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Finding Balance While Running a Growing Business

Nikita Mehta

Fable & Mane

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Finding Balance While Running a Growing Business

Nikita Mehta


Fable & Mane

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Nikita Mehta Fable & Mane
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About Nikita Mehta

The BAE HQ welcomes Nikita Mehta, the co-founder of Fable & Mane, an modern Indian haircare company based on ayurvedic values. They've grown exponentially since they started and you can find them in stores like Sephora!

Nikita had a history of high achievement in the fragrance space but when her own hair started falling out she was frustrated with the lack of options. Using her grandma's recipe as a base, Fable & Mane was born. With her brother, she perfected the product and used expert storytelling to build an incredible brand which is in high demand.

Along the journey, she has learned so much about herself and places a high value on self-care. Listen in for her best tips.

Nikita Mehta

Fable & Mane

Show Notes

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Nikita Mehta Full Transcript

Nikita Mehta: [00:00:00] You wouldn't be born on this planet if you didn't have something to share. We're all unique. We're all needed. And I think the biggest thing that every single human probably suffers from subconsciously is we're not good enough. If you just get rid of that thought, you're limitless. So you can try everything even if you fail.

Just live your life to the fullest. It's your life. It's one life. It will go by so quickly. So just seize the day

Amardeep Parmar: Welcome to the BAE HQ,where we inspire, guide and connect the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs. Today we have with us Nikita Mehta, the co-founder and creative director of Fable in Maine. They're a global hair care brand that I've been selling massively all across the world, especially in stores such as Sephora.

Say hello to everyone, Niki. 

Nikita Mehta: Hi. 

Amardeep Parmar: So your story is really interesting and it's actually quite funny how you met, because I met you at the same time as I met your mum in a yoga class. [00:01:00] 

Nikita Mehta: Exactly. 

Amardeep Parmar: So when you were a kid, did you ever think you'd get to where you are today? And like, what was your childhood like in terms of, did you believe that you'd build your own business?

Did you ever believe you'd get to something like what you're doing now? 

Nikita Mehta:I always knew I'd be my own boss. Like, I think every time I went into a nine to five job, I'd just be sitting there, like, on my desk, like this is not life. I believe in living life to the full. And, um, so that I knew, and I, there was no shortage of ideas.

A lot of people struggle with what will I do? And I'm passionate about too many. The problem was choosing one. Working in a family business for eight years and in fragrance really like had this entrepreneurial drive. I like got access to a lot. A lot of insight on, on the lows and the highs of entrepreneurship.  And growing up,

I think I maybe didn't know at that time, like when I was in my early teens that I would go into beauty or hair care specifically. I did come from a fragrance background, but I would definitely say my mum, who you met and you had that wild. experience with. She does this like dynamic [00:02:00] meditation. It was instrumental even in what I do today, like her spirit and guidance, because it was normal to me growing up seeing her do yoga.

Amardeep Parmar: And where did the idea of Fable in Maine come from then? What was it that made that the idea that you wanted to go ahead with? 

Nikita Mehta: Fable in Mane is a modern hair wellness brand and our mission is to bring Indian hair care secrets to the West. And the name Fable in Mane is basically telling the story of your hair.

So Fable is storytelling and Mane is And I was inspired from really our grandma. Me and my brother founded the brand. And our grandma used to come from India and used to tell us these stories while she'd put oil in our hair, which would grow our hair. And when I had a lot of hair loss, I turned to her stories and her wisdom.

And I, Just remember, like, when I was oiling my own hair, I was like, I wish she was here to massage it in. And that was the birth of it. You know, my hair stopped falling out after using oil, and I just couldn't find anything in the market that celebrated hair care in a [00:03:00] modern, conscious way. 

Amardeep Parmar: And how did you come up with the initial formula?Like, where did the actual product come from? 

Nikita Mehta: So the product was a mixture of, like, my grandma's secret recipe. So it was like, Amla, Ashwagandha, all the things that we have in Ayurveda. Um, with an incredible scent that we were working with the perfume of Dior and a lab in the U. S. It probably took us 200 revisions.

I always feel like the good brands today are the ones that it's almost like a good recipe, like a good dish. It's the pre-work that goes in, like how much preparation you do for, in the recipe, the ingredients. So. It took us three years. Uh, we launched in April, 2020, but I remember like me at 3 AM on my desk, just in silence, that's where all the, like magic and brand building happens.

So yeah, it was made in, made in America. The formula was really inspired by my grandma and also just my own research. I'm a product junkie. I tried every haircare brand on the market [00:04:00] and I wanted to make sure this would be suitable for all hair types. So it's lightweight, hydrating and silicone free. 

Amardeep Parmar: So three years feels like a long time.

