The Vancouver-based company brand launched only a year ago, but it's already gained a cult following—including a notable celeb
It’s easy to imagine that in a few years, an up-and-coming beauty or fashion entrepreneur will casually drop the fact that they swapped stories with Nisha Grewal on the weekend. Sort of like how the Vancouverite and UBC psychology grad talks about hanging out at Kourtney Kardashian’s house with the reality star and her sisters.
Grewal started working on Ambari Brands a couple of years ago but only launched its flagship brand, Ambari Beauty, and its at-home spa concept last February. It didn’t take her long to establish some major partnerships, first landing U.S. retail giants Nieman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman before inking a deal with Kardashian’s lifestyle brand, Poosh.
“We sent her and her whole team product, and they fell in love,” says 28-year-old Grewal. “These days, it’s not only retailers–it’s massive celebrities that are getting brands thrown at them left and right, and for us to get that approval is awesome.”
But Grewal doesn’t think you need to be a Kardashian to appreciate what Ambari has to offer. “If you were to go to a dermatologist’s office, you’re spending upward of $300 or more,” she contends. “Whereas we can provide you with products in the $90 range that’ll do the same thing, and you get multiple uses out of them.”
The company has seen support balloon in the past few months, with Grewal looking to raise around $10 million to go public on Canada’s NEO Exchange. But enough about all that. What was it like meeting Kourtney’s famous family?
“They were actually really wonderful,” Grewal says. “When you’re in a setting that’s a very natural environment with no cameras, when they’re just in spa robes and chilling, they’re really nice.”
A day in the life of Nisha Grewal, founder of Ambari Beauty
Although a decent portion of her business is in the U.S. (along with a good chunk of its 20-odd employees, plus its warehouses and formulation labs), Grewal has stayed local as she and her Vancouver team work from their home offices. Typically, mornings start with a workout. “I like to burn off some excess energy I already have, do a quick black coffee and go over any urgent emails from the night before,” Grewal says. All of that happens before she drops her son off at preschool.
Mornings are for business-heavy meetings, according to Grewal. That’s when she gets on the phone with her U.S. team and accountants, as well as her Vancouver-based head of brand operations, Lucinda Holland, to do a rundown of what she needs to know. These days, the focus is on the planned IPO. “They’ll let me know of conversations I need to have with investors, shareholders or people from the exchange,” Grewal says. “Those calls in preparation for an IPO, they’re very long.”
Grewal usually prepares something at home before picking her son back up and getting on the horn for research and development meetings. “We’ll look at formulations and plan out the future,” she maintains. “Right now, we’re in R&D for 2023-24. So it involves trying every formulation for a week or so, then tweaking it and making sure it’s exactly what our brand values are. There’s a lot that goes into a formulation–some take five years.” Those calls, which also involve team members from Europe and Asia, can be a bit of a scheduling nightmare.
“After that is when the fun stuff comes in,” says Grewal, referring to the daily huddle with her digital marketing team to review sales and strategy. “Do we need to send out people to provide more education to clients or customers? Anything that we can do to really educate people on our brand, which then hits into that conversion there.”
During this time–which stretches into the evening–she’s also taking her son to his activities and finishing up emails. “The AirPods are in, and I’m just grinding it out,” Grewal says, with a hint of exhaustion. “Right before the end of the day, I do anything urgent required for the next day or week.” And then, as with Ambari’s own product, it’s rinse and repeat.