Weeks after graduating from Christ University, Bangalore, Yash found himself making his way into the corporate ecosystem when he joined the EY Office as a young fresher. Within a few months, he was convinced that the world of corporate was not for him. It brought him no joy and stripped him of time and health.
In November 2017, Yash decided to move back to his hometown Gwalior with only one objective in mind: to read more books. He was 21, young and naive but he knew reading books would not fill all his waking hours. He had to find something he enjoyed that he could make a livelihood of.
Around the same time, Stuti - his friend from his volunteering days at Gramiksha - was working on reviving her family business. When the both of them met, it led to the birth of new ideas that would eventually become the foundation of Amrutam’s creative limb.
“In my corporate job, there was no scope for expression. In meetings, I was told not to speak up or ask questions. That really unnerved me. At Amrutam, I found a platform to express and speak my mind. I became a storyteller and learned that it came naturally to me.”
Building from scratch
Yash started out as a Content Writer at Amrutam. He had been writing since he was a child and talking to people was something he had grown to enjoy. Although he didn’t know much about how businesses worked in the Ayurveda space, he had some knowledge of B2C businesses, given his family's retail business. He knew the importance of building relationships early on and decided to channel that through his writing and by participating in Facebook groups and reaching out to Ayurveda doctors.
Also read: The Amrutam Origin Story
Those initial days were full of enthusiasm and excitement. “Raj and Lakshman were the first few folks who joined our team and helped us with packaging and logistics,” explains Yash, “We even bought a blackboard where we’d write a quote every day to keep ourselves motivated.” The team also created their first-ever in-house studio to shoot images and videos. They partnered with agencies and freelancers for creative requirements. The idea was to be resourceful and smart in the execution because everyone was really connected to the vision.
“Earlier, there was no such thing as finance, operations or logistics. My day started with booking orders. Stuti would handle the content for social media. And then we would write blogs and answer customer queries. We also sat and packed orders. The glass jars would often break in transit and that was one of our biggest challenges at the time. Ashok Uncle volunteered to pack all the Malts. Eventually, we were able to find air packs that we now use to pack our malts in. It has really been a long journey.”
Amrutam received hardly 1-2 orders a month in the first year. This changed to about 100 orders the following year. And today, 5 years later, Amrutam has a thriving community of over 1 lakh customers who trust us with their health and beauty. And Yash Batra has been there to see it all and today; he is the Principal: Economics & Communications at Amrutam.
As exciting as it sounds to help build a global brand, there are also many obstacles that need to be overcome. For Yash, the first couple of years of moving to Gwalior were personally challenging. He was diagnosed with bone tuberculosis, severely affecting his physical and mental health. He had excruciating pain in his foot and doctors had even claimed that he might never be able to walk again. This prompted Yash to dig deeper into the different facets of health and wellness and grow closer to Ayurveda.
"Allopathy looks at a disease in isolation. It treats the symptoms, but the root cause is still there. Our body is a whole and constantly experiencing things - as we sit, eat, walk, and breathe. We are not fully in touch with our body, and Ayurveda teaches us exactly that.”
This was undoubtedly a turning point in Yash’s life and it encouraged him to view his health holistically. Mental health is another subject that he feels passionate about. “I’ve been in therapy for a few years now and it makes me happy that at Amrutam, we’ve been able to help and educate so many people about mental health and wellness,” he comments.
Yash has also been deeply influenced by Vipassana - a 10-day silent residential program that focuses on observing the breath and bodily sensations. During those days of silence, Yash underwent a chain of epiphanies and realized how he really felt about his life. He has documented his journey of surrendering to the practice in his podcast. You can check it out here.
Nurturing the love of writing
Even before Yash joined Amrutam, he would exchange correspondence with Stuti via email. Almost like an old-school letter exchange. A socially awkward and introverted person, Yash also lacked guidance from adult figures that he was eventually able to find from Stuti.
“During my teenage years, Stuti was a mentor figure. We exchanged emails and updated each other on our lives. She was also my friend and someone I looked up to.”
This taking and giving of ideas also nurtured Yash’s deep love for writing. When asked about what it is that inspires him to put his mind on paper, he explains, “My writing is personal. Intimate and passionate. My goal in life is not to become an acclaimed writer. Writing has helped me survive. So, by virtue of my being, I am a writer, and there is little I would change about that.”
Of course, writing is a personal act. But what makes it even more valuable is putting it out for the world to see, for you expose your vulnerabilities to judgment and criticism. Yash has recently published his collection of poems Windows: Dancing Shadows & Sunlight which you can check out here.
Amalgamating his creative ideas and emotional sensibilities, Yash has also significantly contributed to shaping Amrutam’s culture at an organizational level.
“It is important to have hard conversations because as much as we dislike it, confrontations save you from a lot of bad decisions. If someone in the organization isn’t doing something right, then, every person in the team has the right to speak up. Not doing that is essentially stripping away the organization from possible value addition.”
Indulging in leisure
While usually, the focus is always on adding value and enhancing productivity, Yash also enjoys indulging in leisure, which typically means watching movies or shows. In the last few years, he claims to have watched over a hundred shows, with Shameless on Amazon Prime being one of his top favourites. “It’s about a dysfunctional family where the parents are all over the place and the kids are trying to get their life together,” he comments. Currently, he is binging on Grey’s Anatomy and reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.
A typical day in Yash’s life starts at 7 AM. His morning rituals include listening to light music, avoiding his phone and gathering his thoughts. Come 10 AM and the work day begins with internal calls with team members and about 8-10 hours of the day are spent working. He then goes for a walk, spends time with family and retires early to bed.
“I start my day by making a to-do list of things I need to take up on priority. I think I am good with processes and organising. I have realised that there is no one way of getting work done - the idea is to get the end goal regardless of the path you choose. As long as that happens, we can all keep experimenting and expanding the scope of learning.”
Exploring the unexplored
When there is no definite structure to the day, Yash enjoys learning or trying out his hands on new things. At present, he is keen on exploring the growth curves and funding scene for D2C brands. His monthly newsletter 'The Rant' encapsulates all the fun and interesting things happening in the D2C world. You can subscribe to it here.
He shares a few observations, “There is so much talk about funding and starting up, but nobody talks about the impact. Why do you need funds? What kind of impact are you trying to make with your ideas? What problems are you solving? Start-ups chase patterns, behaviours and customers. I don’t see a lot of people talking about the purpose behind starting a business or the impact it is making.”
This year has been a period of many changes, and Yash has been adjusting to them. He has been working on his emergency fund and completing his financial goals. He is also looking forward to upskilling and spending more time on excel and similar tools. “It gets a bit overwhelming because I’m not very good at drawing boundaries with work but I’ve been trying to do that,” he explains.
Yash dreams of creating more leaders at Amrutam and building more channels where we have the scope to put together our thoughts to experiment creatively. He also hopes to have a physical space (a dream office as he calls it) where we could assemble as a team, work on projects, and see ideas come to life.