Falguni Nayar: Bringing E-Commerce to The Spotlight

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The number of digitally influenced consumers and online patronizers has surged rapidly in recent years, reaching over 260 million to 280 million for the former and 210 million to 230 million for the latter. Statista Research Department expects these figures to increase by 2.5 times over the next decade, followed by nearly six-fold growth in online retail spending.

India, in recent years, has experienced exponential growth in the online and e-commerce scenes, which have significantly boosted the nation’s economy. With about 43% of Indian women dominating the internet marketplace, we have Falguni Nayar to thank for being a huge inspiration to women in e-commerce and her recent emergence, according to Forbes as the richest woman in India with an estimated net worth of US$6.5 billion is an added advantage and push for women to do even more. Fulgani Nayar is a force to be reckoned with in India’s e-commerce sector.

 The Founder and CEO of ‘Nykaa’ is known for creating and distributing online beauty, and I started Nykaa at the age of 49 with no experience with Amazonpreneur wellness products. Falguni started her business in 2012 after resigning from her job as a top Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Investment Bank, where she worked for 18 years. “The emptiness syndrome came in after my kids went to college, and I was itching to do more. But I thought about leaving Kotak almost three years before I implemented it.

 However, all my learnings as a professional came in to help me build the right company. So, whatever the path, it has its advantages and disadvantages, and it all falls into place. I do believe that it’s fate. And it’ll happen when it has to happen.” At age 49, Falguni launched her dream to provide an online platform that could aid easy access to cosmetics and wellness products from anywhere within India, a gap that needed to be bridged.

She launched Nykaa, which means ‘One in the Spotlight.’ Taking this ‘risk’ of quitting her job where she was doing well, and deciding to chase her dreams, regardless of her age, once again reminds me that age is not a limitation if one is ready to dream and explore, which is one of Falguni’s characteristics that has at every stage, distinguished her. “I started Nykaa at the age of 49 with no experience. I hope the Nykaa journey can inspire each of you to be the Nykaa of your lives; I’m an explorer,” she says. “I was never a great swimmer, but I was always the first to dive in.” “It never occurs to me to think, ‘What if I break my leg?'” she added.

 In a generation where people, especially young people, like comfort, Falguni took advantage of the online platforms while leveraging a Sephora-like model. Several brands are obtainable under a specific umbrella, presenting customers with various options rather than having different stores.

 Furthermore, Fulgani, unlike other entrepreneurs, dared to develop a cordial relationship with her customers. Not only did she want them to buy from her, but she also spurred them to live their best lives and be their best selves. So why wouldn’t she win their hearts when she always had their best interest? “I used to go and connect with my customers — women — all across the country in smaller towns, and I would interact with them.

 Then, somewhere, I started giving the message, ‘ Look, you need to be the star of your lives. For too long, women were too afraid to upset the apple cart by asking more for themselves. They were too scared to dream for themselves because they thought it would upset the balance at home. So, our message relayed very well with them, and that’s how Nykaa became a much bigger brand as we initially got a lot of trust and brand love since we fit in well with their life philosophy.” Today, Fulgani has curated more than 4500 brands online and multiple thousands of products, with 100 stores across India. There are also several arms of Nykaa, including ‘Nykaa Luxe and Nykaa on Trend. Luxe focuses on Indian and international beauty brands along with Nykaa Beauty, the in-house beauty products collection, while On Trend is a collection of high demand market products. She has also launched privately labelled products in the bath and body care category, with major warehouses in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore. Since Nykaa entered the beauty scene, shopping for beauty products has been modified in the country, with diverse innovations Nykaa keeps bringing up. To mention but a few, Nykaa has garnered lots of awards and recognition, such as the ‘Woman Ahead’ award at the 2017 Economic Times Startup Awards. Falguni was named Businesswoman of the Year at the Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence 2019 in recognition of her contributions to the Indian beauty industry in just the last year. She was also crowned Businessperson of the Year 2019 by Vogue India and named one of Asia’s Power Businesswomen 2019 by Forbes Asia. In 2021, Nayar won the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 award as the Founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of the speciality beauty and personal care platform. Building a billion-dollar business like Nykaa from scratch is the motivation to push forward one’s dream. “With patience and belief, things will move forward, and there is no connivance to hold you back. I don’t see the pessimistic view at all.”

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