We had the good fortune of connecting with Surbhee Grover and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Surbhee, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Should I, shouldn’t I? – A question that haunts anyone contemplating change. If things are decently comfortable, should I really be looking to make a drastic change? In answering this question, I’ve found it best to look inward. Social norms and consequences only provide noise and distractions. The one thing that helps provide me clarity, is asking myself a different question: “If I didn’t do it, would I regret it?” That’s my litmus test. And if honestly answered, the writing is on the wall as to whether the risk is worth taking.

Taking risks has played a huge part in ensuring I live a life without regrets. It doesn’t mean it’s easy (far from it!) to gamble everything you have (and more) – whether it was moving from Delhi to NY with little/ no resources and where I had no family, or quitting an incredible job in London and leaving a career path I’d worked so hard for, or walking away from a relationship which wasn’t all I wanted – the definition of risk is that you may lose it all, and that makes it incredibly hard to walk away from what you have today. But there is no growth without taking that gamble. And no new possibilities, without the pain.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I recently launched an opulent skincare/ wellness brand: Love, Indus. This brand has been a labor of love for me and is a celebration of my two homes – India and New York. Love, Indus is a journey fueled by nostalgia, culture, energy, and innovation that manifests itself in all that we do.

It is comprised of clean, safe, and high-performance products that combine cutting-edge technology with the best of ancient wisdom, rich minerals, and pure botanicals that have rarely been accessed outside their home regions. Our formula is “India’s regional riches & rituals + NYC’s transformative technology = potent potions”. For e.g. in one of the collections, Amrutini (that helps build skin strength, firmness and radiance), we’ve taken:
(a) Golden Muga Silk from Assam – a rare, wild silk with excellent regenerative and healing properties that has been liquefied prior to inclusion making it easier to absorb.
(b) Makaibari Tea from Darjeeling – a tea so precious, it is only picked on certain full moon nights (dictated by the alignment of various celestial bodies), was BioTransformed to enhance the concentration and efficacy of the botanical, while making it more easily assimilated by the skin.

Conscious beauty enthusiasts can enjoy an immersive skincare experience while benefiting from ancient, powerful ingredients, not easily found in today’s market. We launched in the US in December, 2020 and have enjoyed a strong debut with coverage in InStyle, Byrdie, The Zoe Report, Beauty Independent, Women’s Health and Galore. User feedback on the products (textures, efficacy, packaging, etc.) has also been universally glowing and there has been recognition that our products fulfil needs/ benefits not fully addressed by existing solutions.

The journey has been far from easy – I’d say it’s been incredibly challenging! When you set out to challenge norms, to make exceptional products (in our case, bringing ingredients/ customs never before seen in the category, and yet holding ourselves to extremely high standards of performance, safety and sustainability) – it is a real adventure. And the ambition for the brand and business was to create something wonderful, relevant, and differentiated – that isn’t an easy path. But it is for the very same reason that it has also been incredibly rewarding. We created about a hundred versions of our Amrutini range, before we believed it was ready. It’s been a 5 year journey but it was worth it – to develop an offering set and a brand I believe in.
I think one of the reasons we’ve been able to make it this far, is that, without even realizing it, I’ve been training for this for a long time. I’ve had to chart unfamiliar territory (new countries, cultures, crises) as I’ve navigated my personal/ professional journey up until now. To survive and triumph in these troubled times, we’ve had to be flexible, disciplined, focused on the goal, and have the tenacity to keep finding new solves every time we were tested (which was often!).

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
New York and its energy is amazing – COVID notwithstanding. And while one must make the time for a wander around in Central Park, marvel at the American Museum of Natural History and Oculus, pay homage at the 9/11 Memorial, make a pit-stop at Rockefeller Centre and gaze in awe at the Empire State – there are many other gems to be discovered.

While summer is when tourist season is at its peak, I recommend spring; or even better fall as a time to visit. Ride a subway to Morningside Heights (a neighborhood on the West Side of Upper Manhattan) and spend an hour or two admiring The Cathedral of St. John the Divine (the largest Gothic cathedral in the world) and its gorgeous façade, chapels and gardens. Explore the culturally rich neighborhood of Harlem and indulge in shrimp and grits at Red Rooster. Skip the glitz of the Meatpacking district and opt for the bars in Alphabet City instead. Enjoy the bright lights of Broadway but also give Bushwick (and a burlesque show at Théâtre XIV in Brooklyn) a fair chance – you will not be disappointed. And while you wait for the show to begin, wander around and enjoy the graffiti art boldly displayed on every street of the hood. Save your appetite when you visit the popular food market: Smorgasburg. With over 100 food vendors and international cuisine, this open market is a foodies’ dream.

A week will zip by, and if a few items spill over and require another visit – that might not be a bad thing, after all!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My grandfather played a key role in many ways – something I hadn’t realized until quite recently. He had seen a lot in his life – having lost everything in the Partition (of India/ Pakistan in 1947) and having to start his life from scratch. He had immense strength (not once did we ever hear him complain – no matter what life threw at him, he took it in his stride and dealt with it with dignity).

And then there was his insatiable curiosity – he wanted to know and learn everything – from cryptocurrency to politics in Timbuktu – and we grandkids could never keep up with him, his questions, and his brilliance. Whenever I made the most critical decisions of my life, he always said something that would help clear the fog, and help me realize what really mattered. For these reasons, and many more, I’d want to dedicate this Shoutout Series to him.

Website: https://loveindus.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/loveindus/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/love-indus/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoveIndusNY

Image Credits
Love, Indus

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