Nykaa founder wins ET Business Woman of the Year Award –

Nykaa founder wins ET Business Woman of the Year AwardNykaa has emerged as one of the most recognisable consumer brands in the fast-growing online beauty category without raising billions of dollars in investor capital. This has been one of the standout differentiators for Nykaa’s founder Falguni Nayar.

Credited with building an ecommerce platform very differently from the rest the industry, Nayar has won the coveted Business Woman of the Year Award. Nayar’s ability to steer clear of heavy discounting and massive funding to spur growth in a typically cash guzzling industry has helped her uniquely position Nykaa amid competitors.

“I have always believed this (ET Awards for Corporate Excellence) is one of the most coveted awards since the time I started working in Mumbai. I have always looked up to the people who have won this award previously. You have to pinch yourself to believe you are in the same room as some of the previous winners,” Nayar told ET after winning.

A former investment banker at Kotak Mahindra Capital where she was the managing director, Nayar founded Nykaa in 2012. “I am so glad that I jumped into entrepreneurship. I believed in technology and I believed in the Indian consumer. The way it is panning out, the sky’s the limit,” said Nayar.

Nayar’s 180-degree shift from being a career banking professional to striking out on her own with a consumer-focused startup was one of the key reasons the jury picked her.

In the past seven years, the online retailer has expanded into offline stores, launched new categories like fashion and continued to grow amid competition from bigger ecommerce players like Amazon and Flipkart’s Myntra. Nykaa doubled net revenue to ₹1,230 crore in the previous fiscal, pushing aggressively into newly-launched categories such as apparel and fashion. Its valuation, too, has kept pace with growth.

Apart from Nykaa Fashion, it has also set up Nykaa Man to build its men’s grooming business, and introduced Nykaa Pro, a portal for professional beauty consumers, with an aim to diversify its business. The company will focus on building heft in its fashion and apparel categories, and grow offline stores to 70 by March next year, from 35 currently, Nayar told ET in an interview earlier this year.

Nykaa began by curating beauty products and embellishing it with edgy content, including reviews and expert recommendations customers could use to make informed decisions about beauty needs. Since then, however, Nykaa has done what none of the big ecommerce companies have been able to do in the beauty space. Its inhouse eponymous brand, which contributes 10% to overall sales, has been an important lever of growth.

Nykaa will start distributing products more aggressively and widely across third-party offline stores to scale up this year, Nayar told ET in April. Nayar will have to position her fashion and apparel offering in such a way that it is not only focused on selection and price, but also build stickiness and engagement like it did in the core beauty category.


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