And in that time, did you ever doubt yourself? Did you ever wonder, is this the right path? Like I've spent so much time, we haven't got the product out yet. What was your thought process like?

Nikita Mehta: Hundred percent. And I'm really indecisive, which is really bad as an entrepreneur, like, which is why I then went to my brother.

I was literally crying one day and he was working in Paris. He had this incredible job as global digital head of Dior, managing like millions of dollars of budget. And I just came with like a logo I just paid like 500 for. But I said, I have all these tigers, I have all these names, I have all these products.

And I don't know what to do. I'm overwhelmed and I need someone to help me because I just can't make a decision. And I'm a perfectionist too. So I knew like my 80%, which might be somebody a hundred percent, I was just, I'd probably, if it wasn't for my brother, I'd probably still be [00:05:00] deciding like what font to put, and I'd be happy with that because when you're creating, there's no like, you don't have that need or pressure or like, I don't have an investor on my back being like, get your product out now, make, you know, get me my return.

Um, so now it's like, once you press the go button, then it's nonstop. But before, was for me, it was like amazing because I had all that time to create. So, but it's time well spent. I feel there are a lot of brands today that just have no purpose and they just like white label products. They just slap on a logo and you can just tell the ones that really, really care.

Amardeep Parmar: So you know that phase before you actually launched a business, were you almost enjoying it just as a hobby, just being able to like let your creative juices flow and now it's an actual business. Well, when you think about it, did you want it to? Get as big as it got. Was that always part of the plan or is it more just, you're just really enjoying the actual product formulation?

Nikita Mehta:  Like this whole brand, like the leaves, the colors, the stories, the names, like the copy, everything was [00:06:00] just, if I created a brand, how I'd want it to be. And that's why it makes me happy when, and people can feel that, like every customer and even I get messages all the time or emails, like, I love your branding and brings a smile to my face.

I love your brand. There's nothing I wouldn't change. And I'm like, wow. You know? And I think that's because. We're all like connected and a visual design that brings people together. So just storytelling, I'm really into marketing. I read a lot and the power of storytelling, like that's what separates like Steve Jobs, Apple, which isn't the best technology out there, but why people would pay that premium compared to something from Korea. 

Amardeep Parmar: Have you had  any like bumps on the road with the storytelling? Because obviously you must have iterated that story a lot of times as well. And how do you build that in a way which really connects with people? Yeah. So what were the different stories you went through to come to where you are today where you feel like you're really able to connect with your audience and people who are buying your product?

Nikita Mehta: I definitely think making it simple and that's the hardest things like explain it on a handkerchief or in a sentence to [00:07:00] somebody. When I started I had around two paragraphs I wanted to say so much and you the audience can only remember one thing or three things max. So for me it was deciding that And then, which is not easy.

It sounds easy if I say now over a hydrating and strengthening hair care brand or ancient secrets for modern hair care. But to get there, it was quite hard. I think I had, gosh, I started with, I wrote down everything I wanted to write, it was like probably like- pages,  and then I had to put it down into like, 300 character limit, I was like, wow, but I don't know.

I, that's, that's how I work. I like to put everything on a table. It's like mental vomit. And then I'll like go through it. 

Amardeep Parmar: But it's even with my own writing background, right? I think that's the best way to do it is where you bring all the ideas together and then the hardest bit is killing the darlings, right?

So you're getting rid of the stuff which you like but it doesn't actually fit the narrative. 

Nikita Mehta: Exactly. 

Amardeep Parmar: And that's where I think a lot of people go wrong is that they're keeping things they like even if it's not really telling the full [00:08:00] picture or it doesn't connect to the other parts. And obviously with your brother as well because there's two of you in there.

Nikita Mehta:  But just on that also, um, you've defined that common red thread. Because I'm be consistent with that storytelling, you can't one day say, okay, I'm all about hydration and then tomorrow be like, I'm all about, I don't know, color or something, something completely different. You know, you have to be very consistent with that message.

And I think that's what breaks like a story  apart.

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And obviously having somebody else on board with your brother, it obviously helps because you can bounce off ideas. I find it's, I sometimes I'm very good at cutting down other people's work. It's very easy to like, okay, this bit doesn't make sense.

That bit doesn't make sense. When it's your own thing, because you care about it so much, it's really hard. And with that relationship, obviously you both bring different skills to the table. What do you feel like is the perfect balance between you? Like what's the stuff that you really enjoy versus what's the stuff that he brings to the table?

Nikita Mehta: That's a good question because I feel my brother's quite an all rounder. He's very creative too and sometimes maybe he feels he doesn't allow [00:09:00] himself because I'm the creative lead. But we're so different that something I won't think of, he'll bring to my eyes and I'm like, Oh yeah, that's right. And then we'll like

come to a sweet spot right now, he's in charge of all like the business side and I'm doing more of the creative and product development, but I think we just have really good communication, trust and like boundaries. Um, not to say we don't fight, like today he just got on my nerves and I was just like about to like, I don't know what, like flip the room.

