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I am Arush Chopra, CEO of Just Herbs, and This is How I Work
How I Work

I am Arush Chopra, CEO of Just Herbs, and This is How I Work

While working in Singapore, Arush Chopra realized the growing popularity of Ayurvedic beauty products in international beauty industry and envisioned forming a brand around Ayurvedic remedies. What helped him further was his mother's expertise as a biochemist and Arush soon returned to India and turned into an entrepreneur with Just Herbs, a fresh brand aimed at revolutionizing the beauty industry. He shares all about his journey, life hacks and how he works.

Location: Chandigarh
Current Gig: CEO, Just Herbs
One word that best describes how you work: Focus
Current mobile device: Oppo F1SCurrent computer: DELL i3

Tell us about your journey and how did you get where you have?
My mother, Dr. Neena Chopra, is an award-winning bio-chemist and in 2003 she started mixing herbs, plants and flowers to make lotions and potions at our family-owned garden lab in Mohali. So, I grew up watching her constantly coming up with new formulations that would address some or the other skin or hair related issue. The efficacy of the products was proven to me whenever I would gift the products to friends or relatives, as I would inevitably receive rave reviews and requests for more.

While I was working in Singapore, I realized that the Ayurvedic beauty segment was booming internationally. However, there was a huge gap in terms of customers' needs and the products that were available in the market. Although consumers perceived Ayurvedic beauty products to be safer than their chemically laden counterparts most so-called 'natural and Ayurvedic' beauty products did not stand the test of effectiveness - compelling consumers to turn to chemical based alternatives. That's when I realized what a treasure I had at home as the products being developed by my mother defied industry norms by being safe as well as highly effective.

I envisioned forming a brand around these Ayurvedic remedies and shared the idea with my wife, Megha, who immediately recognized its potential. That's when we decided to move back to India and float a fresh brand aimed at revolutionizing the beauty industry.

So, we convinced our parents to stop being OEM manufacturers for other brands and in November 2013, we launched Just Herbs as a path-breaking premium personal care brand; addressing the various skin and hair related problems of the health and environment conscious urban Indians.

What apps/software/tools can't you live without? Google drive and Dropbox for work related stuff, Todoist app for staying on top my to-dos every day and Google Alerts to stay on top of Industry news. Apart from this I've recently become a huge fan of the 'profit, power, pursuit' podcast that focuses on creativity in business. I download new episodes on my phone and its great listening material while running.

What's your workspace setup like?
I work out of our corporate office on the 8th floor in Bestetch Business Towers Mohali. I like this space because it's a stone's throw from our manufacturing facility so I can visit the factory to oversee things when needed.

The set-up is completely open-plan with clean glass partitions to allow for a free flow of ideas and ample natural light. Anyone can sit anywhere and we also have a much-coveted bean bag. We have an exposed distressed-looking ceiling with hanging lights like in a warehouse, instead of a false-ceiling that adds to the feeling of openness.

We make sure we have a lot of tuck stacked in the pantry and you will hear and smell corn popping between 3-4 pm everyday as the team loves their popcorn!

What are some of your best life hacks to save time and boost productivity?
I listen to podcasts while running in the evening. This opens the mind to fresh ideas and helps me get more out of workout time.
I try to drive as little as possible and use the time in the car to answer emails or make phone calls.
While working with my team, I usually let them set their own deadlines and broader goals on projects as much as possible. I believe that if you are allowed to set your own goals and deadlines for tasks assigned to you, you're more likely to have complete ownership of what you're doing and you're clearer about what is expected of you. When you know you own something, you tend to be more focused and more invested in the task and this invariably boosts team productivity as each member is then able to achieve more and feel more fulfilled with what they do. More than that, we get the work done without the nagging and micro-managing, which is a huge time saver and a productivity booster.
I try to do most of the hiring myself as much as possible. This may seem like its time-consuming rather than time saving at first but it saves a huge amount of potential loss of valuable management time down-the-road in dealing with the pain of hiring a wrong employee both in terms of skills and in terms of company culture. So it saves time and boosts productivity in the long term.
I look forward to long flights as it's a forced break from the phone and the internet. I plan ahead of time on what I need to do while in the air. It could be something as boring and laborious as vetting a contract or something enjoyable such as reading a book that's been competing with my phone for attention for a long time.

What's your favourite to-do list manager?
I am currently using a mobile application called Todoist. Its working well but I find writing down a list on paper and striking things off it one-by-one particularly satisfying.

Do you procrastinate? How do you overcome it?
Admittedly yes. I use my phone to set reminders and when technology fails, Megha - my wife and the Just Herbs Brand Director - makes sure I am 'on-the-ball' for which I shall be eternally grateful to her.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?
I think I can empathize better than most people around me. Knowing how to quickly be in another person's shoes comes in handy in business and in everyday life.

How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work?
I love playing the guitar, reading a book or cooking in my free time. Also, I am currently hooked to 'The Crown' on Netflix and enjoying it. In addition, I never miss the chance to go watch a play or a stand-up comic whenever there's one visiting town. I am also keen on starting Yoga to keep in shape both mentally and physically.

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading 'Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing - Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth' by professors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. It is a business strategy book that I've found to be very interesting and full of actionable insights.

What's the best advice you've ever received?
There are no failures, only setbacks. Never give up.

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