (ingredient list).

The Anara Experience is said to bring magic to the start and end of one’s day. Could you share some anecdotes or stories that highlight the transformative power of your products in customers’ lives?

I always wanted my brand to be more than just another skincare brand. I wanted it to be a whole experience with love and care at every touch point. This includes every step in creating the products but also every interaction with our customers.

It truly delights me when customers tell me how the products make them feel.

One customer sent an email to say that she feels like she is entering her own personal spa every time she dispenses the products. She then went on to tell me that she had been having a tough year and thanked me for bringing some joy into her life. Before ordering she had messaged through with some questions so it was nice to build a rapport with her.

We often receive comments about how beautiful the packaging is and how wonderful and uplifting the products smell.

The word glowing is used a lot in feedback which really makes me very happy.

I recently received a request from a customer who loved our Radiance Moisturiser so much that she ordered 5 jars to gift to her bridesmaids at her Hen Party. She requested if we could pack them individually in our gift boxes and include our freeze-dried rose petals as she loved the unboxing experience and wanted them to experience the same delight.

How do you envision the future of Anara Skincare evolving in terms of product offerings, innovation, and market presence?

I would absolutely love to add more products to the range and some of these are already in discussion or have started the formulation process. It’s early days in terms of the formulation process so I can’t divulge too much, but I would love to add products that are a hybrid between skincare and makeup and also possibly some body care products as well. I really want to focus on products that can be used and enjoyed on a daily basis to complement our current range.

Innovation is at the heart of Anara Skincare, so we are always on the search for the most wonderful and effective plant-based products that help you age beautifully and gracefully.

In terms of market presence, my desire is to build a loyal community of customers that appreciate luxurious products that contain the most beautiful ingredients. I would love Anara Skincare to be known for its ability to provide radiance and happiness in your life. The word Anara is the combination of the word ‘Anar’ which means radiant In Arabic and the word ‘Nara’ which means happy in Greek.

Your background includes co-founding a mobile beauty service. How did your experience with MILK Wellbeing inform your approach to founding Anara Skincare?

Whilst my time at Ocado gave me a lot of experience in the retail industry and with working with a well-funded startup, my journey as Co-Founder for MILK Wellbeing truly taught me what it is to build a small business from scratch, where you are accountable for every aspect and every decision made. It also enabled me to live my passion of beauty and was my first true work experience within the beauty industry. I believe it gave me the perfect stepping stone and the confidence to launch Anara Skincare, and to finally bring my lifelong dream to fruition.

In what ways do you incorporate principles of inclusivity and accessibility into your brand, ensuring that Anara Skincare is suitable for people of all skin types, ages, and lifestyles?

As I touched upon earlier, my desire was always to make Anara Skincare inclusive in the true sense of the word – to be suitable across all skin types, including sensitive skin and for use around your eye area. I wanted the range to appeal and to be suitable for all genders, all life stages including pregnancy and menopause and across all lifestyle choices including Vegan and Halal.

I didn’t want you to have to worry whether the products were suitable for you, I just wanted you to be able to enjoy the Anara Experience. It was, therefore, a very long and complicated process to ensure each product in the range met this very long list of criteria.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to break into the beauty or skincare sector, based on your own journey with Anara?

I would say first and foremost, learn as much as you can before embarking on the journey. Find the right partners to work with that truly understand and align with your vision. Be willing to be flexible without compromising on your values. Be truly transparent because customers deserve to know what they are putting on their skin.

And last but by no means least follow your heart and don’t be scared to take a few risks. Creating and running your own business is a lot of hard work and I think you have to truly love and believe in your product and yourself to overcome the challenges.

The packaging of Anara Skincare products is often praised for its luxurious feel. How do you balance aesthetics with sustainability when designing your packaging?

The packaging is a very important part of the brand. I always said that I wanted luxury to meet nature. I wanted you to get that wonderfully special feeling that you get when you buy one of the well-known luxury brands. All products are packaged in glass bottles and jars which can be recycled as part of your household recycling scheme.

