Who is Aradhna Dhawan, could you please introduce yourself?
Hello everyone! My name is Aradhna Dhawan, a mom to two beautiful souls, a wife to a spoiled husband and a fur mom to the cutest cockapoo. Ever since middle school, I always aspired to become a renowned fashion designer. I got into my dream college National institute of fashion technology (NIFT), India where I studied for 3.5 years and got the opportunity to work with a few designers to mark my name in the fashion industry. Little did I know, I would marry a man who would take me to China. My lack of fluency in Mandarin blew my chances of entering the Chinese fashion industry. Staying far from family and friends, not being able to speak the language, made everything depressing for a person who was in the habit of working long hours in the bustling fashion industry. In an effort to make the best of my situation, I found the opportunity of teaching. I started teaching little children which gave me immense satisfaction. To hone my skills as an educator, I completed a certification to be an educator in Shanghai. There started my journey of being an educator. I did my MSED-Teacher Leadership from Minnesota University, USA and Montessori Training from Toronto. Fast forward to present, I am a Montessori Educator ever since I came to Canada.
What is your business and when did you start?
My company Aria Botanicals curates plant-potent skincare cosmetics. I started this company in the Fall of 2021.
What inspired you to start your business?
Ayurveda has been a big part of my childhood growing in India. My mom used to curate hair and face mask with the herbs she was growing in her garden. I wanted to use plant based products on my daughter so I started my urban gardening in 2012. Being invested in gardening for the last ten years, I learned a great deal about urban gardening, even from Shanghai farmers. 2021 came with the honour of being published in the Oakville Beaver, for the longest homegrown squash in my urban garden. The harvest from last year inspired me to start my skincare line to help my family and friends around me especially my daughter Aria. I did my certification in raw and plant based skincare from Oakville downtown. Being an educator and a designer, I love to combine my knowledge of art and design to create unique plant based cosmetics with edgy and zero waste packaging.
What were the challenges in the initial stages of your business and how did you overcome them?
Relearning social media, networking and finances have always been a challenging part of this journey. I joined entrepreneur groups where I was able to connect with like-minded people who are ready to help and motivate each other to their best abilities.
What motivates you about your business?
Witnessing business transformation stories is incredibly motivating. The trust of my clients in my products and the a-ha moment when they use my products keep me going!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Be persistent and embrace your failures, learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward.
Interesting fact most of the people do not know about you?
I worked with Ritu Beri, Manish Malhotra and J J Valaya as an assistant student designer from 2002-to 2003.
The best business advice I ever received was…
Create a brand personality / Focus on a niche market.
My definition of success is…
Educating people about the plant based and clean cosmetics. If I have accomplished this, then my purpose is fulfilled.
If I could go back in time when I started my business, I would tell myself to…
Keep moving forward, the hurdles make the journey worthwhile.
Three books I recommend for entrepreneurs are…
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
Think Again by Adam Grant
My personal tagline is…
If the opportunity doesn’t knock on my door, be a badass and create that door for yourself!