And now it's just like. We have to deal with it, we're in it together, and we have to find a way. You've got to let your ego, I think, like, push to the side. 

Amardeep Parmar:I'd like to  mention there as well, because it's something I think even with BAE HQ, right, I've got another co-founder, and sometimes you've got that overlap of things you're both interested in, you both want to do.

And it's quite hard to decide who's going to do that, because if you both do it, then sometimes you get in each other's way. And Like how hard is it for you to actually decide, okay, I'm going to do this bit because you said you're both creative. Was it [00:10:00] a struggle at all? Or how did you come to that decision?

What was that process? Because I imagine there's people listening right now who are in that same process of we both want to do this thing, but who gets to do it?

Nikita Mehta: Well, I think if you're both creative, then you who does the business, like a creative person. Whether you're like at an LVMH company in fashion or whatever industry always needs a business next to it, right?

‘Cause that's just, and creative people need a lot of space, a lot of time, breathing room. The reason why this is I'm the charge is because I created the brand and it was all done and I went to him. So he also knows that it was very different. I think if we just like went to an agency or, or he created his own brand, which he actually has, and he has the freedom to do.

And I think he knew it just didn't have, like, he also needs me cause I bring some magic to things and I'll probably do another company together in the future, maybe in body care or skincare. And, um, it's just, we have a good dynamic. Um, but, but he's really good at executing. [00:11:00] Like I said, I could still be in the product development phase and not launch cause I'm content with that, but he's also, I'm ambitious in my own way, but he's, um, Yeah.

Next level ambitious. So I let him take, take the lead. 

Amardeep Parmar: And obviously scaling beyond you two, who was your first hire and how did you decide which roles you needed to fulfill there?

Nikita Mehta: So now it's the team. Like now we're in a great place, like two years, the growth, growth we've had. We went from three people to 30 people, so now mostly me and my brother are delegating, so we have more time to focus on what we enjoy.

People management's like a full time job, so we will hire a general manager. But our first hire was this, uh, a lady, French lady, Estelle, who worked with my brother. Um, my brother has very loyal, like, employees. His intern, she's French, she moved to London, um, and at first it was just us three doing everything, like shipping orders, uh, packing labels, product registrations in new markets, um, website copy, photo shoots, [00:12:00] campaigns, like

anything and everything you can imagine, proper startup, like you're working till 4am and you have, I think every entrepreneur has to go through that. Otherwise you just don't know you, you have to be able to maybe not be the best, but do everyone's job and know what's happening in the company. Now I feel blessed that, okay, I can like relax a little bit

and enjoy and focus on the vision because I think of when I was doing too much and wearing too many hats, it could also become a little bit toxic for the team members because I, how can I give my best if I'm not feeling my best, right? And a lot of founders need to let go of that control.

Amardeep Parmar: Did you find it hard to let go of that control?

Cause that's, what's going to ask next about, if you know, ‘cause the problem is for me, the same thing is like, if you're multidisciplinary, you know, to do a lot of things. It's then very hard to let somebody else do it because they're not doing it the way you do it. How long did it take you to get over that?

Or what did you do to get over that? 

Nikita Mehta: So a couple of things. It was, it was hard for me. Then I realized I have to really invest in myself. Then it was like a lot of journaling, meditation, self care practices, which I'm, which I'm really big on. And [00:13:00] then it was also, how, why am I getting frustrated? I'm obviously not communicating or giving them the right guidelines.

So we started hiring better. Now we hire great talent, people who have at least three to five years experience in the industry. Um, and also it's my responsibility as creative director to brief the graphic design team, give them their freedom. No one wants to be micromanaged, but give them the right tools and the guidelines.

Because if I can't, they can't read my mind, I should be able to put it on paper. And it's very dangerous, I think, for a brand to be so dependent on its founders. Because if something happens to them, or something, or the company gets sold, like the brand has to exist. It's its own personality. And we can only take it so far.

But there'll be a day when me and Akash. We'll have to put our hands up and say, okay, we've taken it too far. It might be five years from now, 10 years from now. I don't know. It's like, you know, it's, it's like a kid. We were, it was infant. Now I feel it's becoming a little teen. One day it'll be a teenager.

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. Cause it's obviously a very different role you've got today versus a year ago, [00:14:00] two years ago. And which parts of it have you enjoyed the most? Like what's the, what's your favorite part that you've been able to go through? Because some founders really love that scrappy early stage where they're doing everything and some prefer the later stage where you delegate more and you get a bit more time to focus on things you do like.

