You’ll Be Thrilled to Cherish The Man With Conglomerate Ardours And Is Truly Adamant! Meet the High-Flying Entrepreneur.
Talent: Akash Mehta @mehta_a
Photographer: Alberto Vitaloni @albertovitaloni
Stylist: Nikita Jaisinghani @nikitajaisinghani & Akash Mehta @mehta_a
PR: Fashion Politique PR&Media @fp.pr
Akash Mehta is truly an inspiration who walks with no loss of enthusiasm and wears confidence. His glory never lets any corner face the dark side. From fully embracing ambiguity and serenity to being challenged over and over again, his mind achieves whatever he conceives and believes. Keep reading to know all about him!
1) Welcome to L’Officiel! Firstly, talking of all the remarkable work you have done so far, which was the moment you felt most proud of yourself?
The whole experience of building Fable and Mane has made me feel so proud; of myself, my sister and the whole team who has helped make the brand what it is today. If I had to pick my top three highlights so far, they would definitely be our Sephora window in Dubai Mall, being on a billboard in Times Square, and recently being invited to 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace in recognition of our work as British Asians in Business – definitely moments I’ll cherish forever.
2) You have been placed on the “30 Under 30” list. Give some tips to other exceptional entrepreneurs who aspire to achieve it as well.
Whether you’re in a company as an intrapreneur or building your own company, always strive to innovate and make a difference, regardless of the odds against you. The first step is action and whatever the scenario, you have to just dive in and do it to the best of your ability – even if you sometimes fall short. I was the first 30 Under 30 list-maker in Dior and in such a big conglomerate it can be hard to make changes, especially in a heritage brand. But I always knew my duty was in striving to make a difference and driving Dior into a sustainable future, so I tried to articulate this clearly to my leadership team in every new project I launched. I think having this drive and passion behind everything helped to set me apart and create an impact in my short 3 years there.
3) What struggles did you face being the youngest-ever Global Digital Manager at Dior?
Honestly, I did face a few barriers. Ageism was the hardest to overcome. People often felt I couldn’t have the experience or capability to do the job based on my age. I tried my best to explain that experience is not always linear or time-dependent. I had previously been the youngest manager globally at Estée Lauder Companies at the age of 21 and did over 13 internships before I went to university, so I knew I was experienced in my own way to tackle the job I was hired for. Luckily, I was able to look past it and used my age as an advantage. Being 23 at that time allowed me to connect with the people I was managing because I was often the same age or younger than them. I was able to understand their needs in the workplace and I think my managing style was all the better for it. It was hard but after a few months, it became a lot easier. Remember, the most important thing is to listen to yourself first.
4) We’ve seen you work really hard and also work as the host of your ‘Founded Beauty’ podcast, how much do you love being there?
I love speaking with such amazing entrepreneurs from all over the world and creating a space where we can inspire and help each other. My podcast has given me a chance to connect with people that I’ve looked up to for so long and have inspired me to create a beauty brand of my own. Each episode reshapes and adapts my own view on the world and the beauty industry and I think there is something to be said for always striving for a fresh perspective. I’ve had nearly 200 beauty brand founders on the podcast and it’s growing each and every day. What started as a passion project has truly become an integral part of my business and life today, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this.
5) Working also as a board member and investor in LVMH’s Patou and a co-founder of the Fable Fund, how do you manage to juggle the many roles of your life?
It is certainly a challenge at times to balance my time management; juggling so many roles means I work very long days and struggle to switch off. However, I love everything I do and I think when you have that passion for something, it doesn’t feel stressful. I’m lucky that I have a great team around me that I can trust to get the work done so when a particular project needs my full attention, I know that my other responsibilities are in good hands. I am trying to work on my schedule a little bit though, to make sure I’m carving out sufficient time for each project but also for my personal life too such as gym, my family and my me time. Balance is very important but I’m still figuring it out.
6) As a global guardian of UNICEF if you were given a chance, what would be the one thing that you would like to change in the world?
I have an innate passion for nature and animals. Everything I do really comes back down to my love for the wild. I think if I could change one thing, I would first help all wild animals thrive in their natural habitat. That is one of the reasons my sister and I set up our charity, The Fable Fund, making sure our brand has its roots firmly planted in wildlife conservation.
7) You have an exceptional brand ‘Fable and Mane’; we want to know the inspiration behind it.
Fable & Mane is very close to home for me. The inspiration came from my grandmother who used to oil my and my sister’s hair with incredible Ayurvedic ingredients. While massaging them into our hair, she would read us stories, so story time and haircare rituals is what we grew up with – thus the name Fable & Mane (Story & Hair). It was such a wonderful ritual with fantastic benefits and we really wanted to renew those traditions and share them with the entire world. We played with this concept of returning to our roots, meaning our Indian heritage but also the roots of our hair. When you have a problem, you should start from the root, in hair and in life and we found great inspiration in that concept. But honestly, from the initial concept to building the brand, the whole process has been inspirational to me and I find inspiration in the work we do every day. This is truly a homage to my late grandparents, who are sadly no longer with us, but I know would be so proud of what we’ve built today!
8) Give us a glimpse of the projects that you are planning to do but we don’t know about yet.
I’m so happy to say that there are a lot of projects in the works as we speak. Our Fable Fund is always a priority and we have some really exciting plans including filming a mini documentary-style series to educate people on the importance of wildlife conservation surrounding big cats in India and Africa. We did this from the lens of building a charity in real time, so on the ground seeing the conservation work we are doing and filming all the stakeholders involved – the big cats, the villages, the guards and the local authorities. My sister and I just visited Bandhavgarh National Park to see the tigers and later this year will be travelling to South Africa and Namibia to help the cheetahs and leopards. We are building a long-term plan to also launch fundraising galas and create products for which 100% of the proceeds will go to the fund. This is just the beginning of what we envision as a global charity making a global impact for the wild.
9) Apart from working on so many projects, we are keen to know how you spend your leisure time.
I don’t have as much leisure time as I would like but fitness is very important to me. I feel my best self and know that I produce my best work when I look after myself, so going to the gym, boxing or even hiking are always at the top of my list. Mentally, I love escape rooms and puzzles, so even when I’m relaxing, I like to keep my mind busy. I’m an electrical and electronic engineer by degree so I guess that’s why I need to consistently stimulate the brain. Last but not the least, I’m a secret singer! A fun fact about me is I used to busk on the streets and even recorded a few covers which you may find on Spotify. I don’t sing much anymore but I am always up for karaoke.
10) Spill some beans about your love life with such a busy schedule.
I guess you could say that is the one thing I’m missing in my life. I haven’t prioritised dating over the few last years. I’ve focused my energies on building my career and between so many commitments, there just hasn’t been the time for dating. It’s not to say you can’t have both but I definitely chose to invest in my career and have no regrets. I’m so grateful for all the experiences I’ve had in my 20s. My 20s allowed me to form a relationship with myself and hopefully in my 30s, I’ll find a partner for life. I really believe in timing and I’m sure when the right person comes around, it will be when I am ready to make space for a relationship, no rush.
11) Many of our lovely readers aspire to become like you, any piece of advice for them?
I would say looking up to people and feeling inspired by people is wonderful but in life, no two pathways are the same. I don’t think any of us find success or happiness by following someone else’s footsteps too closely. So, be your own self and always focus on what makes you happy. As I said before, when you love what you do, it shouldn’t feel like work. Everyone has a different story, different opportunities and a different journey, even if the destinations are similar. So be yourself and never lose sight of you.