Yasmin Khan is Challenging Norms with Khalm Skincare

Khalm Skincarekhalm, an absolute necessity in the luxury skincare aisle, was a new idea in 2017 that rested on the infusion of the most fashionable scent on the planet, oud, along with natural luxury skincare.

As a child, I grew up in Pakistan, relishing and reveling in the fragrance of oud in my ancestral home through the burning of agarbatti. As an adult, I found it in high end, expensive fragrances from Byredo and Tom Ford. Why was it not found in skincare, when the research showed its high antioxidant and healing characteristics? I knew oud essential oil would be a perfect addition to a modern woman and man’s skincare ritual, combining spirituality, scent care and the care of your skin in one bottle.

Establishing Khalm Skincare was the beginning of a journey to challenge the norms placed upon me as a South Asian woman in her 40s in the beauty world.

I was excited about the prospects of this revolutionary new idea in skincare but absolutely frightened of being its chief champion at the age of 44, when the concerns of raising a family were paramount. How could I take on this great big dream and challenge societal and parental norms at this age?

The simple answer was that it did not matter in the face of the ultimate goal which was too important to let expectations and norms get in the way. I did, however, need to implement strategies to challenge these norms for my company to thrive. Here are three strategies that helped me to realize this dream:

Strategy 1: Role Reversals

My 12-year-old became an outstanding kitchen cleaner, straightener and laundress while my 8-year-old watched and followed. They knew that for my dream to succeed, they needed to give a helping hand. Both became curators of their own breakfasts and lunches. They also started to rely more on their dad. What a novel idea!

As Socrates says, “to find yourself, think for yourself.” So the whole family found themselves, including me as the CEO and founder of Khalm Skincare.

Strategy 2: Fake It Till You Make It

This applies to those above 40, too. It’s fine to say yes to everything then figure out the map.

‘Fake it till you make it’ is a value-added strategy. Saying yes to manufacturing in Paris when I had never manufactured anything in my life, saying yes to my first master’s program in 2017 when I had no idea what the words ‘narrative’ or ‘brand’ meant, saying yes to a second master’s program in 2020 when I was uneducated about running a startup, all had to begin from nothing.

Today I am a double master’s graduate, and all Khalm products are made in France. I fake no more. My point is that you have to enter the room by sometimes faking your strengths. There is nothing wrong in that.

Strategy 3: Share Your Vision

Having entrepreneurial partners who have the same dreams for your company is a necessity whether you are in your 20s or 40s.

Having my husband investing, and another developer in France involved, was a key factor in me launching Khalm Skincare. They say you only need one person to believe in you. Well I had my man and the French man. I was beating the odds but first I had to tell someone my dreams.

No matter the dream, the work is the same. A key component to all these strategies is consistency, and the mindset that life does not end after 40.

South Asian women need to see and share more stories like mine. I am honored to share my experiences to anyone who is interested. But I am most excited to share my journey as a woman older than 40 because everyone in the family grows as a result.

Don’t give up on yourself, your dreams, your wants. You are deserving of this and so much more, even after 40. Challenging norms changes society, then the world.

Keep Khalm and change on!

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