Our relationship with beauty is heavily influenced by the culture we grew up in. For model, financier, and philanthropist Pritika Swarup, her Indian heritage is the basis of her beauty philosophy. "I understood [Indian rituals] were powerful from a young age," she says. "I grew up with a mother who was helping me prepare homemade masks and trying to teach me everything about natural skincare."
However, Swarup never felt Indian beauty and the rituals she cherished were represented outside the confines of her cultural community. Raised in Virginia, Swarup was one of few Indian children in her class. When she'd go home and flip through glossy magazines, she saw a lack of inclusivity—no one who looked like her on the pages. "I certainly didn't feel that Indian beauty was celebrated," she tells me.
Meet the Founder
Though it was never something she envisioned for herself, Swarup was scouted as a model at 17. Her front-row seat in fashion continued to illuminate how underrepresented Indian beauty was in the market. However, it was a conversation with Estée Lauder veteran Daria Myers that finally inspired Swarup to address the gaps in representation. "The question that kept popping up was: 'Why wasn't there a brand bringing Indian rituals and beauty to the forefront of the industry?'" she tells me.
From there, Swarup went deep into research mode to better understand how she could fill this void. "I went to India and spoke to hundreds of women to look at what we were missing, whether it was with product offerings or the different desires of women," she says.
The result? Prakti. The skincare brand's name blends two words–Pritika, which means loved one, and Shakti, the Hindi word for female power and energy. It's a fitting moniker for many reasons. Prakti is bringing Indian beauty to the global industry in a way that hasn't been done before. Taking a hybrid approach, the brand is also bridging the gap between Western brands and traditional Indian brands. Every element of Prakti embodies this innovative philosophy, from the forthcoming visual imagery to product formulations. "The ultimate goal is to pull the curtain back on modern India to reveal the holistic beauty and rituals of the East," Swarup explains.
At the same time, she is equally passionate about using Prakti's presence in the I-beauty movement to celebrate multicultural women. "Prakti's larger purpose is to go beyond the beauty space to empower women to fearlessly pursue multi-dimensional, fulfilling lives," she explains. "I want Prakti to be a platform that not only brings modern India to the forefront of the industry but also allows women to connect and feel lifted when using our products, going on our website, or looking at an illustration incorporated in a campaign."
The Brand's Mission
Prakti will launch in September. While specific product details are not yet available, Swarup revealed the brand's initial product lineup is designed with its millennial and Gen-Z audience in mind and includes exciting surprises in each product.
"We did not simply repackage or refresh traditional Indian and Ayurvedic ingredients, but instead created innovative hybrid formulas that fuse the cultural richness and spirituality of India with the contemporary energy and technologies of the West," Swarup says. "I am intimately involved in every aspect of product development, from envisioning each product to choosing key ingredients, changing textures, reconfiguring formulas, and testing it all with the lab. I can’t wait for everyone to see this come to life.”