Our recyclable outer cartons and marketing material carry the FSC forest management certification which confirms that the forest is managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of the local people.

We are and will always continue to look for beautiful and sustainable options for our packaging. As an example, our metal spatulas that come with our moisturiser and balm are packaged in glassine bags, which are an eco-friendly alternative to plastic packaging. They are created from 100% biodegradable and sustainable smooth, glossy material, so they keep our spatulas clean and hygienic whilst helping the planet too.

Your products aim to deliver a sensory experience. How do you ensure that the fragrance and texture of each product align with your brand’s vision and values?

This truly was the most challenging process as we do not use artificial fragrances or other artificial ingredients in our products (apart from a small quantity of a gentle preservative where required), which often give products their scents and textures. It was a long journey of exploration, testing, and of endless iterations to find the perfect combination of ingredients to delight the senses, whilst also adhering to our other long list of criteria.

We use a variety of gentle essential oils to give our products their uplifting scents. A couple of examples are Rose Otto and Mandarin Orange, both of which also have their own beautiful skin nurturing properties.

Collaboration seems to be a recurring theme in your journey, from working with scientists to launching MILK Wellbeing. How do you approach collaboration, and how has it contributed to the success of Anara Skincare?

I believe that collaborating with the right partners, who completely align with your vision and your values is the key to success in any business and especially for a small startup. I had decided from the start of my journey in creating Anara Skincare that I wanted to work with experts in their field, who were as proud and passionate about their craft as I am about my business.

I think it’s also important to realize that you can’t do everything single-handed. My long career has taught me what I am good at and what I love the most, so those things I keep hold of and for the other tasks, I find people who can do them far better and more efficiently than I could. I am working with a mixture of sole traders, small and large companies and I find this balance works very well for me.

As a founder, what are some of the most rewarding moments you’ve experienced on your journey with Anara Skincare?

Truly every milestone has been rewarding. From signing off each formulation, to seeing the design of the logo and packaging come to life, to seeing my products on my website finally ready for sale. They all were such special and memorable moments.

However, if I had to choose just one aspect it would be the response I have received from the beauty industry and customers. The love and passion with which the range has been received in the real world is completely overwhelming and it fills me with gratitude. It has been the biggest honor to win 7 prestigious beauty awards for the range less than 6 months after launch.

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

My biggest passion outside of the world of beauty is travel and I have been fortunate to have traveled extensively in my life. There are a few places on my bucket list and top of the list is Vietnam and Cambodia. I would also really love to visit Australia.

What’s your go-to quote when you are lacking motivation?

There are many positive quotes that I love, but one of my favorites is “Don’t wait for the magic to happen. Make the magic happen”. A very special person in my life used to say this to me a lot when I was a child and it has always stuck with me.

Finally, what legacy do you hope Anara Skincare will leave in the beauty industry, and what mark do you aspire to leave as its founder?

My hope is that Anara Skincare will be a wonderful example showing that it is possible for luxury and nature to truly blend whilst being inclusive in the true sense of the word.

I really want to be known and remembered as a Founder who truly followed her heart to build a business that bought radiance and happiness to the world.

As we bring this insightful journey to a close, we’re deeply inspired by Arati, the visionary founder of Anara Skincare. Her remarkable dedication to merging luxury with nature, alongside her commitment to inclusivity and sustainability, resonates profoundly. Arati’s story is a testament to the transformative power of passion and resilience, reminding us that by staying true to our values, we can create meaningful change. Here’s to Anara Skincare, a beacon of radiance and happiness in the beauty industry, guided by Arati’s visionary leadership and unwavering spirit.

For more inspiring stories, delve into the diverse array of interviews featured on House of Coco Magazine. Explore the remarkable journeys of visionary entrepreneurs like Arati and uncover the transformative power of passion and perseverance. Visit House of Coco Magazine to ignite your spirit and embark on a journey of discovery.