I am CEO

CEO Builds Men’s Confidence Through Skincare

Full Episode from I AM CEO Podcast - IAM1971

In this episode, we dive into an insightful conversation with Lekha Vyas, the founder and CEO of ELVY Labs, a men's skincare brand.

Lekha shares her journey, the inspiration behind her brand, and the process of building a simplified skincare routine for men. Join us as we explore the thought process behind creating ELVY Labs and the impact it has on men's self-esteem and confidence.


Lekha Vyas gives us a glimpse into the world of ELVY Labs—a skincare brand dedicated to building men's confidence and self-esteem.

Through her commitment to understanding consumer needs and creating products that are effective, simple, and clean.

Lekha has carved a niche for ELVY Labs in the skincare industry. Her journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs, highlighting the importance of self-awareness, seeking help, and making a positive impact on people's lives.

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Full Interview:


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Lekha Vyas Teaser 00:00

So that was really the promise of our brand to keep the consumer at the forefront. And as we build more product lines in the future, that's really going to be our process where we ask real consumers what they want and then build it for them.

Intro 00:11

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs?

Entrepreneurs and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview. If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:38

Hello. Hello. Hello. I have a special guest on the show today. I have Lekha Vyas of ELVY Labs. Lekha, super excited to have you on the show.

Lekha Vyas 00:46

So good to be here. Thank you for having me. And I can't wait to chat with you.

Gresham Harkless 00:51

Yes, I absolutely love all the awesome things that you're doing. And before we obviously jump into the interview, I'm going to read a little bit more about Lekha, so you can hear about some of the awesome things that she's working on.

And Lekha, is the founder and CEO of men's skincare brand Elvy lab. She launched the brand back in November after 15 years of working for other beauty brands, including Estee Lauder, Chanel, and JLo beauty.

And seeing such a huge gap in the market for skin care, specifically for men, she wanted to create a simplified routine that wasn't intimidating, so she came up with a four-step guided regimen for men with products that are 100 percent clean, science-backed, vegan, and cruelty-free.

Lekha's inspiration for the brand came not only from her time in the beauty and skincare industry, but from her background. She grew up in India and saw her male family members and friends struggle with skin issues and pour herself a seam because of it. She made ELVY Lab's mission to provide men with accessible, unintimidating and masculine looking skin care so that they can stop borrowing their girlfriend or sister's projects and feel confident about having a skincare routine catered specifically to them.

And the thing I absolutely love about Lekha's brand and about what she does is that she has so much experience with the industry. If I'm right from working in the M and A sales before starting her brand. But one of the biggest things that, we're always reminded of is to know your why for why you're starting anything.

So I absolutely love your mission and how important, that skincare is and how it goes hand in hand with self-esteem. So like us super excited to have you on the show. You're ready to speak to the I Am CEO community?

Lekha Vyas 02:22

Hey guys, I'm so excited to be here and can't wait to share more about the brand, why I built it, all the goodness about it, and I will have a little code at the end for you guys to try it as well.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:34

Nice, super exciting. And we definitely want to hear all the awesome things that you've been able to build and create. But I think one of the best ways to start, I usually think it's to rewind the clock a little bit. Hear a little bit more on how you got started. What I call your CEO story.

Lekha Vyas 02:45

All right. So I know you shared a really thorough background on me. So just a quick rerun of my background. So I started my life in consumer. So I actually, I started my career proctoring when I was right out of college, which is the consumer hub. And then I moved to brands like L'Oreal, Chanel beauty, Estee Lauder, most recently launched Jennifer Lopez.

And then, it's obviously growing up I did see a lot of, I have a huge Indian family and I saw a lot of my cousins even friends. I grew up as a tomboy and I just saw when you hit puberty, like your body's changing, your skin is changing, everything is changing. And I saw like boys at that age, didn't really have a lot of avenues of going to their parents or friends or just discussing how they were feeling.

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Whereas women like. We're getting our eyebrows done. We're doing waxing. What's not right to your body changes. And at the same time, you have to adapt. So, our young youth at that time, obviously, and even now don't really have a lot of avenues. And what happens is that the way you feel in that moment, there's a lot of insecurities that develop lack of self-esteem and confidence.

It goes into your adulthood if you're not. Obviously working on self care, taking care of yourself and just looking for avenues where you can just feel more confident, look good and feel good. So that's a big part of our everyday life. Women have a massive makeup aisle in a store that they can leverage when they want to feel good.

But our men usually don't have too many options. Now, grooming is getting better, but still, I think there's a lot more work that needs to be done. So that was really my inspiration when I was in these large beauty companies. I thought there was so many products that are out there for females, but we're not doing much for our male youth.

And so I wanted to create something that really for men. so what I did was I actually seeked out before we built a brand, we seeked out what our consumers wanted and we built exactly that.

Gresham Harkless 04:37

Nice. I absolutely love that. I would love to hear more of what that process when you were trying to find that information.

