This Valentine’s Day, we interviewed the power couple in life & business – Megha Asher & Pritesh Asher – Founders of Juicy Chemistry, on building a clean beauty brand together and keeping a balance between personal and professional life.
As a couple in business together, the lines between personal and professional life often blur. But, the pursuit of formulating beauty products without toxic and synthetic products is what kept the couple driven and focused towards achieving their goal.
1. How did you embark on the idea of starting a clean beauty brand?
We actually didn’t embark on the idea of starting a clean beauty brand it just happened to us. Megha was suffering from the PCOD/PCOS condition since her teen years and the issues were affecting her skin and hair health. She was trying to find solutions for it which led her to various dermatologists and treatments.
During these said treatments she realized that while these were very strong medications that she was under and they not only affected her health but were also affecting her mentally. So she started looking for more natural and ayurvedic alternatives. While we were once visiting a nearby supermarket during our weekly errands, we came across somebody who tried to sell us a natural ayurvedic product and I just looked at the back of the ingredients and found all types of sulfates, artificial colors, silicones, artificial fragrances and I couldn’t understand why the front of the label contained Hibiscus, Onion and Neem while the back of the label contained all these different petrochemicals in them.
And I looked at Megha and asked, “Did you know what they were selling under the label of natural and ayurvedic” she said, “Well what are we supposed to do? This is the best that’s available in the market and this is what we have to settle with.” And that’s when we looked at each other and said that there has to be a better way for us to find a product that is actually natural and organic and not just labelled as natural while filled with a number of petrochemicals. And I think that was the start of us dappling with the creation of organic skin care. That’s how we started researching what goes into manufacturing these products and we sort of re-calculated and re-engineered to come up with products that can truly live up to the terminology of organic and natural.
2. As a couple in business together, how do you manage your personal and professional life?
I think it’s very difficult to be very honest since both of us are very passionate about our goal to add value to people’s lives through the skin and personal care products and now through make-up products as well. We are so engrossed with our work and everyday operations that our personal life and professional life does get mixed up quite a lot, more than if we would have been working in different jobs or professions. Because we are driving this together, our professional life also gets very personal.
While that is there we also are cognizant of the fact that we have a little one who is five years old today and the very thought of her not being able to get the time from both her parents is something that we are very aware of and we work consistently towards making sure that we have opportunities to spend time with her, to make personal time for Meera because for us it’s part and parcel of our daily lives but consciously we both have realized that we need to take more down-time together for Meera.
What we do is watch movies together and we love to travel and that has really helped us to take out that personal time. We love planning trips and doing things with Meera. Megha takes out time to do art and craft. I love to inculcate some sports activities or physical activities in our time together. So that keeps us going and I think it’s a conscious effort that we need to keep going every time otherwise of course our personal and professional lives do get muddled up quite a bit
3. What’s one piece of advice you would like to give couples who want to start a business together?
The one advice from my end would be to work on each other’s strengths. Give each other space and while it’s okay for both the founders to sit and discuss the way forward, you also need to give each other space to do the execution their way. They bring a certain expertise to the table and giving space to each other is the most important thing. Also discussing the work, the results, and the way forward. What worked and what didn’t work can be a discussion, how to move forward and make things happen can always be worked upon by discussing. But giving each other space and letting them work on their strengths is the most important point that I would like to highlight when couples wish to do business together.
4. What according to you makes you a power couple?
I think the ability to trust each other 100% almost as if we have an understanding of each other’s thought process. And when I lay my hand out I know this is what I’m going to get, or if I can reach out to my co-founder or my partner for any help and the faith and the trust that we have in each other whilst we are driving the business together makes us so much more calmer and so much more efficient with what we are doing. And as a result that the business as such stands to benefit because even when we are driving this thing individually but we are also driving it together.
In that sense that we give each other that space to operate with our own strengths and play off each other’s strengths. I believe that truly helps us to achieve what we set out to achieve in our own way without having to muddle each other’s paths and constantly there can be a little back and forth. One thing that I would have to put at the absolute top would be Ego. I think we both don’t have that and I think that we are the best of friends when it comes to understanding this business and each other’s strengths and weaknesses very very clearly. I think we take strength from each other’s strengths and move forward and I think this has been one of our biggest success factors when we were going to plant from the initial days.
5. What are the pros and cons of working together?
I think there are pros and cons to everything. The pros I would say are that you can trust your co-founder 100% with your life. I believe that’s a very big pro for working together. Also, you understand each other very well and you understand what the other partner is absolutely capable of doing something and how they will drive this thing. I think we also tell each other whatever is going on in our minds very freely without having the need to mince our words.
I think the only con I can think of is that we don’t get to spend much time doing things that we would love to do apart from work. We love working together as co-founders but we would also love to do a lot more travel and explore our interests together, I think these things don’t happen because we are so hands-on with everything that we do. Like when one of us is away the other one stays and holds the ground. I think that is definitely a con, we would love to do a lot of things together as a couple apart from the business which doesn’t happen because our current priorities are about what we are doing as a business together and what we want to achieve in the next coming years. Apart from this, I can’t think of any other con because everything else is a positive point for me.