Sonam Uttamchandani a daughter, sister, wife, and now CEO of Founders Beauty.
Ever since her adolescence, helping others has always been the driving factor that propelled her through all her endeavors.
Being a very driven person and always working hard, she excelled through high school and was ready to head to university. Her dad wasn’t quite ready to let her go, so he advised her to take a year off after her high school graduation. While this was unlike Sonam, the love for her dad was paramount. With her brother, they spearheaded the nonprofit arm of their family’s growing organization. She developed a program that helped and continues to help underprivileged children in the Philippines attain proper education. Once the nonprofit was running successfully, she went on to pursue psychology and complete her university education in the UK. While on a break from university Sonam began to feel extremely tired and ill. She was also experiencing a severe case of adult acne. Sonam had experienced acne before but never as it was in 2011.
Something wasn’t right, she not only felt fatigued but the acne, which was only getting worse, began to become painful, “It was not pleasant” she says. She decided to seek medical help for her acne. Her dermatologist who had seen her a month prior without acne immediately recommended Roaccutane to help cure the acne. Before they could prescribe it, she needed to have blood work done. The results from the lab revealed her numbers were not normal.
“Now I look back and think, my acne was a blessing in disguise, without it I would’ve never known my numbers were off.” Thankfully her parents did not take this lightly. Being extremely supportive and loving parents that they are, they immediately took her to Singapore to address the underlying health issues the blood work revealed. With the help of an amazing team of doctors, she was officially diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, one where her immune system was attacking her liver. “The liver? Really?” Everyone was perplexed given that they had no history of autoimmune conditions in the family, nor did Sonam ever drink or smoke, and still doesn’t till today.
They were grateful that the condition was treatable. To recover from this autoimmune disease, her doctors gave her instructions to stop using any products that contained parabens, sulfates, SLS (sodium laureth sulfate), and other harmful chemicals. This included toothpaste, shampoos, body washes, lotions, creams, serums, and other self-care products that are used on the skin or ingested. Not only was this overwhelming, but coupled with extreme changes in her diet, these restrictions were almost demoralizing.
For many women, self-care is part of their daily routines. Being able to use and enjoy common products found at a local store without thinking twice, was no longer viable for Sonam. You can imagine the obstacles that were faced when Sonam was told by her doctors that just about every common facial cleanser, body lotion, and shampoo wasn’t allowed to be used on her skin. With the support of her parents and family, she knew
she would overcome this disease. She believed that the first step to healing was self-care, and that was something she wouldn’t give up on. Putting work and school on hold, driven to heal, Sonam decided to take matters into her own hands.
She switched out processed foods for organic and fresh home-cooked meals. When it came to skincare, she traded tretinoin for tea tree oil and benzoyl peroxide for lemon juice! “Don’t get me wrong, I fully support dermatology and even asked the help of one when I was starting to use natural products. Luckily, he was also a fan of a minimalistic routine free of synthetics. He was also a firm believer in natural ingredients and its ability to supplement the treatment of western medicine.” Sonam says.
Just weeks after being diagnosed, Sonam began creating her natural products, igniting her passion for creating all-natural skincare.
With time her skin began to clear, and her friends and family started to take notice. Everyone began asking her how her skin looked so fresh after a long night or a long flight. Naturally, her friends and family started asking her to make products to use on their skin. Although this wasn’t a business quite yet, she would craft products for her friends and family simply because she loved helping others.
There seemed to be one issue with the products she had created. When her friends and family received their products, they noticed it would only last a couple of days since it was so organic and contained no preservatives. Even after her friends and family pushed her to create a line of her own, Sonam never considered turning her passion into a range of products.
Instead, she was determined to educate herself on living a healthy life. She went on to obtain her degree in psychology and became a certified health coach. On top of that she also graduated from the Management Acceleration Program at INSEAD to further her career.
It wasn’t until after she got married, while on her honeymoon in New Zealand, Sonam had an epiphany! After discovering so many amazing products she thought to herself, “Maybe I’ll curate a line of amazing products and bring them to the South East Asian region!”. This was something she thought would be feasible given everything else she was doing. This inspired her to take what was a passion project to an actual business. When she returned home from New Zealand, she had a list of companies that she would curate products from to sell. Call it fate, call it destiny, but the first phone call she made ended up being a formulation lab.
Fast forward to today, eight years of creating products for herself and three years of formulating and testing, Founders Beauty is finally here! Sonam creates products with all of the ingredients she knows and loves. She never sacrifices the quality of ingredients chosen for each product. All ingredients are ethically sourced and taken from where they are most potent. We truly believe that it is important to nourish your skin, and through that, you will nourish your mind, body, and soul.
“I will always ensure that Founders Beauty products are suitable for vegetarians, cruelty-free, and free of harmful synthetic ingredients so that anyone can use them.”
- Sonam Uttamchandani, CEO of Founders Beauty