A top banker, and now the queen of India’s beauty business. Falguni Nayar has been there, done it all

Her two-decade-long investment banking stint saw Falguni Nayar sprint up the corporate ladder. She was the MD of Kotak Mahindra Capital Company when she decided to quit and surf the start-up wave. Everyone was taken aback but, for Falguni, this had been plan A all along. “I always wanted to gather experience to create something of my own after my 40s,” she says. She started Nykaa, an e-commerce portal for beauty products, in April 2012. Six years later, it commands 33% of the market share (IS THIS RIGHT?).

“People thought I was crazy. No one believed anyone would buy cosmetics online,” she says.

Nayar’s foresight and attention to detail are what has helped scale Nykaa to a #30-billion company. In the beginning, Nayar used to personally check every order to understand her customers inside out. And when every other e-commerce portal wooed their buyers with discounts, Nayar gained traction by stocking a varied and unique range of products instead. “My philosophy was that I’d rather sell the perfect colour of a lipstick, than the wrong colour at a discounted price,” she says.

Nykaa has attracted almost $80 million in investments from a diverse set of investors including TVS Capital Funds and Harsh Mariwala. The company has a range of products under its own label, and has now opened 26 stores across the country’s metros. Nayar encourages employment of women, and helps them break through the proverbial glass ceiling.

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