Lekha Vyas 04:43

Of course, I think for every entrepreneur as well you never want to jump in blind, right? We always know that there is an opportunity in the market. It is, it's a big gap, but then understanding why is a gap is I think super crucial. So what I did, I actually did consumer research before I even, thought about this idea.

So we asked our consumers and kept them at the forefront of the brand. And that's how we actually built it. So, but they echoed all of them. I want something effective. So, this is why we actually got a dermatologist and scientists in our lab to actually help. Curate the formulation and, of course, my background really helps, because I've done product my whole life.

And the 2nd thing was the simplicity, right? Men are very simple creatures. They're very minimalistic.

And as we build more product lines in the future, that's really going to be our process where we ask real consumers what they want.

And then voted for that.

Gresham Harkless 05:33

Yeah, all those things are huge. So I know you showed us the products and you touched on a little bit. Can you tell us a little bit more on like how the men can use it? What, use cases of products and how exactly they can have that great skincare.

Lekha Vyas 05:45

So, like I said, our products are science fact, right?

So I'm going to dive quickly into each product. So people understand really what is truly different, right? So, when I compare a larger brand, I won't take names of my competitors, but there are some large brands that are out there and why my product, I believe is different and better.

The way we approach this set of 1st product line. As we wanted to be like, all right, you just need 1 simple regimen, right? If you stick to it, you're going to age gracefully. You're going to immediately see results because it is scientifically made. It's almost a dermatologist brand, but it's vegan and plant-based. That's something we want to make sure it's clean beauty.

So the way this works is number 1 is our cleanser, right? So boys and men, please stop using your 6 and 1, whatever you use the gels and so bars. Don't use that because you're going to strip your skin. And you're going to age faster. You're going to be more prone to breakouts and wrinkles, right? And of course, use that on your hair.

You're going to lose hair. So don't do that. Instead of using the soap bar, use a cleanser. So this is an acid-based cleanser. Our plans are made out of glycolic acid, all fruit acids. So what they do is they seep into your purse and really do the job from inside out. Men do have different skin. So you need to use products that cater to your skin type.

So the number 2 is our brightening. So this is basically vitamin C, vitamin E, and see you for and it's got nice in mind as well.

So these are key ingredients when it comes to have, brightening your skin, even skin tone, minimizing acne scarring, because we have all gone through that. We still go through that and the massive sun damage. I'm very prone to freckles. A lot of people are as well. If they have melanin in the skin, and this really helps reduce that.

So our product is it's actually. Plant-based retinol. So this area is much thinner under the eyes than your skin. So you want to make sure as we age, this is where we see the first signs of aging. So you want to make sure you're hydrating it with the right products.

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So what this has, it has caffeine, shea butter. Vitamin E and Revanage. Revanage is the plant-based retinol, so it really helps with cell turnover and reducing fine lines and wrinkles and your crow's feet, but also these Pantoballs.

In the morning, I like to put it in the fridge before I shower, and when you rub that, the circulation goes around your eyes. It helps wake your eyes up, also with caffeine, if I didn't mention that. So this is really good as an anti-aging regimen, and we just wanted to make sure that our customers have a one-stop shop for all their skin care needs, and this is tested on sensitive skin as well. It has a light, subtle citrus bergamot scent to it.

Very subtle. So you're not smelling like perfume all day, but it serves all skin types. It's hypoallergenic. So anyone that has allergies, you're good to go.

Gresham Harkless 08:33

Nice. I truly appreciate you breaking that down.

So I believe you touched on this a little bit, but what would you consider to be like the secret sauce for yourself or the brand or a combination of both? Is it your background and all the awesome things you've been able to accomplish and do within the industry and being able to bring that over to the simplicity of the brand and be able to make sure that, it does help out men.

Do you feel like that's part of the secret sauce?

Lekha Vyas 08:55

Absolutely. I know you like we obviously touched on this already. I think my secret sauce is especially compared to other founders in my space is that I have studied this area, right? It's I've gone to school for it basically for the last 15 years.

So I know this inside out. I think what really also helps me understand is because I have been analytical. I've been on the sales side. I've been on supply chain side. I think it gives me a very holistic view of our consumers needs.

So, to me having the background and beauty as well as having the background of the science piece of things really helps me put consumer at the forefront and creating like, what they want.

So that's just always going to be what our brand stands for.

Gresham Harkless 09:34

Yeah. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book or a habit that you have, but what's something that you think makes you more effective and efficient?

Lekha Vyas 09:46

I will speak out of experience, and this is something I struggled with as well. Like, when I was, in my youth, lose the fear and ego of seeking help. Like, when I started this journey, I was so scared of asking for help. I didn't think other CEOs because I was still like a senior executive, but I wasn't like a founder or like a CEO of a company.

I was still. 1 level below CEO. So, like, when you create your brand and this entrepreneurial journey. Lose the ego and lose the fear of, Oh, my God, what are people going to think of me? Are they going to think I'm not smart enough? You have to lose that because it's a very, very lonely journey to have your emergency contact, build your support system, build your mentor group, because it's a very lonely journey.

