On Friday, Ranavat announced its expansion from online to Sephora in-store with over 250 locations nationwide.
Known for its luxury products including a $135 brightening saffron skin serum and $70 hair serum, Ranavat has gained buzz for being used by celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Mindy Kaling, Frieda Pinto and Hailey Bieber. After launching with Sephora exclusively online in February of this year, Ranavat was selected for expansion into physical stores after outperforming its online sales expectations by 300%, said founder Michelle Ranavat.
“We became the first South Asian skin-care brand to launch with Sephora, so that was like a huge moment for us and also just the South Asian community as a whole,” said founder Michelle Ranavat.
Ranavat said the retail space is becoming increasingly interested in Ayurvedic products. “Before, there was always a hesitation, [to sell them]: ‘This is too niche. Are people going to buy it?’” said Ranavat. “So this was a huge proof point for us.”
As South Asian founders have been making waves in beauty with major retailer launches, Sephora has embraced Ayurveda-inspired brands. Makeup brand Kulfi Beauty, which was part of Sephora Accelerate 2021, launched online with the retailer this month. In June this year, the retailer enlisted hair-care brand Shaz & Kiks in its Sephora Accelerate program, which Sephora’s official description says leads to “the opportunity of a lifetime — launching with Sephora, the world’s largest beauty retailer.” Ulta Beauty has also been growing its roster of South Asian-founded brands, adding Live Tinted in October 2021.
Ranavat is also stocked at Credo Beauty and Bluemercury. Its designation at Sephora is “Uniquely at Sephora,” meaning it won’t expand to other retailers for the time being.
Ayurveda is increasingly gaining recognition in mainstream beauty. Ranavat compared the rise of Ayurveda in beauty internationally with other “culturally driven approaches” to beauty, such as the expansion of J-beauty and K-beauty brands globally. But she noted that Ayurvedic ingredients have long been used in international beauty products.
“When I was starting [the brand] five years ago, there was so much on ashwagandha creams and bakuchiol serums, but nobody was actually talking about where these things are from, why people do it,” she said. Ranavat focuses heavily on educational content for the brand, creating Reels and TikTok videos with both tutorials and information about the origins of ingredients. “I’m excited to continue to spearhead those education efforts,” she said.
Since 2019, the brand has seen triple-digit year-over-year growth annually, with 2022 revenue also on track to be triple that of 2021.
The physical retail expansion will help further the brand’s growth even more, predicted Ranavat. “Having 252 new locations just creates a huge level of accessibility to the brand that we didn’t have before.”
The brand is currently in growth mode, making hires from the beauty industry, such as its new creative director from Ilia.
Focused on a luxury beauty experience with upscale packaging, physical retail is especially important for Ranavat’s branding, said Ranavat. “Giving people the ability to run into their Sephora, and try, experience and smell the products, is going to be big for us because we’re such an experiential brand.”