Nikita Mehta: Definitely now. I did not like who I, the person I was like two, three years ago. You grow and you change and you learn like. I am, we're still learning. I didn't know, if you see some of our photo shoots, probably invested a lot more money and I made some mistakes on like, oh, I shouldn't have spent that much on animation.

But, you know, these are little things that you do. But even the quality of our content now, and I feel like, I know at the beginning for any entrepreneur, it's a bit of a test, like, how is your, if we're a consumer facing brand, we're not in salons, you know, there are very few hair care brands like that. So we have to listen to their feedback, know what's working.

I read all the reviews. It helps future product development. So I feel I know the brand better now, too. [00:15:00] Um, and I can make better, well informed decisions. Whereas at the beginning we were kind of testing and I was just following more of my own intuition, but now it's like the what's good for the company, not not what's good for me.

Amardeep Parmar: Is there anything that you wish that you're doing now that you wish you started doing earlier? Like in terms of your own self care as well, you said how you were working till 4am every day and all the stress that came with that. Was there anything that you wish like, oh, I should have started doing that earlier on, it would have been better for you?

Nikita Mehta: Probably like just letting go and it just starts with your mind or even something simple, like now I don't really leave the house if I'm not feeling like, I'm really big on energy, so if I'm in a bad mood, like, I will just sit with myself and watch myself until it, like, goes. So, like, why do I want to bring that energy into somebody else's life, like, if it's not going to add value?

And I'm just a little bit more conscious on my communication. You know, I'm a very direct person. I think some people can, uh, my brother's the complete opposite. He's very, [00:16:00] uh, nice to me. And I can sometimes be like, no. So I just have to. Just how I communicate things. And I think I would have changed that at the beginning.

But it's hard when you're doing 20 things at once. And you're multitasking, because you get so frustrated. Your mind, when you come home from work, you're just like, Wow, what just happened? You know, you barely have time to just like brush your teeth and sleep. So now, just the fact that I have like the luxury, sounds weird, but just like the luxury to like, have a nice meal.

Meditate like go out with my friends. It's just a bit more balanced. And you have to be balanced because that's what we preach, right? Live your values. I'm not gonna be crazy. I still think you can be ambitious. I work really hard still. Like Christmas is my time where I just work for a week. I love the silence.

I work on weekends, Sundays I'm working, but I think you can work now effectively the quality of your work for a couple of hours, not about the [00:17:00] quantity. 

Amardeep Parmar: And what do you think you're working on now in terms of like, what are you enjoying now that you want to do more of in the future or what's something that you haven't done yet that you're really excited about?

Nikita Mehta: I think self care. So we're known for hair oils. I really want to get into body oils. I really want to like. 

Amardeep Parmar: Do you think they'll be under Fable Mane, or do you think they'll be a separate brand?

Nikita Mehta: Uh, probably a separate company. I think Fable Mane should own Haircare as Mane, or, but still linked to it, and The Tiger.

I love traveling, I love the outdoors, so I think combining, um, outdoor wellness, self care rituals, and body care. Because that's really, like, it all starts with body acceptance and self love. And that's what we're trying to bring with our products. 

Amardeep Parmar: A friend of ours, a mutual friend, has asked me to ask a few questions as well.

So what's it like working on your own personal life right now, like outside of the workspace? What things are you doing there?

Nikita Mehta: So on my pers, so I was a meditation teacher in lockdown. I did my teacher training. What I'm starting to do with just a small group of friends is invite them over because [00:18:00] I've had a lot of friends who've told me they're just very anxious or they're not happy with what they're doing.

They don't know how to meditate. They can't sit still with themselves for more than five minutes. So I said, okay, what if I just start a circle? Like four to six people, invite them over. I love hosting every, uh, every month or every other week and just do a short guided meditation, not religious, not even, you don't have to be spiritual, just focusing on your breath.

That's something I'm starting and I'm really looking forward to that. I want to give back to the community and I want to help people and help the planet. And I think I used to, I, I'm a, I do a lot of charity work, but I feel now the best thing that can help humanity is raising their own consciousness and knowing themselves.

And for me, Like meditation's the best way. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah and you mentioned the charity work there as well and obviously with the tiger logo. There's a reason behind that too, right? Yeah. Can you talk a bit about what you're doing out there? 

Nikita Mehta: Yeah, exactly. So the tiger, which you see in our product is the logo of Fable and Mane and it is the animal of India.

So actually a couple of weeks [00:19:00] ago I was in India and I saw my first wild tiger, three female tigers. stunning. They just have the most beautiful home. It's magical. Um, and they're also endangered. There are only 4000 left. There used to be 100, 000 wild tigers like 100 years ago. Um, and though there's such an imbalance, I remember going to a big cat sanctuary in Kent and seeing a tiger in captivity.