I still question myself all the time, and if I didn't have that, it's so easy to fall apart and drown in the self doubt. So. Just, I would say for everyone lose the ego because more than 90 percent of the time people are just really excited to help other people succeed and they're willing to help.

So build that support system. However way you need to.

Gresham Harkless 10:51

Yeah, absolutely.

And so I know you share a lot and you shared a lot of with us today as well, too.

What I wanted you to do now was jump in a time machine, go back in that starting the business phase and what advice, what CEO nuggets, what would your tell your younger business self if you were to happen that time machine?

Lekha Vyas 11:11

I would say be self-aware and be honest with yourself, which I think a lot of people, and I've seen a lot of people even like much down the line in their career.

They're just not honest with themselves on their skillset. Like I think from the get-go, when I started working on the brand close to launch, I quickly knew where, what I was lacking. And what my strengths were and what my opportunity areas were, and I'm very honest about that even now. So I don't have a marketing background. I have done everything else under the sun, but not marketing.

And I was like, oh, I've done brand marketing, top-line type of marketing, and I'll figure it out. But no, you have to be very honest about what your strengths are and fill in the blanks with people that are smarter than you in those areas that you lack, because for any brand to be successful, you have to just make sure that 1st and foremost, you're very clear about where you need help and get the right people to fill in those roles again, the ego has to go right where I'm like, I'm the founder.

I'm the CEO. A lot of founders get stuck in that thing. And it's even like 15 years I still see that founder mentality of there's some, insane founders out there that are very, it's their bad and they want to do things their way. But I don't think that's the right way to think about things.

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I swore to myself. I'll never be the founder and I would always. Be honest about how I can help grow my brand. And if I don't have the skillset, I will get somebody else to do it for me.

Gresham Harkless 12:40

Yeah. And I wanted to ask you a follow-up for that because I almost feel like you probably have had a bigger advantage by having that background in the industry where you're thinking about hiring somebody like somebody who's not in that industry, doesn't know who exactly they're looking for.

They don't know what to hire for. Has that helped you as far as hiring?

Lekha Vyas 12:59

I think that has helped me because I think overall, I just know growth marketing, digital marketing, social media marketing. So I think I know those holes rather easily, but what doesn't really help is that because you have been in corporate for 10, 15 years, the people, are now at a very senior level, right?

So finding the right talent, it's still a challenge and that's where you need to like, do your heavy networking. That's when your support group comes then the other founders come in.

So, really talk to other founders a lot, because they're the ones like, they're hiring a challenge and you want to leverage each other to really just be like, hey, let's share resources. And problems and just build things together. So that's what I think I had to pivot and shift to still know that, okay, I know I have to fill these gaps, but where do I find those people?

It's still going to be a challenge.

Gresham Harkless 13:48

Nice. Absolutely love that. So now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So what does being a CEO mean to you?

Lekha Vyas 13:58

I think personally to me it's all about making an impact.

Anything that my mom was, I grew up in a pretty Liberal family, and it sounds like my mom was a surgeon and it's unfortunate that she's end of her life now. But to me, this is it's a, I want to build a legacy for her because anything you do in life, make sure it has some kind of positive impact on people's whether it's a job, whether it's a recreational activity, whether it's charity, or whether it's your business make sure somewhere behind.

Whatever you're doing, there is an impact to people or, your user group.

And when I compare male versus female, it's just like same job, same age, same everything.

Females are faring slightly better. And I'm just like, guys, About time to step up to, so, I would love to find avenues for you guys to feel your best, look your best, build that alpha confidence that, you want to grow up with. So, I think to me, that is such a strong, positive impact because it also leads back to mental health.

And, as we age, mental health becomes more and more crucial. So, I just want to make sure I'm doing something that's super helpful.

Gresham Harkless 15:02

Yeah, and I absolutely love that definition and that perspective. So Lekha, let truly appreciate your time and, of course, appreciate all the awesome things you're doing.

What I wanted to do now is just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and listeners know, and of course, how best they can get ahold of you. Find out about all the awesome things that you're creating. Of course, that coupon code that you mentioned too.

Lekha Vyas 15:19

Yeah. So I would love for you all to try it. The code is actually giving you 25 percent off and I'm going to keep it active throughout the rest of the month. It's gc25. So that gives you 25 percent off for the rest of the month on all the products, including the bag.

You can reach me on my socials on ELVY_Lab., and I'll pop up somewhere in there as, with my personal Instagram as well. So please reach out and, always willing to help.

If you guys have advice, feedback, we love that and, reach out, ask me anything if you want.

Gresham Harkless 15:54

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much again, Lekha, and to make it even easier, we're gonna have the links and information in this show notes as well as that coupon code so that you can take full advantage of it.

I appreciate you for doing all the awesome things, making the world a better place.

And of course, the time that you took the day. So I hope you have a phenomenal day.

Outro 16:10

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I Am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and everywhere you listen to podcasts.

Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. This has been the I Am CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless Jr. Thank you for listening.

Instagram: lekahontas
Instagram: elvy_lab
LinkedIn: lekhavyas


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