Written by Jasmin Dixon Photographed by Natasha Magino
Brown women are beautiful, elegant and badass. Unfortunately, products are not always designed to meet the needs of women from such a dynamic diaspora. The Katra Box aims to make the brown woman a priority and not an “other”. The Katra Box is the first ever subscription box curated for South Asian American women. Created in summer of 2018 by Ghonva Ghauri, a desi daughter and psychological anthropologist. Born in Pakistan and raised in Maryland, she speaks on growing up in the middle of two cultures. “Everyone was trying to obtain whiteness,” says Ghonva. “I didn’t feel enough for either side, not feeling enough egged me to speak out.” With this experience she became interested in child-parent dynamics within the South Asian American community. Ghonva graduated from George Washington University with a masters in Medical Anthropology. Her main research included how South Asian American daughters participate in taboos and stigmatized issues like mental health and sexuality.
She is currently a social justice educator for the University of Maryland. “I’ve always known I wanted to work in mental health and wellness within the South Asian American community. I knew I wanted to simply break silence about stuff so that we could not only be unapologetically ourselves but in the process uplift one another”,explains Ghonva. “I started [The Katra Box] in the same two months that I had the idea.” she says. Katra in Urdu, Ghonva’s mother tongue, translates to droplet. The logo for The Katra Box is a droplet designed by Ghonva.
Inspired by her mother’s saying in Urdu, “It takes droplets & droplets to fill up a river”, she interprets this in two ways. When striving for a goal, consistency is key. All of your hard work will add up and the river will flow. The second interpretation is to stop trying to recreate the wheel and do it all by yourself.“We keep trying to do new things and we are not uplifting one another. If you all put droplets in you will get further quicker,” explains Ghonva. Katra also has a dual meaning intentionally chosen by Ghonva. When pronounced with a “throaty K” as she describes, Katra translates to dangerous. “ I liked the duality because there is that gentle water like expression to the brown woman in terms of family and how she looks at herself…but there’s also the harshness of being badass and being different and speaking out.” “My journey has always been to create a platform to uplift South Asian American women,” says Ghonva. In an industry of white women centric companies, The Katra Box speaks to brown women in a special way. Familiar ingredients like sandalwood and turmeric can be found in featured Katra Box items. The Katra Box is released four times a year and delivered right to your doorstep. Each box is beautifully designed by Ghonva and curated for the season. The spring szn was released in March and summer szn is next up.
Subscription items include beauty and skin, fashion apparel, wellness and nutrition. Each product is handpicked, sustainable and financially friendly. Ghonva aims to exclusively work with women-led and minority-owned brands. “My hope is to take out some of the hard work for the average hardworking millennial woman who is grinding and hustling,” she says. For inspiring entrepreneurs, she shares to take a leap of faith and not focus on making everything perfect. “You need to just start,” explains Ghonva. “If you are genuine to why you are doing it people are attracted to that...they will listen and they will stay.” You can subscribe to The Katra Box at thekatrabox.com. Keep up with releases and new products on Instragram @thekatrabox.