Pritika Swarup has built a large following, thanks, in part, to her successful career as a model. A graduate of Columbia Business School, Swarup founded her skin-care brand, Prakti, in 2021. It was designed to blend Ayurvedic tradition with modern skin-care ingredients. It soft-launched with one product, an exfoliating powder.
Today, the brand has six products and sells direct-to-consumer, though expansion into retail will come next year. On this episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast, Pritika discusses balancing modeling and brand-building, introducing the U.S. consumer to Ayurvedic ingredients, and giving back via Operation Smile, for which she is a global ambassador.
The excerpts below have been slightly edited and condensed for clarity.
On deciding to model while building a brand
“When I was building Prakti, I was finishing school and it was also the pandemic. Ao a lot of it was online, and I was trying to just focus. I felt like I would leave my modeling career behind because I wanted to be taken seriously as a founder and as an entrepreneur. Sometimes those things don’t exactly go hand in hand. … What started to become very interesting is that I realized how everything was so connected, and my career was really helping the brand. Before we even launched, we had a tremendous amount of press, and people were wondering what we were doing, what we were coming out with and how this concept started. It was very cool to be able to combine all [of my] experiences with the launch of Prakti.”
On the difference between Eastern and Western beauty ideology
“In the East, beauty is looked at in a more holistic way. It’s beauty from within. My first memory of beauty is my mom telling me, ‘Beauty comes from within. It’s how you’re feeling and what you’re putting out in the world, and you can only be your best if you’re feeling your best.’ That goes hand in hand with looking your best and that inner glow, as they say. In the West, I think a lot of beauty products and companies are focusing on treating physical concerns, like hyperpigmentation, acne and discoloration. That’s wonderful, but [internal and external concerns] need to be addressed. There’s also so much more to focus on, as far as inner beauty and overall wellness and getting to the place where you are feeling your best and you’re operating your best. These products I created address all of those needs.”
On making Ayurvedic products, ingredients and philosophies accessible
“Accessibility to this amazing holistic wellness system — it’s proven, it’s been around for 1000s of years — was important. We need to improve overall health and well-being. We need to see beauty in a broader sense, where you’re feeling your best, you’re doing meditation, breathing. Abhyanga face massage when you’re doing your skinc are … can help you perform your best in so many areas, … whether that’s confidence, … being connected to your own passions, to your own dreams. That was the main thing: to improve overall health and well-being.
Ayurveda and Indian culture and the openness and excitement we’ve seen [to these things] over the last few years has been amazing. But that wasn’t necessarily there when I was first starting the brand. A lot of people, even when I was talking to the firms, when I was fundraising … said, ‘You won’t be able to do this.’ It’s a foreign concept, even the educational process, of talking about these ingredients that were not mainstream. … There was a sense of, like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is going to be a little challenging.’ But it almost made me more excited to do it, because I knew that it was something that people needed. That’s what set a fire under me.”