I had the pleasure of meeting Shalini Vadhera, the incredible entrepreneuress last April at the We Inspire Summit at Woodbury University and I was instantly blown away! A stunning beauty with a heartwarming personality and a great sense of humor, I just knew I had to share her story!
A San Diego native like myself, Shalini spent most of her childhood traveling back to India and Kenya to visit my her grandparents. Now LA based, she spends quite a bit of time in NY and the rest of her time traveling to source and discover new beauty and wellness secrets for her brands. When she is not out conquering the world you can find her trying new dishes and exploring new places or just catching up to a good book!
[LS] How did it all start? What made you decide to pursue this path?
I traveled quite a bit as a child to visit my grandparents in India and Kenya and would hop and skip over places like Egypt and Singapore. I was truly enchanted with all the gorgeous flight attendants on Singapore and Japan Airlines! And all that travel truly got me interested in what women were doing around the world to look good and feel good. So many rituals that were being passed down and shared. I was intrigued!
When I was 19, my dad gave me a plane ticket to India and told me to go start my own business. I had no idea where to start but I ended up tapping into the surf and golf industry and manufacturing sweaters and shirts for them as my uncles were knit wear manufactures. That took me into Silk Coats that I got into Nordstrom and then a pivot into sterling silver jewelry. But my heart was always in beauty and while I was getting my degree in International Business, I started working at the Clinique counter. My very first makeover was on a woman who ended up buying two things. I remember being so nervous because I had never done someone’s makeup! But the next day I received my first bouquet of flowers and a card that read –“thank you for bringing the smile back on my wife’s face. She has been going through cancer and you made her feel beautiful”. I was hooked! And as someone who had been bullied tremendously as a young girl, I instantly realized the gift of helping another woman with her self-esteem.
I went on to freelance and work with some of the top brands – launching Makeup Forever with Dany Sanz, Laura Mercier with Laura and Samshbox with Dean and Davis Factor. This eventually led me to working on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and launched my career as a celebrity makeup artist.
I was working with so many celebs that a news station in San Diego had me come on to talk about what it was like to be a Hollywood Makeup Artist. That led me to launching the next phase of my career as a Global Beauty Expert going on shows like The CBS Early Show, The Today Show, The View, Extra, E, VH1. Because I had tapped into my passion of travel and beauty I had created a unique voice for myself which led me to get a publishing deal to write my book Passport To Beauty which hit #1 on Health and Beauty Lists in 2006. At the same time, I launched my first beauty brand in QVC, Sephora, and went on to sell it in Victoria’s Secret, Nordstrom, Bendels, Dillards, HSN and QVC UK.
In 2011, I exited my first brand and from there had an incredible spiritual awakening. In 2014 on my way to see a Korean Master, I was struck by lightening. It completely changed my life and I knew that I needed to empower women on a much deeper level. I launched Power Beauty Living to bring mentorship for women, by women (something I felt was hugely lacking when I launched my first few businesses) beauty for confidence and balance for creating a daily routine to give you a warrior mentality so nothing could rock you.
In 2015, I launched my next beauty brand – Passport To Beauty (www.passportbeauty.com) which was all about travel and beauty in a luxurious way. I formulate innovative products based on the secrets I find around the world and marry them with modern day technology. Within months we were on the map with our 22kt Gold Facial Mask that went viral. And soon we had brands, celebs and influencers asking us to create their brands for them. I went on to create The Baywatch Brand for the movie, Turner Classic Movies beauty brand, and a number of subscription boxes owned brands.
I also signed a global media deal in Amsterdam that allowed me to start shooting content around the world as I discovered these beauty secrets which can be found on my youtube channel.
In 2016, I launched Power Beauty Living at The United Nations globally. And shortly after met Hillary Gadsby and decided to take the platform one step further and create The Boss Box (www.thebossbox.com) – a tool kit delivered in a quarterly subscrition that gives women in business the tools they need to thrive. It’s education, motivation, confidence, wellness and leadership in one destination. We then met Heidi Nazurudin and brought her in as our third co-founder. I was truly passionate about creating a community and destination to help empower women in business.
