IWD 2023: Actress-turned-entrepreneur Aashka Goradia Goble shares her winning formula
After gaining fame as a prominent figure on the Indian small screen, Aashka Goradia Goble transitioned into entrepreneurship by launching her own makeup brand - RENÉE Cosmetics. Having acted in several Hindi television serials such as 'Kkusum' and 'Laagi Tujhse Lagan' and participated in reality shows like 'Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi', 'Bigg Boss', and 'Nach Baliye', Aashka viewed the move as a logical progression in her career.
Despite encountering numerous challenges and prejudices as a female entrepreneur, Aashka persevered through a difficult transition. In a candid interview with People Matters, she revealed how she overcame external obstacles and worked alongside serial entrepreneurs Ashutosh Valani and Priyank Shah to create a brand that advocates for gender equality and unity rather than division.
Excerpts from the interview:
Women have traditionally been underrepresented in leadership positions across industries. As a woman leader in the beauty industry, what challenges have you faced, and what advice would you give to other women looking to break into leadership positions?
When I began with RENÉE, there were several concerns like ‘running a business is not easy, and you’re an artist’, ‘how are you going to manage it?’ ‘what is your long-term goal here?’ and more. People tend to underestimate you and make presumptions about you, especially when you are a woman making a career transition and that too in your 30s; but if you believe in yourself, all these are just external noises. All you need to do is focus your energies on your goal.
Adding further to this, every kind of work, irrespective of the field, comes with challenges. But facing and overcoming those helps you grow as a person. Being an actress is quite different from leading a brand as an entrepreneur; the challenges are other, and the learnings are different too. I undertake every task as an opportunity to learn something new and grow; a person must constantly evolve. Today, I am happy donning the hat of an entrepreneur and love every aspect of building a beauty brand. I have always dreamed of being a successful businesswoman, and here I am, living it well.
Gender biases against women are a pervasive issue in many industries. What steps do you take to ensure that your brand is inclusive and empowering for all women, regardless of their backgrounds or identities?
I believe that skill set has no gender, and nobody can or should limit your capabilities because of gender. Your risk-taking appetite, creative streak and overall passion are what you need to lead any role you aspire to, may it be working for someone or working for yourself.
RENÉE means “rebirth” and was created to change how beauty is perceived today and help all to celebrate their beauty in their own way. Our ethos is all about empowering women and encouraging them to liberate themselves. From our inception, we’ve always ensured that our products stood out for their uniqueness and imbibed an aspirational attribute among our consumers. Our mission has always been to harness the power of makeup and let everyone experiment with their looks in a way that makes them feel confident and empowered, irrespective of age, background or identity.
What role do you see male allies playing in the fight for gender equality and empowerment of women in the beauty industry and society at large?
I co-founded RENÉE with my long-time friends and serial entrepreneurs Ashutosh Valani and Priyank Shah, the former founders of D2C brands, Beardo and Villain Lifestyle; as you can see, the co-founders team at RENÉE comprises both genders. With this at the core, gender equality is present in every area of work in the organisation, irrespective of the division, and all employees are given equal opportunities.
Beauty, in the past, was a women-led industry, but today you will notice that men are proactively involved and leading it well as a team, whether as a founder, sales or marketing heads, product heads, or even beauty advisors. Women and men are building exceptional beauty brands together with their own unique expertise; it isn’t a biased industry anymore, but a uniform one.
The makeup industry is constantly evolving, with new trends and techniques emerging all the time. How does RENÉE Cosmetics stay on top of these trends and continue to innovate its product offerings?
We built RENÉE to bring the best of all the beauty industry offers today to its consumers in India and globally. With this in mind, sleek, unique, multi-functional beauty products with premium quality and reasonable prices were created to make using these products simple for the everyday woman.
All our products are high-quality, innovative, and FDA-approved to bring you the most multi-functional, clutter-breaking, and cruelty-free beauty products. Before we launch any new product, we create a focus group and take extensive feedback from the group; this ensures that we are creating a product that the consumers need and also leads to a high acceptance of our products. Today RENÉE has 250+ products across make-up, skincare and fragrances portfolios in just 29 months, with constant new launches in the pipeline to continue meeting the needs of the ever-evolving beauty landscape. Our key differentiation here is an innovation which is integrated into every product we create. This also helps our consumers understand RENÉE’s offerings better than other brands in the beauty landscape and simultaneously helps us meet the trends and, at times, even stay ahead of them.
What role do you see the media and entertainment industry playing in promoting gender equality and challenging traditional gender roles and stereotypes?
Media and entertainment industry has certainly been a contributing factor in challenging gender norms. A considerable fraction of this industry now is women who have achieved many career milestones, proving the naysayers wrong and giving others the hope, encouragement and inspiration, they need to believe in themselves and create their own name. I am glad I was a part of it, and now I can do more.
How do you use your platform to inspire and empower women, and what message would you like to share with young girls who aspire to follow in your footsteps?
Over the years, how beauty has been perceived is hard to explain and somewhat debatable, as I always like to accept any standard one wants to set for themselves. It is a full expression of who they want to be. In simple words, Beauty standards - to each their own.
My brand, RENÉE, is an extension of my belief and stands for aspiration with comfort and innovation; it is professional makeup made easy so that every woman can celebrate their expression every day and with ease. The intention here is to encourage women, irrespective of their age, to define their beauty on their own and express it. Hence RENÉE’s and my message for the women of today is to “Feel free, be fearless to do what you need to do to express yourself.”