And it was like, 14 year old Bengal stunning. I was like literally this far away from it. There was nobody there But it was in this cage and I was walking up and down, i'm like you can't something so beautiful powerful majestic in a cage. It just didn't feel right um, and now having seen them in the wild and so natural and so free i'm like this is what we are longing for.

I knew nothing about wildlife or tigers, and when I just became fascinated by it, I read like every paper, every wildlife documentary, and I learned a lot about conservation, all [00:20:00] self taught, like even their genetics, how to repopulate them. I decided that Fable and Mane may need a mission, and what better way? I'm not going to use an animal just for marketing, especially when it's endangered.

So now we've created our own fund, and we've donated a lot of money towards tiger. Wild tiger protection and education of local communities. 

Amardeep Parmar: So you said you just saw your first target recently. 

Nikita Mehta:Yeah. 

Amardeep Parmar: What do in the future? You're going to go out there more? You're going to try to interact with them more?

Nikita Mehta: Yeah, we're going to go every year. There's such, it's an incredible place. We want to do like a tiger awareness school on like a museum. Um, even the school kids, like there was this one girl I met called KuKushy and I gave her like, we donated to the school just like a backpack with like pens and pencils and she was so happy.

She was like this, I've never had a coloring pen and like a, a pad. And she was the most incredible artist. The whole school of like girls and boys were and the stuff they were drawing. Like today, if you give a kid here, a pen and a [00:21:00] pad, they'll probably join like an iPhone or like, I don't know what the latest game is online.

There they were drawing tiger, peacock, the Indian national flag, and like, just the local animals that they would see. And I'm like, this is so beautiful, like they're so in tune with nature, they're so happy. Even the local people there, like seeing them wake up at 6. 30 in the morning in the mustard fields, the kids are playing in the water and the rivers, like, you know, pumping in the water well.

just with a smile at the face, no alarm clock, like the cows roaming the streets, just they were growing their own vegetables. I'm like, this is what I remember coming back to Heathrow and being like, why is everyone so miserable? Like we have everything, but we have nothing, you know, that's that to me is true.

Well, that's like simplicity, good health, happiness and living with nature. So actually I looked to that place as an inspiring place, not a place of poverty at all, because yeah, they might not have as much as we do. They might sleep in really small shacks. And [00:22:00] yes, we do have to give them like basic sanitation and toilets and things, but they have most, they have happiness and joy, which I don't really see in all my friends faces here, or at least people I know, right?

So you go on the tube station here, like who smiles to each other or says hi. So there's some basic things from humanity that I think you lose when you move into big cities. And I think when you move into the wild and, or mountains or the outdoors, there's something it's where we're from, which is why we feel so connected.

Amardeep Parmar: So I think one of the interesting things about what you do as well is that you started the charity almost straight away as soon as Favorite Remains started. Yeah. Whereas I know a lot of people who think about that, something they're going to do one day. Like, oh yeah, one day we'll start giving back.

And how important was it? to start at the beginning. And did you ever have an idea of maybe we shouldn't do it straight away? Maybe we should wait a bit because obviously it's going to affect the revenue, the profit. How did that decision come about? Was there any doubt about it at all? 

Nikita Mehta: That's a great question because we actually wanted to keep it separate [00:23:00] from the business because if one day like we exit or something, the charity shouldn't be affected.

This is why me and my brother are doing it. We're so committed to it. It's a real personal, it's a passion. Like I love it. It brings me so much joy. My brother is amazing as well. He, he has so many things he wants to do. We were always doing charity with like a lot of street animals, stray dogs, um, and a lot of things in India.

I think now we're just more into wildlife. It's funny. I also think because we're young, we're more relatable. Like when we went to the school, everyone thought we were kids. Like why are they here? Cause I'm so used to seeing like, I don't know, old white men or like just. older people, right? Who they say you retire and then you do charity, but why?

Who makes up these rules? You should be giving back. I'm, we probably can't give as much as we want to now. We're not like a WWF. I don't have a million dollars to just like give, which I would love to. At least if I start now, I'll learn. You can't make change overnight. And especially if it's not from the community, I can't go to a village in India.

Someone who's born and [00:24:00] brought up in London and be like, you should do this and this is what you need. I asked them what they want. She didn't want like the school kids. They didn't want anything. I was like, Oh, can I get you? Like, I just assumed so many things. They're like, no, I just want a backpack. You know, they don't want all these fancy things.

So I think what makes us happy here is very different to obviously what makes people happy around the world. 

Amardeep Parmar: And think about happiness as well with, because obviously sometimes people mix up, I think, success and happiness. And I know people who've got very successful businesses. They're doing, if you look at them on paper, if you look at them on Instagram, they're doing amazingly well.

