Money Is The Only Oxygen For Startups

At times, online sucks. When a product is delivered late to a customer, for instance, sometimes the customer will go online and speak ill of the company.


A famous quote by Coco Chanel says, ‘If you are sad, add more lipstick and attack.’ The concept of beauty was widely subjected to the material paragons but the school of thought has gone through a paradigm shift. Now, quintessence of beauty is associated with empowerment of women. Falguni Nayar, founder of online beauty and wellness website, Nykaa herself believes that a stroke of lipstick can turn the tables. ‘The Power of looking good and feeling good is magical,’ she along her daughter told Business world People, Aradhana.

What was the reason behind setting up offline stores after starting an online business? 

With our omnichannel strategy we will be available at every touch point for our customers. We want to give them to ease to shop a product at their convenience and comfort, whether through online or while visiting a store. The success of our e-commerce store has given us a keen understanding of our customers, who trust our choice and offer. Adwaita is the head of Offline Retail Strategy. We have already said that we will have 30 Luxe stores by 2020. I say we are like Sephora, but Sephora never sells Neutrogena, or Nivea, but we don’t want to give up on that; we want to sell that because in India those things are important. Our motto is to reach to all income level groups with best quality products. 

What are your expansion plans? Are you planning to introduce new brands as well? 

We’re working on beautyled technological innovations that allow customers to choose products best suited for their skin tone and type more easily. Also, we tied-up with popular Korean skincare brands Dear Packer and The Face Shop. Face-packs loaded with rose, honey and charcoal extracts – all Korean specialties – are flying off the shelves. We are trying to get more variety and yes, we are working on our private label also as we are receiving tremendous response from the customers. 

Have you ever thought of investing in other startups? 

I get tempted. I think you can create a lot of value in early-stage funding. To really do it well, you need to give it enough attention, and right now, I don’t have the time 

What is next in your private label offerings? How much investment is in pipeline? 

Private labels fill the gaps in consumers’ needs. What is it that the consumer wants that is not met by the current range of merchandise, in terms of price range, aesthetics, look and feel? Our first private label was a range of 30 nail enamels in pastels, pop and shimmer shades. The number has gone to 200 now. We have introduced more beauty and bath essential products among others. 

Are you happy with GST regulations? 

The rate is very high and it will have counter effect on the sector growth in India. It’s not only lipsticks and premium cosmetics, medicated creams and medical skin care products have also fallen in the tax bracket of 28 per cent. 

Share a piece of advice for women entrepreuers... Initially it’s difficult for everyone. One should stay calm and main focus should be finances as money is like oxygen for startups. Also, one should not panic when it comes to taking tough decisions. One’s start up is one’s identity. Hence I decide for Nykaa first, then myself. As a woman entrepreneur, I believe in Sheryl Sandberg’s statement that women actually want to lean in, as they are constrained by themselves. We do not want to go for it. I tell women to learn to dream – and then you will get where you want to get. There was no glass ceiling for me. Women should come out of this mindset that if they handle the business, it will affect their personal and professional life. I believe if a woman with strong determination and will power aims to do something, she will definitely achieve it. 

What is your mantra to engage customers online?

Giving advice on beauty on beauty is the best way to sell beauty products. We want to create a community lead advice platform. DIY videos and images yield the highest engagement on social media. “Current trending” topics, such as ‘Colour Correcting or ‘Strobing’ also have a high social sharing value. Beauty blogging is soaring heights in India. For start-ups and small businesses, the primary focus should be on building your social community and fan following. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great platforms as customers are very active and we get immediate feedback and queries. 

Are you planning to take Nykaa public in near future? 

Rumor has it that I am building Nykaa to sell it but I am building the brand to have a life of its own. Hence IPO (Initial public Offering) is necessary, but not too early What do you think about the big online sales? I believe that discounting doesn’t work so much in beauty. We do give special prices but they are always for brands that want to give discounts. Beauty as a category is very on-trend. I’d rather sell the right colour of a lipstick to a customer at the right price than sell the wrong colour. at a discounted price. I believe that’s indispensible for beauty disruptor.


Around The World