We launched during the pandemic of April 2020, but the journey truly started from our childhood. Our grandmother would visit us from India and massage our head and hair with handcrafted blends of plant oils, which are so effective for long, thick, and lustrous hair. It was a haircare experience unlike any other. The method she used had a particular focus on the crown chakra to alleviate stress and tension from the roots, and while she massaged, she told us fantastic fables about India’s rich plant and animal kingdom. The combination of her reading fables while massaging our heads with Ayurvedic oils was the inspiration behind the name.
Fast forward many years—both our grandmas passed away within a year from each other, and we were reminded of those fond memories of her hair oiling with head massages. This, along with Nikita’s own hair loss journey during that time, led us to rediscover the homemade recipes. We were frustrated that we couldn’t find such potent oils in the mainstream beauty shelves of giants like Sephora. Products that kept their authentic storytelling and potency while modernizing with new science and alluring aromas. Thus, Fable & Mane was born. The first-ever Ayurvedic and sibling-founded brand at Sephora.
Founder: Akash Mehta and Nikita Mehta
Founded: April 2020
2023 Full Year Expected Revenue Range: $10 to $20MM
Categories: Haircare, Wellness
Distribution Channels: Prestige, Amazon, Department Store
Funding Rounds: Self-funded
What has been the biggest surprise since the brand was founded?
Our biggest surprise has to be going viral on TikTok multiple times. We were shocked to see that so many people were interested in hair oiling and Ayurvedic ingredients. Now, having been viral a few more times, what’s been the most surprising is seeing the variety of influencers from all different ethnicities advocating Fable & Mane. It’s what we envisioned— a global brand for all. Ayurvedic ingredients don’t discriminate, so why should our products? To see so many people with different hair types resonate with the story and formulas has truly been the biggest but most rewarding surprise.
What aspect of your brand DNA fuels your competitive advantage?
Our Ayurvedic ingredients and storytelling nature of the brand has really been to our advantage. However, it wasn’t always that easy. We were told at first by retailers we would be a great brand for Indians only, so if we wanted to cater for more we would need to remove all Ayurvedic mentions. We stuck to our guns and stayed true to our story and why—and kept them in our brand. After the launch, we had a meeting with Sephora where they actually said we were one of the most diverse haircare brands in terms of customers, and that was such a 360 moment. Thankfully we stayed true to our DNA and looked at the results—it allowed us to connect with more rather than segregate.
Please share your insight on the future of the beauty industry.
For us, we definitely believe the beauty industry will be more inclusive than ever before. We have seen a lot more cultural and conscious beauty brands enter the market and gain valuable shelf space in the likes of Sephora—including Fable & Mane. We know data is imperative for retailers to continue championing such brands, and thankfully brands like ours are performing well above target. While we may be the first Ayurvedic brand, we hope not to be the last. We hope we’ve opened up retailers and even consumers' minds to shop for more brands with a rich heritage, authentic story, and time-tested clean formulas empowered by connected rituals.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
One of the best pieces of advice we’ve been given is by our grandma. She used to always say “always give from the heart and never expect anything back.” We’ve taken this and translated it into everything we’ve done in life—including our business Fable & Mane. We’re focusing on ROI—return on impact as opposed to investment. Which is why our inevitable exit in several years will be going to our Fable Fund predominantly and not our pockets.
Paying it forward, what advice would you give to someone contemplating launching a beauty brand?
First, really take time to understand your why. There must be an authentic desire and need internally first before embarking on this journey. Once you find it, don’t stop, and just go. You will make mistakes, have doubts, and even come across several hurdles. But you will overcome them; be stronger with each one and the journey will change your life for the best. Creating Fable & Mane has been the biggest gift of my life. I had so many doubts before starting, deciding to leave my great corporate job and also the worries of self funding this brand from personal money—but I knew my "why" so clearly and that was my comforting and guiding beacon through all. All I can say now is thankfully I just did it and didn’t look back once I started.
If you could change one thing in the beauty industry, what would it be?
I would really love to connect more brand founders together. I really do believe in “more collaboration, less competition,” and that is the motto of my podcast, Founded Beauty. I still feel there’s a lot more to be done, and it’s my personal mission to do so. I have plans to connect all my featured founders' guests on multiple forums—be it Slack groups, in-person events, one-on-one zoom calls; just get us all talking and connecting. Then the magic will happen. Imagine, sharing office spaces, setting manifestos with each other to actually be "clean, co-sharing employees—the possibilities are endless. But we all need to come together to ensure the future of the beauty industry is one that we are proud to be part of and is good for the planet as well.
2 Article(s) Remaining