But that kind of hides the fact of what they actually feel inside. And you mentioned there as well about when you're doing the meditation classes, that a lot of people around you, you think aren't really happy. And how do you find that? Like, how do you, in these people that you know, you consider friends.

Why do you think that is? Why do you think that? They're able to be so outwardly successful yet unhappy  inside. 

Nikita Mehta:Probably [00:25:00] because they're just chasing something that they think will give them happiness and they're dependent on it and then it's like a rat race and addiction and I get it like I'm not, not everyone can do what makes them happy.

You have to pay your bills. And I don't think your work defines you. There are great, you know, people who are, who are happy in life and, and have a spiritual practice, but what they do is completely different, which is great. As long as you do something in your life, it could be a hobby. It could earn you like one pound.

It doesn't matter, but you love it. Right? I think that's so important because we all have a story to tell and like you wouldn't be born on this planet if you didn't have something to share. We're all unique. We're all needed. And I think the biggest thing that every single human probably suffers from subconsciously, it comes from our childhood, is we're not good enough.

And I think if you just get rid of that thought, you're limitless. So you can try everything, even if you fail. I, before Fable and Mane, I had Indian [00:26:00] fashion, like, rental thing. Well, not a rental, but it was like a prom dress, I was selling dresses. And I gave up after like a year. I didn't stick with it. So I had my own little stints.

I did a perfume with Disney that I made so much. I'm invested so much money. I made 10, 000 boxes only to find when it went to the fragrance shop, all my boxes were damaged because I forgot to put a fitment. The bottle of glass was too heavy for the packaging. And I was so annoyed. I was like, I have Disney.

I've let them down. I committed to the perfumer. I put so much money in. My dad gave me a loan. I was like, what's happening? Um, but it was a flop, but I learned a lot, but it wasn't successful. So it's like that, but that taught me the whole process of how a product's launched A to B, how you have to palletize it, how you have to add your lock codes, the testing you have to do, stability, compatibility, so many things, which really helped for Fable.

So I feel [00:27:00] like sometimes we're our own worst enemy. But we have to never give up on ourselves, otherwise, probably that's why only one in many startups succeed, because they're just like, Oh, it didn't happen the first, second or third time. So it's not for me. 

Amardeep Parmar: The way I see it as well, is anything that doesn't quite work out.

It only fails if you don't learn anything from it. If you learn something from it, then even if it... 

Nikita Mehta:Exactly. It's a teaching. It's a teaching.

Amardeep Parmar: It's also, if you enjoy it, if it doesn't make you money, but you enjoyed what you did. Exactly. It's not a failure either, right? 

Nikita Mehta:Exactly. 

Amardeep Parmar:And, I think a lot of people, you can't only judge success by the money side of things, whatever like that.

It obviously does help, it helps your paycheck in the future. But like you said, that thing you did with Disney, it didn't work out. But because you did that, then it enabled you to build Fable and Mane and avoid that mistake with Fable and Mane, right? Because if you didn't make it then, you might have made it now.

Nikita Mehta: Exactly. 

Amardeep Parmar: And maybe that would have tanked Fable and Mane, maybe because you made the mistake now, 

Nikita Mehta: Yeah. 

Amardeep Parmar: You would have given up. 

Nikita Mehta:  So true 

Amardeep Parmar: It's interesting, right?

Nikita Mehta: I could, I could guide even the team, like this is what's meant to [00:28:00] happen, but how would I know if I haven't experienced it? I can read about it. Sure. I can do some course on how to launch a beauty brand.

That's not going to really, that's not real life because real life is full of uncertainty. It's full of, um, things never go the way you planned and you have to be comfortable with the unknown, which is why I don't think entrepreneurship is for everyone because some people really want the security of nine to five and they just want to know that they have a constant paycheck.

I don't know what will happen tomorrow, but then that's also, that's what excites me. It's a danger. Like I love it. I thrive on it and the risk, but I didn't, it makes me feel alive. But I think for some other people, it might be a bit, um, scary. However, like the people who have worked for me in the past, they've gone and set up their own companies.

And I think that's really cool. They were like, and they left saying, Oh, even the Disney project, when that stopped, they said, Oh, actually I'm going to leave now and set up my own company and you've inspired me. And I'm like, Oh, that's cool. I mean, I don't know if it's a good thing. Cause I leave [00:29:00].

I just have that effect. I'm just like, okay, like do what makes you happy. And then they start thinking and they might create like journals or books or whatever, but they're like, I'm so happy because I'm doing me, like great. 

Amardeep Parmar: So when I quit my job to do what I'm doing now full time, yeah, my bosses didn't try and keep me because they said we could pay you more, we could keep you here, but then if we do that, we're holding you back.

