Q: If you could explain yourself in a couple of sentences, how would you do that?
I am family and business-oriented. I believe both are important to my growth as a human being, and even though I am launching a company, my family comes first beyond anything else. I was born cancer therefore it is my destiny to be a mama bear in both realms. I care about what I leave behind in this world, from my kids to the impact of my family’s legacy. I feel I am a voice for those who don’t have one.
Q: Will you tell me about your business and your role?
I am the Founder & CEO of my company Khalm, an Oud infused skincare line, which launched live on September 28th. Oud is a magical ingredient that originates from the Agarwood tree, which originates in my homelands of India & Pakistan. It is healing, nourishing, and above all has this amazing scent component.
I manage branding, formulation, operations, and spearhead most initiatives for the brand. I am lucky to have a team that spans the globe just like where one day I see Khalm going. Well, I guess it we already are a bit global, since we are Made in France. I am also acquiring my business degree at the University of Utah, which I must say is preparing me to run a successful beauty start-up.
Q: How did you get into this business and what was the moment you decided to do it?
After raising my kids for 8 years, I decided since they were going to school full time, I could take back my career-life. I didn’t envision it would be quite like this. Beauty has always been a big force in my life, but I never dreamt it would be a career. It really is a dream come true to innovate Khalm for the world audience who really needs something culture driven as well as the skincare to completely redefine the ritual.
Q: Can you tell me what your first year was like?
As most first years go for Founders, it was wrought with imposter syndrome, but that has long been gone and addressed. In addition, the first year was wholeheartedly an R&D expedition. The idea of infusing Oud Essential Oil into natural active ingredients had to be thoughtfully addressed. We had to make sure that when we officially launched we had substantial efficacies in place and research backing Oud’s majestic powers.
Q: So was there anyone in particular that inspired you or encouraged you to become this business owner?
My father & mother have always been my inspirations. They came to this country leaving everything behind so that I could follow my dreams and I did. I owe everything to their one decision of coming to America in the 70s. My dad especially drove in my entrepreneurial genes. He was an entrepreneur while I was growing up in Atlanta, Georgia. I learned it all by watching him, try, fail, and try again.
Q: How do you define success for yourself, both personally and professionally?
I describe success for myself, not in achievements but in experiences both personally and professionally. I see that we are here on this planet to learn and grow from others. Collaboration and friendship have guided me in my marriage, as a mother and it guides me in Khalm. Things don’t give me joy anymore as do the experiences I have with other humans on the planet. I think if you leave it to that you will be just fine.
Q: What has been the most important skill that you have developed to be a good business owner?
Working Collaboratively hands down! It brings so much more to the project, not only different perspectives but it allows all voices to be heard & acknowledged. Isn’t that what everyone wants, to not be a fly on the wall, to have a voice. This is especially true for young ladies in the business profession right now.
Q: Have you ever thought about quitting? If so, can you tell us the story?
I use to but I don’t think about quitting anymore. I think about succeeding to play in a world that was not designed for women of color. That is what keeps me going because my girls are women of color. If I don’t level the field for them, they won’t be able to respect me.
Q: What makes you want to keep going when you feel like quitting, or what do you do when it feels hard to be a business owner?
I have learned to take a deep breath when those feelings come close. Taking a moment to pause or several pauses has really helped me to stay focused on growing slow rather than growing at light speed. This is something we all see around us in the business world. Why? Who made these rules? I am going to take my time to smell my success.
Q: What does the future of Khalm look like?
The future of Khalm is galactic. We have only begun our mission to create Oud-infused skincare with the highest standards to be an essential part of the daily skincare ritual. Without a doubt, our focus for the future is to resonate with customers who are searching for Oud-infusions and Clean Beauty options. We plan to create experiences and knowledge around Oud like no other company has, really being a pioneer in telling stories and creating innovative product assortments.
Q: Last question: What would you want to learn from a community of other women business owners?
I want to learn how to navigate in a world with thoughtful intention & leadership as a woman. I have already made it by being a mother, wife, and a breathing human. Khalm is just a representation of stories I want to tell, that seems to be hidden in plain sight. Khalm’s success will not be the success of me but of the people. How do we build careful brands that can tell the narrative of a people that leave no one person behind? We need to create an ecosystem to heal the world, I hope in some way I gain guidance from thought leaders to do this with my company.