EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH
Founder and CEO
Matra Skincare Essentials
VictoryTales with its objective to bring more inspiring stories around the world, this time introduces Gunjan Arora, Founder, and CEO at Matra Skincare Essentials, a Made in India beauty brand which has effectively bridged the essential price gap in the skincare industry and provided affordable luxury to all.
Ms. Gunjan Arora, a quintessential nature lover is the brain behind the brand. With a background in Chemistry from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi followed by a Post Graduate Diploma in Management, developing skincare was a natural flow for her in her career to infuse her love for laboratory with her vision for the corporate.
She loves working her ways around natural ingredients and giving her creative side a challenge by concocting recipes for beauty and grooming.
Hailing from an Indian business family, Gunjan recalls that entrepreneurship was always in her blood. Ever excited by the energy, exploratory nature, and the immense potential of entrepreneurship within her, it was an obvious path for her to choose the induction of her own brand rather than continuing her job.
Know more About
Matra Skincare Essentials
Matra Skincare Essentials is inspired by Ayurveda and offers Ayurveda inspired skincare reaping the brilliance of nature and the tremendous benefits of essential oils, precious herbs, and natural ingredients.
Led by a strong management and execution team of Gunjan Arora & Angad Arora, Matra aims to manifest the innumerable miracles present in nature, in the form of luxurious skincare. With its Revolutionary, Ethically Natural, and Traditionally Modern bath and beauty range, it seeks to fulfill the holistic skincare needs of its consumers. Matra’s unparalleled products provide a complete body pampering regimen resulting in the accomplishment of healthy and nourished skin.
From the perspective of Matra, the root words “Ayur” meaning life and “Veda” meaning science or knowledge together constitute “Ayurveda”, the rich Indian text that elaborates the medicinal and rejuvenating properties of elements present in nature and their infusion to render effective treatments for holistic wellness.
Using the same inspiration and formulation guidelines, Matra brings together tradition with modern research to offer bespoke and deeply nourishing products.
Our exclusive interview with
Where did the idea to start something like this come from? Please also talk us through your background and your journey as an entrepreneur;
Matra is the manifest dream of nature and skin-care lovers. With a fascination for the wisdom of Indian Ayurveda, I saw the immense potential of Ayurvedic skincare amalgamated with modern, breakthrough R&D in the beauty industry. By default, I found myself experimenting with ingredients and recipes until finally, the deeply embedded bug of entrepreneurship bit me and I decided to develop and launch a range that was so safe and natural that one could just pick the product and use it without any fear.
It was only a matter of time with the wide-scale acceptance of the products that I discovered how aware the current generation was and how keen they were to know more and to customize their skincare. This wise orientation of the customers today gave Matra its newfound vision! Matra Skincare Essentials is a holistic skincare brand with a vision to revolutionize the beauty landscape. With a view at consolidation, we seek to eventually bring together all the skincare needs of our customers under a single umbrella and change the way people perceive and shop their products.
The company’s philosophy is to bring together dermatological advice, home remedies and clean, natural beauty products along with consistent follow-ups to ensure that we walk with our customers along the entire life cycle of their skin rejuvenation. As for my background, I come from an Indian business family idolizing my father and his skills at business. Graduating from St. Stephens College, University of Delhi, I went on to pursue my PGDM while harboring a love for Branding and Strategic Management within me.
It wasn’t long before I realized that entrepreneurship was my calling.
Why did you choose entrepreneurship over a job?
Excited by the energy, exploratory nature, and the immense potential of entrepreneurship, it was an easy choice for me. As I recall now, the idea of Start-up India was just kickstarting then under the vision of our Hon'ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi Ji, and the socio-economic environment seemed just perfect to launch a new venture.
After leaving my job, it took me one more start-up and a year of research to finally introduce my first skincare product! By all means, there has been a constant struggle and learning throughout these years but as I grew as an entrepreneur I learned to constantly evolve and get past the challenges.
As I saw the manifestation of my idea and its various benefits to my customers, it all seemed to pay off!
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
Back in my school days, my school Principal gave me a thought, “Sky is the limit” and I carry it with me since then and this has also been my driving force. You know that any seed that has been implanted in your head can be given a live form if only you have the courage, self-discipline, and motivation to see it through. Being a woman entrepreneur, I have further seen my own share of challenges but when you are internally driven and have faith in your vision, things do start falling in place eventually. It's exciting, fulfilling, and deeply humbling to see so many girls finding their inner beauty and confidence, so many men taking care of themselves, so many women taking time out for themselves for self-care. We work with a lot of brides-to-be giving them not just skincare advice and products but also seeing them living their day with confidence in themselves.