They said we'd rather you go out and do your own thing because we think you're going to be amazing and you can be successful rather than you, You keep, like us keeping you here, you'll make us more money, yes, but we'll just feel guilty about it. Like, cause they're entrepreneurs themselves. Right. They're like, they want to see other people that fulfill their own dreams.

Nikita Mehta: Amazing. And also, one day you want to go back, they'll, they'll be there. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. 

Nikita Mehta: So, you know, yeah. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. It's like they said to me, essentially, like if you ever want to come back, the doors open, but we'd rather you left and did this thing that you're really passionate about, then stay here. And we feel like you've kept you in a cage.

And like I said, it really depends on people, right? Some people [00:30:00] they're really happy doing the nine to five and there's no shame in that either. ‘Cause I think both sides can sometimes have this shame thing about each other, right? Like, okay. If you, if you're an entrepreneur, then people are doing nine to fives as slaves.

And people do nine to five say, Oh, they're crazy because they don't understand. But it's actually, it's just different personalities and it's just different phases of life, right? Like it could be in five years time. I want to go back to working for somebody else because I want the stability at that stage.

And I think it's allowing yourself to adapt to time as well and know, okay, this is what's right for me right now. It doesn't mean I have to be like this forever. And a lot of people I think wrap up in the whole identity. I am this person. It's like, yeah, but if you change, you might change and grow and you might know yourself better.

Nikita Mehta: But isn't life change? Like you're probably not the same person you are now. 

Amardeep Parmar:That's like last week. 

Nikita Mehta: Yeah. Exactly. So I think that's what maybe where people get 

Amardeep Parmar: stuck looking at as well. So obviously you've changed quite a lot over the last few years in terms of like how much you've adapted, how much you've grown and how different like your lifestyle is as well.

Right. Because you were going from these [00:31:00] crazy long hours and having to do everything yourself to now having more free time to spend with your friends. And how do you think as a person you've changed and the people you connect with as well? Because as people go through different phases of their life, sometimes the people that were friends with five years ago, maybe they're not friends with now, or maybe they appreciate them in different ways.

How do you think that relationship has changed for you there? 

Nikita Mehta: It's actually been beautiful. I'm so grateful for how supportive they are. Like all my friends, especially the ones from like when I was 18, like, you know, you have your close friends on your five fingers. They're just always saying how proud they are of me.

And it's, I guess from their point of view, like, cause I'm in, I sometimes don't see it, but it's like. Wow, Niki's just had all this success or PR or like, was at number 10 last week and with the King this week, like that would never have happened. 

Amardeep Parmar: Tell us more about  you seeing the King first. 

Nikita Mehta: Okay.  Amazing.

King Charles. He was so nice. He invited us to Buckingham Palace because it was celebrating 50 years of British Asians from Uganda. My father's from East Africa. I didn't know, and [00:32:00] I actually was so empowered and humbled, how much trauma and suffering, like, my dad went through as a refugee coming here.

Like, he's never, he's not very vocal, like, most, maybe most Indian dads are. He doesn't really open up, or he never really spoke about it. They just kind of got on with life. They went through a lot coming here with nothing like literally having from masala chai to baked beans on toast and going having racism at school not even wanted here having 90 days to leave Uganda.

It was really emotional. I saw all the journalism there. They had King Charles had a huge presentation. There were like a hundred people in the room. The palace is so beautiful inside, felt very royal. There were really motivational speaks, the gospel choir singing, um, just felt really, really proud, I think for the first time to be British in this country and how much they've accepted us.

And also the contribution, he said that we as British Asians have brought to the economy, right? I think we're the largest minority in the [00:33:00] UK and we're definitely, we should be proud for what we are also serving the country. 

Amardeep Parmar: It's what you said there about what people the generation above us went through as well.

I think sometimes it's quite easy for people of our age to forget that. 

Nikita Mehta:  Exactly. 

Amardeep Parmar:  And people talk about like patriarchy and things like that. So you've also got to remember like why they think the way they do because they went through some very hard times. And yes, like we might want people to be more open and more, like obviously now our generation is a bit more open.

We talk about problems. But that generation, in some ways, they are the way they are because how tough life was. 

Nikita Mehta:  Exactly

Amardeep Parmar:  And there's got to be some kind of a sympathy between the two generations there. Okay. Like times are hard in different ways, but they went through the hardships that enabled us to be who we are now.

And obviously with my dad, like recently passing away, I always try to remember it's like, he's the one who got himself out of like not poverty, but like, built his way up, right? He's the one who gave me the opportunity to have a life. And I've got to remember that. And even today, like, there's people who are [00:34:00] coming right now.

Nikita Mehta: He couldn't just leave and create a podcast. 

Amardeep Parmar:  Yeah, exactly, yeah. 

