Divya Gugnani Tells Us How Her Life Story Inspired the Creation of Wander Beauty


Wander Beauty is a brand that combines clean beauty and convenience without sacrificing quality. The products are perfect for multitaskers who still want to look and feel their best, wherever life takes them. From your vanity to your handbag or your bathroom counter to the train, these beauty essentials will streamline your routine, so you can do it all. It’s the brand that truly takes you from a.m. to p.m., plus, it’s clean and cruelty-free.

Wander Beauty changed the game when it comes to multitasking beauty; however, cofounder and CEO Divya Gugnani is even more inspiring. She became one of the first South Asian women to have their brand on Sephora shelves. From an investment banker who slept under her desk to becoming a mom and a serial entrepreneur with several companies under her belt, get to know Divya Gugnani and her journey with Wander Beauty.

POPSUGAR: Why and how did you create your brand?
Divya Gugnani: Wander Beauty is the fourth company that I’ve cofounded and been the CEO of. As a career-mom who had to travel a lot, I was doing my beauty routine on the trains. I had a difficult time finding high-performance essentials and things that I could reach for every day. On top of that, I had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and before that had trouble conceiving my children. With this, I became well-educated about hormone-disrupting toxic chemicals and started eliminating a lot of the stuff from my beauty routine. I had to go on this complete journey of overhauling my beauty routine. The options were really limited. I just felt like there was no beauty brand out there that was speaking to me.

I actually met my cofounder Lindsay Ellingson at a party. The two of us connected over our love of beauty and our love of travel. We were two time-starved women who are constantly on the go for very different reasons. I was a career mom with two young kids, and she was a supermodel on planes and trains with a busy lifestyle. The two of us shared our mission, vision, and values around clean beauty and wanted a brand that we could just take with us everywhere. If you think about someone like me, who was going from place to place applying foundation on the train or doing my skin-care routine at the gym, glass bottles and heavy packaging were just not workable for our lifestyle. So we surveyed a hundred women and crystallized around the idea of the brand. Wander Beauty is about clean, beauty essentials, things you reach for every single day, wherever you wander. We cater to people like ourselves who are time starved and on the go.

PS: What does being a woman founder of a successful business mean to you?
DG: We have to be the change we want to see in the world. As a female entrepreneur, I feel incredibly strongly that with success we have to create opportunities, so that there are more women in the room. We have to create more opportunities for women to be financially independent, grow, and build their careers through entrepreneurship. We have to create a support network for them. We have to invest in them, mentor them, and build them. I do this through my investment fund called Concept to Co. I’ve invested in a lot of consumer brands, including female-founded brands, particularly in the beauty space such as Tower 28, Bloom, and Topicals.

PS: Do you have a big business achievement you’re particularly proud of?
DG: Early in my career, when I got featured in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, it was like a big “aha moment,” and I was excited. But, nothing fuels me and gets me more excited than actually connecting directly with customers. My biggest business achievement is that I’ve created a brand where customers feel like they can speak to me directly, as a cofounder and a CEO, and tell me about what my brand has done for them. I love when people tell me personal stories around multitaskers they’ve used, how they felt incredibly gorgeous on their wedding day, or how they rocked a big business meeting because they wore their Wander Beauty and they felt like the most beautiful version of themselves. That’s what gets me excited and gets me out of bed every morning, because entrepreneurial entrepreneurship is hard. It’s incredibly painstaking, difficult work, and you want to do the work when you feel that you have that impact on your customers.

PS: What’s your current favorite product(s) you’re selling?
DG: I have always had dark circles ever since I can remember. Even as a seventh-grader, I started getting conscious of it. A lot of people, especially those who are South Asian, deal with this because of genetics, allergies, anemia, lack of sleep, or dehydration. Our Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Eye Masks ($25) are a diehard favorite of mine because they depuff, brighten, and hydrate using ingredients like aloe leaf, Kemo Kemo extract, peptides, and amino acids. These under-eye masks are like coffee for my under eyes; it makes me look awake and bright. I really love our Wander Beauty Mist Connection Essence and Toner ($40), and it’s something that I use a lot. It’s a biphase formula that has a pink water-based toner and an oil-based essence that balances and refreshes your skin all in one step. It has niacinamide and hyaluronic acid to even out skin tone and helps skin adapt to moisture fluctuations. It’s going to plump and retain moisture in the skin even indoors. Our mascaras have always been a fan favorite, and I love them, too! Our approach has always been to use few ingredients that are powerful and drive results.

Keep reading to see our favorite picks from the brand.

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