Darshana co-founded Aardae (in 2020), an online platform headquartered in Singapore that promotes cruelty-free, sustainable, non-toxic beauty products. Prior to launching Aardae, she established and led the marketing division of a luxury mall. She later rose through the ranks to become the Indian head of a major international technology brand.
AN INTERESTING ENTREPRENEURIAL START
International beauty brands have always been an obsession for the vibrant and young entrepreneur. The COVID-19-induced pandemic that disrupted lives around the world provided the impetus for the formation of her startup. During the initial phase of the pandemic, Darshana and her business partner – Shweta Gupta struggled to get hold of some of their favourite international beauty brands, which prompted them to source Indian products. They were highly impressed by the effectiveness of a few Indian beauty brands discovered by them. This discovery compelled them to design a platform for such unique homegrown products to gain international recognition. Aardae, under their direction, brings the best of homegrown/indie conscious beauty to the world, actively helping India in becoming a more important player in a thriving industry.
According to them, Indian conscious beauty brands possess all the attributes needed to succeed globally in terms of formulation, processes and effectiveness. However, the only thing they lacked was a robust international distribution platform. With Aardae, they aim to bridge that gap by bringing Indian beauty brands to foreign shores. Additionally, they chose Singapore to launch their brand due to the country’s strict quality control policies.
QUALITY COMES FIRST
As a values-driven leader, Darshana prioritizes quality. She ensures the quality of all products in her catalogue through in-house quality testing. Furthermore, all the products have international certifications that indicate various criteria such as cruelty-free, transparency about ingredients used, and so on. Additionally, the carbon footprint of the product is also taken into consideration. By emphasizing quality, she has helped her brand stand out from other beauty platforms.
As a believer in the philosophy of clean beauty, she and Shweta had launched Aardae to help educate others about the same. Aardae presently offers a specially curated catalogue of over 40 highly efficient and indigenous beauty brands specialising in clean, organic, sustainably sourced, and cruelty-free products. These include popular favourites such as Dot & Key, Juicy Chemistry, OCEGLOW, Earth Rhythm, SoulTree and Omorfee. The proactive entrepreneur intends to add another 15 top brands to her catalogue soon. Additionally, Darshana is a constant learner. She says that it is a privilege each day to learn new nuances of the trade which helps her grow as an entrepreneur.
MARCHING TOWARDS A GLISTENING FUTURE
With regard to her future plans, she hopes to expand her company’s presence in South East Asia by making the platform available in additional countries. She further asserts that they are open to securing investor funding soon after they starts thinking about expanding their business. Additionally, they dream of launching an IPO to become a listed company. They will be launching their platform in India soon.