Every single appreciation received from my customers drives me to do even more for them!
What’s your source of motivation?
My customers are my constant motivation.
For Team Matra, customer feedback is very important. We share all customer appreciation throughout the entire supply chain and the same goes for criticism as well. Financial success is one but being able to solve problems for people specially giving them a sense of well-being and being beautiful in and out indeed is fulfilling for us.
As a beauty start-up, being in easy reach of all customers is our focus and the customer care number mentioned on the label of every product is always available with one of our senior team members so that customer feedback and concerns are directly available with us and this will continue to stay the same.
How many hours a day do you work on average?
For me, there are no working hours. I am always available for work. Still being at a nascent stage of my start-up, my work is my commitment and it’s very exciting as the new ideas keep pouring in. I strongly believe that as a First Generation Entrepreneur, you are living towards your dream manifestation each and every day. Further fuelled with passion, coming to work is like coming home!
What is the uniqueness of your startup?
Coming from those times when there was a major gap between affordable and healthy skincare, Matra at its onset envisioned bridging the gap and provide affordable luxury to all. Having successfully done the same and with its growth curve we came up to understand the skincare challenges of our customers which thus shaped our current uniqueness. Matra is your one-stop solution to skincare. When approached for product consultation, our team of experts looks into the skin concerns of our customers, gives them home remedies, dermatological advice as well as products suitable for them. It doesn’t end here. We stay with our customers over their entire process of cultivating healthy skin and are always available as their beauty advisors. This is a complimentary service offered by Matra Skincare Essentials and will always continue to be the same. With our ground-breaking ingredients dug out from ancient scriptures, latest researches, and a ready to help consultation team of experts, we seek to bridge the gap between the dermatological world and commercial beauty industry.
How do you handle the pressure and manage stress?
Trying to make a place for myself in today’s competitive environment, I have definitely had to face various challenges, often setbacks, and downfalls as well. There are times when you have to think of basic funds for sustenance, especially in the initial days of the business. Being a woman entrepreneur further comes with its own pressure and stress points and it continues to surface from time to time.
I think you just keep growing along the entire learning curve.
I faced situations where suddenly the major source of business revenue came to a stop and we were suddenly back so many steps. Innovating, solution hunting, and upping your game is the only option.
And indeed you learn at each step, becoming more confident when the next hurdle comes up! However, I surely supplement my efforts with good sleep, meditation, and spiritual retreats. The study of the Bhagavad Gita gives me some sense of direction, inspiration to be my best, and to accept whatever comes my way.
How do you generate new ideas?
Nature is my favorite inspiration! With my immense love for skincare formulations, my mind keeps on revolving around how I can infuse nature in my offerings. My skincare works very congruently with food ingredients. Any new revelation in the food industry gets me developing the same in our portfolio as well.
As a team, we are very open to customer feedback and suggestions as well and have often tweaked our system for their convenience.
How did you come up with the name of your company?
Matra derives its inspiration from the Sanskrit word “matr”, meaning Mother. It is both an offering to and a derivation from Mother Nature.
I think when it comes to naming your brand name, it has to resonate with you. It took us months of brainstorming, numerological suggestions 😄, and an endless list of names coming from so many linguistic positions until finally, it all fell in place when we came up with this name.
Simple yet complete in itself, the name Matra had our hearts!
What piece of advice would you give to college graduates who want to become entrepreneurs?
As a student of Financial Management, I used to study, “High risk, high rewards”. Well, that’s my definition of what entrepreneurship brings on the table. There is no safe business and yet nothing can be more rewarding than seeing your venture grow.
I would totally wish to be known by my brand name than for anything else in the world.
For all the aspiring entrepreneurs, I would just advise them to follow their hearts and minds towards their dream fulfillment and move ahead with an all-in attitude. The road might not be as well defined as taking up a corporate job and rising up the ladder but if you see yourself loaded with a dream to create, Manifest it. As a start,
Have a clear idea of what you wish to set up and your offerings
A detailed business plan is non-negotiable
Even if the strategy keeps evolving with time, an initial idea of work, funds and revenue flow is indispensable
Building the right team is equally important
Once the basic groundwork is done and you are ready to step into the vast ocean of opportunities, be prepared to grow, face hiccups, and even fall. Learn and keep learning from your mistakes and always hold on to that zeal.
Remember, “Sky is the limit”