Known for its healing and calming properties, oud has been extracted for centuries and used all over the world, including by King Louis XIV of France to wash his clothes. Oud was notably also used by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) both for its scent and therapeutic benefits and is still used today as part of a centuries-old tradition to clean the Kaaba. More commonly, the smell of oud can be found in the homes of those who burn incense or agarbati.
While unbeknownst to many who live “La Vie en Oud,” Yasmin Khan always had a distinct appreciation for this scent. After years of struggling with an overgrown hair condition called hypertrichosis, she became an avid product junkie and make-up guru and thus became familiar with the scent. However, as a nomad, she often felt most at home with the smell of agarbati, and later drew its connection to oud.
Yasmin’s love for oud is shared by her husband, Dr. Qamar Khan, or Dr. Khalm as he is more commonly known at his clinic for his calming nature, where he practices regenerative medicine. Originally from Atlanta, the couple moved to new cities every four years as Dr. Khan completed medical school, residency, and a fellowship until they finally settled in Park City, Utah.
Along this journey, Yasmin, like many women, became accustomed to wearing several different hats—of a wife, breadwinner, paralegal, mother, and homemaker. When the dust settled a bit and her children grew a little older, she wondered what was next, but knew the elusive question of “what is your passion” was cosmetics and skincare. Yasmin had encountered the scent of oud often in a candle or fragrance, but never in skincare. While just an idea at the time, she decided to pursue this window of opportunity at the encouragement of her husband.
Thus, emerged Khalm™, an oud-infused skincare brand, naturally named for oud’s calming and healing properties and of course Dr. Khan’s moniker. While completing a Masters of Strategic Communication and Master of Business Creation, Yasmin delved straight into product development. Familiar with French skincare, Yasmin felt strongly that her product should be subject to the highest standards of regulation by the European Union. She collaborated with French scientists and worked with a reputable formulator to develop the products.
After three years of branding, product development, and regulatory assessment, the line was finally launched in September 2020 as a native direct-to-consumer brand. Despite its relatively recent launch in the midst of a pandemic, Forbes Magazine has already recognized the product as one of the best skincare products of 2021, recommending that “[i]f you’re going to invest in one new face product this year, let it be this one.”
The skincare products not only capture the essence of oud, but also the journey the couple has shared together. Although a gender-neutral product, Yasmin has paid homage to generations of Ismaili women who strike the delicate balance of being soft but strong. She chose white for her product color palette, as this reminds her of the white saris Ismaili women often wear for their nikkah ceremony. White is pure, ethereal, and powerful—much like Ismaili women who have been taught, “[i]f you educate a woman, you educate a family.”
To Yasmin there are bigger things than being an entrepreneur like faith, spirituality, and family, which have guided her throughout this journey. She credits her parents for being “instrumental in the development of the person I am today because their daily lessons and the importance they put on acquiring formal education allows me to do the work I am doing today.”
Even in raising her own family, Yasmin shows that women can do it all, whether it’s attending meetings back-to-back or spending time with her children in between. She has learned to find balance in her life by embracing the entrepreneurial spirit of just figuring things out.
To young entrepreneurs building their brand, Yasmin advises to accept failure is part of the journey, and that even in failure you will learn. “For every one hundred nos you hear, all you need is one yes,” she says. The recipe for success takes a bit of liquid gold, hard work, and to remember to keep Khalm,™ and carry on.