Nikita Mehta: My dad couldn't just leave and he loves like DNA and he's really into like, astrology and all of this, but he couldn't just do that. Now he's doing it now, like, post 60. But his first 30 years, he was like, going to Dover, waiting for four hours for the truck to load at the port.

And like loading perfumes on, on lorries, you know, and I think it's that sacrifice, honestly, that really makes us grateful. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And it's one of the things I'm trying to do through this as well is that some people don't have that of the person above them who went through the hardships. They're the people who are going through the hardships right now, and it seemed like that luck and the privilege in some ways, like, how can I create an organization that will help those people who don't have that leg up that I had?

And obviously it's not like I'm from a billionaire background or anything like that, but I had different privileges that other people don't have, and that's enabled me to get to where I am, and that's what we're trying to do through this. 

Nikita Mehta:Good.

Amardeep Parmar: And like looking at the time now, so we've got, [00:35:00] we're going to go for the quick fire questions.

Nikita Mehta: Sure. 

Amardeep Parmar: So the first one is, and it kind of comes back to what we just said about how there's so many people doing amazing things out there in our community. Who are three people you'd like to shout out about the amazing work  they're doing? 

Nikita Mehta:It's definitely Vex King comes to mind. He has, he's a great author of good vibes, good lives and healing is the new high, but he has this amazing Sunday newsletter.

I look forward to it. I look forward to it every week on my news, uh, inbox, and he's just from the heart. He lives through his experience. There's none of this like, you know, preaching guru vibe, um, but he's all about self love and acceptance, which for me is like the key to anything in life, to succeed in anywhere.

What were relationships, business, whatever. Um, so he's amazing. I also want to give a shout out to his wife, Kaushal, who's also a really good friend, and she has great beauty hacks, tutorials for anyone interested in that and self care. And I'll have to give a shout out to my brother, Akash, because he's my co-founder and [00:36:00] my best friend, and he is, has his own podcast, but he's really like my pillar sometimes when, when I need him.

So he gives great business advice for anyone who wants to know how to launch a startup, offers free mentorship. He has his own podcast and he's just always willing to help people. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And like, I'm a fan of all those people as well. So if anybody is listening and wants to reach out to them, make sure you do.

Nikita Mehta: Yeah, definitely. 

Amardeep Parmar: And what can people reach out to you about what if someone they're looking for help and they don't know where to go, or maybe they want to do something like what you've done? 

Nikita Mehta: Yeah, I mean, I can definitely help with any hair care problems. A lot of people, women with postpartum hair loss.

Uh, what should I do? I'm losing my hair. Um, meditation for people who just want to start out or just notice how to watch my breath to relax more. I think anyone can experience who's experienced stress would like to, you know, relax. Um, so yeah, I'd say those two and maybe storytelling. I [00:37:00] mean, I'm really passionate about it and I love crafting stories.

So I think, yeah, help on that. 

Amardeep Parmar: And then on the other side, maybe somebody could get their big break by working with you. So what's something that you need help with? What's something that people can reach out to you about where they can help you? 

Nikita Mehta: I think understanding more accounting, I used to be like, Oh, cash flow, P and L, I'm not good with numbers or math.

So some, even just the basics, I'd love some guidance on, yeah, I think I need to do an accounting course. 

Amardeep Parmar: So I have this thing where my dad was my accountant. Okay. So now I've got to work everything out. Whereas before it was just, oh yeah, he's going to sort it out for me. So I'm now having to go through all of those processes myself.

Nikita Mehta: And yeah, 

Amardeep Parmar:  It's almost in a way I had the.. 

Nikita Mehta: Even tax returns.

Amardeep Parmar:  I'm  like, oh. Before it was just, it was just something I didn't have to think about. I was like, okay, like now I need to do this. It's going to be a big problem later on this year. So I completely feel you there. And it's why a lot of the time you have often founding relationships or founding teams, they have somebody in there who's got some kind of a [00:38:00] finance background.

So my co founder for this, he's got a finance background in venture capital. So I'm hoping he sorts everything out. For this business and that, I might have an economics background, but it's different, right? 

Nikita Mehta:  I agree 

Amardeep Parmar: The accounting side, right?

Nikita Mehta:  I agree. 

Amardeep Parmar:  And like it's been a pleasure to have you on today.

Nikita Mehta: Thank  you so much.

Amardeep Parmar: Have you got any final words to the audience or any message you want to tell them?

Nikita Mehta: Just live your life to the fullest. It's your life. It's one life. It will go by so quickly. So just seize the day.

Amardeep Parmar: Thank you for listening to the BAE HQ podcast today. In our mission to inspire, connect and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs, it would mean so much to us if you could subscribe to our channel, leave a review and share this with your friends.

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