Neil Mehta is founder and CEO of Royal, a fast-growing sexual hygiene and body care company. Mehta launched Royal in 2017 with a mission to challenge the existing, dinosauric sexual hygiene space by offering healthier, more transparent, and less binary products to all people. Royal makes high quality, all natural, vegan products that are affordable, accessible, and made for everyone. The company formulates each product with sustainably sourced, cruelty free, and non-toxic ingredients to keep customers healthy and safe during any experience.
Mehta’s professional experience includes building direct-to-consumer brands including sexual hygiene products and developing regenerative medicine technologies. Previously, Mehta was instrumental in supporting the acquisition of a development stage stem cell therapy technology, now a $150M+ regenerative medicine company. He has also negotiated and secured the rights to new technologies in the United States, Canada and Germany, and research and product development partnerships with India’s fourth largest pharmaceutical company. He has also served as a healthcare consultant to medical practices around the country.
Mehta holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the Ohio State University, and a Master in Public Health degree from The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai with a concentration in health care management.
Where did the idea for Royal come from?
The idea for Royal was planted long before it grew into a business. I was living in New York City, studying for my Master’s in Public Health and – like many other students in their 20s – dating. One night, my girlfriend pulled out an apple flavored condom, the likes of which I had never seen or heard of before. When we opened it, it had a nasty industrial and waxy artificial “apple” smell. It was appalling, but it was the only form of protection we had at the moment, so we used it anyway. Condoms are condoms, right? WRONG. My partner had an adverse reaction to the condom, which neither of us were expecting because she wasn’t allergic to latex. It blew my mind that condoms could be so terrible. Weren’t they supposed to keep us safe? So, it got me thinking – what do we really know about the products we’re using in such an intimate way?
I couldn’t shake this question for years after this experience. While in school, I participated in projects related to evaluating and analyzing STD/STI outcomes among various demographics in New York. I researched and surveyed condom users, which gave me a deeper understanding of sexual health and allowed me to cross-reference my own struggles with condoms to identify better solutions for an industry that hadn’t changed in decades.
Then, things clicked. I was at a family barbeque in Dayton, Ohio when I found out that someone I knew manufactured condoms. I thought back to the unfortunate incident in New York and knew that this was an opportunity to change the condom industry for good.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I usually wake up between 6 and 6:30 a.m. and I immediately drink 8 ounces of water to wake up my brain. Before starting any work, I shower and jot down my notes for the day and review any outstanding items from the day before. In the morning, I reach out to anyone with working tasks for the business (i.e. designers, web developers, customer service rep, sales reps, etc.) and check in to see if we’re meeting our goals for the day/week. I also login to our customer service email and respond as myself because I think it’s important to stay engaged with your customers in all facets of the business.
Before lunch, I review all of our sales platforms (i.e. Amazon, Website, Walmart.com, etc.) to assess how the business is performing. I try to break for lunch between 12 and 1 p.m., when I refrain from looking at work and clear my head before leading into my afternoon work session.
In the afternoon, I usually have calls set up with retailers and business partners, and in between each call I try to get as much busy work done as possible. I always try to dedicate at least an hour to exercise in the evening. Even if that means I have to take a break from a work task and come back to it later. These breaks, when I put work aside, keep me motivated and help me avoid burn out throughout the day. This way, the hours I put in are jam-packed with quality work and effort rather than wasting time not being productive.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I try to take inspiration from other industries and see if similar ideas can be creatively constructed or applied to my industry or business. From there, I use my close friend circle to bounce ideas off to get an unbiased take on what I have planned. Once I have the idea set, I utilize the expertise of my team to build upon that foundation and bring an idea to life. I know that I’m not an expert in everything, which is why my team and I work together to bring an idea to fruition.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am excited to see the trend of video marketing shifting from high budget productions to influencer/customer testimonials and review videos. It makes it more affordable for small businesses to create content that they can use for digital marketing, while reminding businesses that each unique consumer is very intelligent and can’t be taken for granted.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My morning routine. I’ve taken a page out of my grandfather’s book, as he had a morning routine that he followed for decades. Getting up early, having a coffee and a large glass of water, doing morning breathing exercises, and writing down my immediate task list and small goals I wish to accomplish that day. Whatever else happens that day, I know that my morning routine is set and I can control it. This makes for a productive start to the day.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to take more chances, get out of your comfort zone, and to not worry as much about what other people think. Stick with your gut – more often than not, it’s right.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You don’t have to focus on only one thing to excel or be successful. Also, it’s not about how many hours you spend on something. Rather, it’s about how many productive hours you spend on something. I’ve been able to create three businesses before the age of 30 while maintaining a solid growth trajectory and keeping a steady work-life balance.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
There are two things I do daily that I highly recommend. I always find time to do some sort of activity/workout. Whether it’s a set of push ups or crutches in between meetings, or going to the gym at some point during the day. Health is so important when building a business because if you’re not feeling good and healthy, then your business won’t be either. On the business side, I always take time once a day to interact with customers. Whether that’s reviewing our social media comments or responding to customer service emails. It’s very important to get to know your customers and do your best to treat them like family because ultimately, they make or break your business.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Email marketing has definitely helped grow the business. When I started Royal, I took email marketing for granted. As a customer, I do not like getting bombarded by emails from companies, so I thought that must be true for everyone – but I was wrong. I quickly learned that email marketing is the fastest way to understand your customer and grow your sales organically. Best of all, it costs little to nothing! I also think it’s important as a founder to learn how to analyze data from engaged email audiences. They are the ones that provide you with their valuable email addresses, after all, so the least you could do is learn how to cater to their needs through your brand or business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I first entered the startup world at 24 years old, I was in a situation where I put too much trust in a “friend.” I should have done my own homework and due diligence about the business and learned the ins and outs of our long-term goals rather than trusting someone who ended up taking advantage of my kindness, trust, and naivety. Since then, I learned how to read people better and trust my gut. I started trusting myself instead of assuming that everyone has my best interests at heart.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I love the idea of junk food – like true junk food – that doesn’t make you gain weight when you eat it. I also like the idea of an “everlasting gummy bear” (my favorite candy) that’s similar to the everlasting gobstopper from Willy Wonka.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Personally: Last week I went to a comedy show in NYC. I’m a huge fan of comedy and I do think it’s the best medicine whenever you’re feeling down, stressed or simply need a pick-me-up. I also think it’s a great way for me to clear my mind and escape work for those couple of hours.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I really like Trello. Trello helps me and my social media team create our content calendars and execute on tasks while being accountable. Communication is seamless and it’s a super easy platform to use.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
A book that captivated me recently was Billion Dollar Whale. It’s about the 1MDB Sovereign wealth fund scandal in Malaysia. It’s a thrilling and true story that gives you a glimpse into the workings of behemoth corporate organizations and how they are more discombobulated than what they portray to the average consumer. It makes me appreciate being in the small business world and it makes me proud that I’m able to be more transparent with my everyday customers.
What is your favorite quote?
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
- Take risks, but be calculated using past experiences
- Work life balance is essential for success and longevity
- Trust your gut
- A healthy daily routine keeps you consistent and accountable
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.