Aishwarya Iyer is the Founder and CEO of Brightland, a modern pantry essentials brand. Made on a family run farm in California's Central Coast, Brightland offers authentic olive oils and fruit forward vinegars with a traceable supply chain and elevated design. In this episode, Aishwarya shares with us her journey from growing up in Houston, Texas, to working at L'Oreal in the Luxury Products Division at Lancôme, to working in FinTech and venture capital, to realizing that she was getting stomach aches from the olive oil she was using at home, which inspired her to create Brightland. She talks with us about the lessons she's learned along the way in building her business, how the brand celebrates artists with each new flavor, and why empathy is her greatest leadership quality.
“I went to a venture firm, spent some time there, but realized that I actually love operating. I love being in the weeds of a company and being a part of that growth rather than sitting on the sidelines.”
“Eventually I took my own just digging into why I had this fear or kind of working it through with my own inner critics. It was a lot of deep work that I had to do to then be like, you know what? I am going to try this and do this.”
“People are discovering brands and entities on their phones and people's attention span is two seconds. So I think that it is important to have, if you can, something that's striking, that is memorable, and that then usually means that there's a design aspect to it.”
“It's a numbers game. You have to talk to a lot of people. And it's tiring because it's taking up time that you're like, oh, well, I could be furthering the business or doing something to push the envelope or push the ball forward. But then when you meet the people that make sense for you, then it clicks into place.”
“Always having a mindset of abundance over scarcity... If you're playing the scarcity game and feeling that, then the person on the other side can feel it, too.”
“I think we also have the luxury because we are a small team and I'm building this with a lot of intentionality and not just trying to like blitz scale it in any way, so we have capacity to be a bit more thoughtful about who we're bringing on.”
“If wellness and what you're kind of ingesting can be considered beauty, then our product certainly can be."
“Your website is basically your storefront, so really understand the story that you want to tell. The more personal you can tell, the greater resonance and customer loyalty you'll build.”
“When you feel like you're getting overwhelmed, just take one step forward at a time rather than looking at the big picture.”
“Your team is everything, and you are nothing without them and being able to recognize that and celebrate them and be able to understand. Empathy is important for everything.”