Amit Patil & Nikita Deshpande – On Building Clean Beauty Brand Ilana
Ilana – A clean & cruelty-free beauty brand that goes by the tagline “Performance Driven Breakthrough Beauty” was founded by power couple Amit Patil & Nikita Deshpande. The idea behind building the brand was to ensure skincare and make-up products were formulated with ethically sourced and skin-friendly ingredients. What started from a home kitchen grew into a lab with technicians and gradually evolved into a prominent skincare & beauty brand.
The idea behind building a clean beauty brand was to maintain transparency and avoid greenwashing. We asked the couple all about being in business together, building a brand, and balancing their personal & professional life.
1. How did you embark on the idea of starting a clean beauty brand?
Back in 2016, while I was studying for a product design degree, I had always loved beauty but found it quite hard to find honest, affordable products that agreed with my skin. Partly out of frustration, I began experimenting with DIY beauty and fun home-kitchen concoctions. After a few tries, I found myself juggling with college and making small batches of soaps, face masks, tints and bath bombs for friends.
In 2016, I took a course in sustainability. And for the first time, as I investigated ingredients on product labels, broke down product life cycles, and interacted with experts, I began to see how complex is the notion of our ecological footprint and the human relationship with the planet.
Ilana was born out of a very real need for makeup and skincare that’s safe for skin, good to the planet, and ethically produced without costing an arm and a leg. A challenge indeed, but a game worth playing.
Amit being from the business background was intrigued by the scope and scale of operations Ilana could require and saw potential in building this business. A company that keeps customers at its forefront that is backed by honesty and Innovation at the same time.
2. As a couple in business together, how do you manage your personal and professional life?
I think it’s important to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life, and stick to them as much as possible. Then the key is to communicate effectively without bringing in your ego, delegating tasks; so that you’re not overburdened. Hiring a third party, such as a business coach or counselor, to help you manage the challenges that may arise in your personal and professional life is also that has helped us personally navigate challenges.
3. What’s one piece of advice you would like to give couples who want to start a business together?
Take regular breaks and schedule time to relax and enjoy each other’s company outside of work. Don’t make work your life, remember it’s only a part of your life.
4. What according to you makes you a power couple?
I think the fact that no matter what the situation; we have immense respect for each other and always try to understand where the other person is coming from. Having a shared vision personally and professionally often helps get things into perspective. Rather than having similar skillsets, having contradictory and complimentary skillsets helps us being a success.
5. What are the pros and cons of working together?
1. Being intimately connected can often lead to enhanced communication and understanding, allowing for more effective collaboration and increased trust.
2. Couples in business together can be more flexible with their schedules and work arrangements, allowing for greater work-life balance.
1. There’s a higher potential for conflict and disagreements can arise more easily when working together. This conflict can then affect the personal relationship.
2. Spending all day at work together can limit social interaction and friendships outside of the business leading to one questioning the dynamics of the relationship.