It is really hard for a person to quit their job at 50 and then think about starting a business from scratch. Well, had it been easy, there would not have been exemplary stories like Falguni Nayar’s who bid adieu to her well-established career, only to give birth to her entrepreneurship dream, Nykaa.
An IIM Ahmedabad alumnus, she worked as a venture investor and merchant with Kotak Mahindra Group for around 20 years. After working for the group’s global operations in the US and UK, she headed the institutional equities division. 2005 saw her as the managing director of the venture saving money business of the group.
In April 2012, leaving her ‘ideal’ life behind, Falguni Nayar gave herself the tag – CEO of Nykaa. “People thought I was crazy,” said Nayar in a statement given to Vagabomb. She observed the online market and its growth in India. The choice of the beauty segment came both from her love for make-up and the potential online market waiting for someone to come up with such a platform.
Drawing inspiration from entrepreneurs like Ronnie Screwvala of UTV and Ajay Bijli of PVR Cinemas, she headquartered her company in Mumbai, where she was born and brought up. Seeing her father run a small bearings business, she knew she had it in her to become an entrepreneur. Stock market and trade were a common discussion in her house during the growing years. “Plus, I am a Gujarati,” she said in an interview to Livemint.
While the idea and the dream to be an entrepreneur lived inside her, Nykaa happened when Falguni Nayar had some spare time on her hands, after her children (twins Anchit and Adwaita) left for their studies to the US. With a deadline of 50 (which was self-imposed), the one woman army took a leap of faith and quit her job at Kotak, “where everything was going right,” she mentioned to Livemint. “I’m an adventurer,” she says. “I was never a good swimmer but I would always be the first to jump in. The thought, what if I break a leg?, doesn’t occur to me,” she further added.
Her love for make-up to which she says, “I love make-up but I don’t have time to put it on any more!” and laughs loudly, along with the instinct that India needs an online platform for cosmetics and wellness, drove her. Bridging the gap and changing the way women shop, she has successfully curated more than 850 brands and 35,000 products. The company also has its presence in many cities with 17 stores across India. There are two store formats – Nykaa Luxe and Nyka On Trend. Luxe has Indian and international beauty brands along with Nykaa Beauty, the in-house beauty products collection, and On Trend is a collection of popular market products.
The young yet super successful online beauty company has a target audience in the age group of 22 – 35, and has also launched private labeled products in the bath and body care category, in March 2016. Working in an inventory based model, Nykaa has warehouses in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore, and offers all leading brands including Kaya Skin Clinic, Lakmé, L’Oréal Paris and more.
Falguni Nayar Nykaa has now become a singular identity in the market. The brand’s association with its founder is deeply engraved everywhere and is a result of the passion she had for her dream. Naykaa, derived from Nayika, which means the actress of one’s life, is certainly the perfect name to beautify and inspire women at the same time. Kudos to the brand, and to the woman who never stops working and exceeds her own expectations.
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