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BW Businessworld

Dream For Yourselves

Nykaa’s Founder & CEO, who was named BW Disrupt Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2019, tells women entrepreneurs to not only dare to dream but also chase it

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It does not matter what the conversation is, Falguni Nayar, founder & CEO of Nykaa, has always been described as ‘the’ woman of substance. Having spent a significant part of her career – nearly 18 years – at Kotak Mahindra Capital, holding titles such as managing director and head of institutional equities business, Nayar has never shied in admitting that she is entrepreneur-first in every sense of that sentiment.

When she founded the beauty and wellness destination in 2012, Nykaa did not limit itself to marrying product with marketplace. Instead, it also added a layer of beauty expertise and advice underscoring the significance of a well-rounded experience to the consumer of today. From what started as a multi-brand ecommerce platform, under Nayar’s leadership, grew to include brick-and-mortar avatars as well. Described as part of the company’s omnichannel approach towards beauty retail, Nykaa announced its ambitious aim to open 30 offline stores across India by 2020.

It is hence no surprise that Nayar is crowned BW Disrupt Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 at the BW Disrupt Women Entrepreneurship Summit and Awards. When asked about her inspiration behind launching Nykaa, Nayar said that it was her love for risk-taking that helped her embark on this entrepreneurial journey.

Go To The Consumer
“Nykaa is a young brand and it has been fun building it. The business is six years young, and the brand is even younger. We are going where the customer is. While we preferred e-commerce, we realised that our customers wanted us to be in physical retail as well. They wanted to come into our stores and experience our products.  We hence started rolling out new stores and we are seeing our customers embracing it,” says Nayar.

She pointed out that it was her previous roles that readied her for the new journey. “Kotak’s culture allowed us to take risk. One of the key qualities of entrepreneurs is that they are ready to take risks. I choose beauty because I thought it was a business that was not working in India. It was a small business and there were adversities that did not allow the business to scale. I consciously chose this business because there was an unmet demand, and that is how I went about building it,” explains Nayar.

The Story Behind Nykaa
Divulging more on the brand ‘Nykaa’, Nayar says, “For too long, women have been the support system of the family and they haven’t dreamt for themselves. I think women are afraid to dream because they feel that it will disrupt their life. This name has a message to women that you must pursue your dreams. Our customers, especially the millennials, like it and resonate with it.  They like the fact we are empowering them in some ways.” Nayar’s advice to budding entrepreneurs is to commit themselves to the dream and be consistent in the wake of challenges that come their way.

“Choose an industry you love because success in entrepreneurship doesn’t come quickly.  You have to commit yourself to doing things for a very long time. And don’t be afraid of the rollercoaster ride. The highs in business should not make you arrogant and the lows should not make you demotivated to lose your energy.  If you can take this rollercoaster ride in your stride, then you are ready for entrepreneurship,” says Nayar.

The Road Ahead
Nayar’s three-year vision for Nykaa is to largely stay the omnichannel course the company has chalked out for itself. However, the company ambitions may have more than beauty on its radar.

“At the moment, beauty means a lot to us and we are trying to do more in beauty. At the same time though, we also see a big opportunity in fashion. We think there is a problem to solve there as well. Women want to buy fashion, but we know there are problems. We also believe women are not just interested in discounting; they are interested in style. So, we call our sale as big on style rather than big on price and that is the quality of business we want to build in the future as well,” Nayar sums up.


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