Journey Of Nykaa CEO Falguni Nayar Who Is Now India’s Richest Self-Made Woman

At an age when many corporate employees retire, Falguni Nayar began a new journey for herself. After working for Kotak Mahindra Group for 19 years, Falguni quit at the age of 50 and started Nykaa – the cosmetic giant that we know today.

This year, at 59 years of age, Falguni Nayar is officially the richest self-made woman in India. According to Hindustan Times, her net worth is approximately Rs 38,700 crore and she is on the 33rd spot in the top 100 billionaires list by the IIFL Wealth Hurun India rich list 2022.

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Back in 2012, just before turning 50, Falguni had the idea for Nykaa, reported News18. At that time, people, especially women, had to depend on their local cosmetic stores to get their beloved beauty and skincare products. With Nykaa’s launch, these products were just a phone tap away and over the years, the range of products on the platform also increased with many international brands coming on board.

She and her husband, Sanjay Nayar, started Nykaa. The advantage that they had was that they had experience working as investment bankers. So they had a broader understanding when it came to the finances of the company. Nykaa, in its early years, was funded entirely by her and her family. Its model was an inventory-led business.

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“The company ran on family funds for two years because I didn’t want to raise money. I wanted to make the metrics happen. We had good momentum by the time I went to investors. We had access, since my husband and I were both bankers,” Economic Times quoted her saying.

In a 2017 interview, Nayar said that the first year of the business was their “honeymoon” period because they were busy designing. However, when orders started to come in, things began getting a little difficult because they were short-staffed.

“We worked from my house for three to four months when we started. For any business, the first year is a honeymoon period. It’s easy because you are just designing. The next year, when the business started scaling up, the person heading operations couldn’t cope with 30 orders a day and quit. We had to learn how to dispatch packages and set up an enterprise resource planning system. We shut operations to dispatch orders. Those days were a nightmare with many customer complaints. It was a 25-person office. Today (2017), we do 13,000 orders a day.”

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Once the metrics started to look good, Falguni and Sanjay turned to domestic high-net-worth individuals for investment.

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“If you don’t do well, it’s debt. I wanted pure equity. We have raised Rs 185 crore over three rounds with 20 unique investors,” she revealed.

Besides other brands, Nykaa started to grow its business by launching its own products and giving other domestic brands, like Kay Beauty by Katrina Kaif, a platform to launch and sell its products. They would also handle the marketing, PR, advertisements and content for the brands who signed up with them.

Things changed drastically with Nykaa’s IPO in November 2021. The brand made a debut on the stock exchange and its market capitalisation crossed Rs 1 lakh crore in early deals. In the past year, the company grew by 345% making Falguni Nayar enter the elite billionaire club, reports Zee News.

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Anas Rahman Junaid, MD and Chief Researcher, Hurun India, said, “The trends in IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List 2022 prove that India has taken booster shots against the global crisis. Be it Ukraine War or inflationary pressures, the Indian growth story continues against all odds as 149 individuals entered the IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich list of 1,103 who cumulatively have a wealth of INR 100 lakh crore. India also gave a new number two, Gautam Adani, to the Hurun Global Rich List,” reported Mint.

Here’s to the success of women in business!

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