And now? I’m running my two brands, traveling the world, writing my next book and getting ready to launch a very exciting beauty brand for millennials. It’s exciting!
[LS] What steps did you have to take to conquer your goal of being a business owner?
I had to dive right in and learn on the way…day by day as I became a business owner. In launching my first beauty brand, I learned how to personally operate all the moving parts to my business. It was tough but I just did it and learned to give myself a break when it didn’t turn out perfectly.
[LS] How do you manage envy, ego or jealousy from getting in the way of your dreams?
Luckily, I have always come from the school of the world is an abundance place and there’s enough for everyone. I’m really happy to support and see my girlfriends succeed. And I know deep down that my path is my path and it will work out the way it’s supposed to. So that saved me from really ever going down that rabbit hole of discontent with what others were doing and getting jealous, etc.
On the flip side, I have unfortunately experienced a lot of it from other women…which sucks because I don’t believe in it. And it’s unnecessary. I’ve learned to listen to my gut and intuition and at this point in my career, I don’t get involved with those types of people. I usually will find a way to excuse myself from being involved with them. (I implemented a strict no asshole policy a few years ago. If you’re going to be one…then don’t walk through my door lol)
[LS] What are some of the qualities you believe a person must have to build their own business/brand?
Perseverance, a thick skin, laser focus, and the ability to accept feedback gracefully and use that to grow/shift in a good way.
[LS] What do you love most about your profession?
The ability to discover and then create and innovate products, tools and content to inspire and empower women on a global level. And I LOVE traveling the world… for a few reasons. When I am on this incredible beauty and lifestyle hunt I am living in a constant state of wonder. And the bonus of those trips are meeting the most amazing people that are truly an inspiration to me.
[LS] If you were to pinpoint a few tools for success, what would they be?
Make friends! Networking is so important. Developing a tribe of women who are TRULY going to support your goals without any agenda other than to see you win. And looking for resources that provide you tools to thrive. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to create The Boss Box.. To pass on tools and inspiration. As an entrepreneur, you feel like you’re on an island by yourself at times. It’s important to find ways to stay inspired and also resources to learn.. Knowledge is power.
[LS] What advice would you give a young girl about getting out in the “real” world?
Gosh… this is a great question because when I started my first business I was so naïve and got my ass kicked a few times in the school of street smarts vs book smarts. One – find a mentor and reach out to experienced people that are doing what you want to do. It’s easy to reach out to anyone these days thanks to social media. Two – get a job in the field that you want to start a business in so you can learn key lessons in a more corporate structure and get paid for it. Three – Intern while you are in school. Usually as an intern you will be asked to do a lot of different things which allows you to learn from experience seasoned people.
[LS] Finding a mentor is key. Do you have a female mentor or idol growing up who has significantly impacted your life? So important! Yes. In fact, she is still a mentor and now a dear friend to me. She was my entrepreneurship and Marketing professor in college. How? We started going on walks to catch up about 20 years ago. On those walks it was like taking a private class with her. She’s amazing at helping me look at things, strategies and situations through a different lens. And offers so much advice and guidance personally and professionally.
[LS] What / who inspires YOU to get through each day & overcome every challenge?
The desire to leave an impact in this world on helping women look and feel beautiful as well as kick ass in business. I was bullied in the worst ways all the way through high school and then again as an adult in one of my businesses. I know the importance of self-esteem and how that can change your life by giving you confidence and leverage you need to go after your goals. I want to make sure I can pay it forward to other women so they too can thrive.
[LS] What is your definition of BEAUTIFUL?
Confidence, happiness, kindness, love
[LS} What is your favorite shade of Lipstick?
Pink!!! All kinds of pinks ☺ I don’t have just one lol
[LS] Why do you think women organizations like Lipstick Sister are important?
I love what you do. And organizations like yours are so important by creating a community of like-minded women who can support and help each other. Truly a MUST HAVE!
[LS] Do you have a favorite quote that empowers you, if so, share it with us!
Aim High or Don’t Aim At All – in other words….just go for it ☺