Case spotlight: Nykaa – Celebrating the Star in You!

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This case was featured in the June 2022 issue of Connect.

Who – the protagonist

Falguni Nayar, Founder and CEO of beauty and lifestyle company Nykaa.

What?

Nayar took the bold step, aged 50, of leaving her successful investment banking career and following her entrepreneurial dream.

Spotting an opportunity in 2012, Falguni entered the cosmetic e-retailer market segment where a customer base was largely ignored by larger brands, with established e-commerce players such as Amazon offering a wide range of products, but failing to cater to the niche aspirational women section of the beauty market.

Initially investing $2 million of her own money, Nayar listed Nykaa on the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange (India), becoming the second richest businesswomen in the country with a net worth of $7.9 billion.

Make up

Why?

Nayar had full control over growing Nykaa into a company that offered 130,000 products across its website and through its 80 shops in 40 Indian cities.

But now that Nykaa had become a public entity that was responsible and answerable to thousands of retail shareholders, Nayar might not be able to pay attention to every detail.

When?

It was on 10 November 2021 when Nykaa made Nayar the richest self-made female billionaire of India, with the initial public offering oversubscribing by 81.78 times into a blockbuster IPO.

Where?

Nykaa was headquartered in Mumbai, with more than 2,000 employees spread across two sites in New Delhi and Mumbai.

Nykaa first began its operations online but it now also has stores around India.

Key quote

“To everyone across India who ever had a dream, especially women with a dream. I hope the Nykaa journey – an Indian-born, India-owned and Indian-managed dream come true – can inspire each of you to be the Nykaa of your lives.”
Falguni Nayar, Founder and CEO of beauty and lifestyle company Nykaa.

What next?

The beauty space was only beginning to open up, with empowered women claiming their position and fulfilling their aspirations in the society. Nykaa had promised to be their confidante and companion, so there was still a long way to go.

Nayar needed to consider Nykaa’s future leadership transition and prepare her team for the future inevitability of taking on the mantle in her absence, allowing the company to continue to go from strength to strength.

AUTHOR PERSPECTIVE 

Inspiring protagonist

Soumi said: “I have been a long-time customer of Nykaa and their offerings have always intrigued me as this was the first ever online one-stop beauty products destination in India. However, my interest piqued when I read a few articles about the Founder – Falguni Nayar, that described her as a risk taker who took the unconventional path to her entrepreneurial journey. As news started circulating about Nykaa planning to go for an IPO, I felt the company and its founder had finally arrived in the beauty space and anchored themselves as differentiators in the mind of consumers and investors alike.

“Thus, I started tracking the journey of this gutsy lady who took a leap of faith in founding Nykaa at 50 years of age, after leaving a well-established corporate position and enriching career; miles away from what conventional advice would dictate! I wanted to tell her story, that of India’s first self-made billionaire woman and, like her, I want her story to inspire other women in the country and across the world to follow their dreams, despite the advice of naysayers.

“Through this case, I want the readers to understand that there is no right or wrong timing to take an entrepreneurial risk. If you are clear about your dream and you are passionate about what you want to do, then the world is your playground.”

Fact checking

Soumi continued: “Verifying the multiple news articles and cross-checking did consume some time, as so much had already been written about Nykaa in the media in the past few years. It was important to understand and verify those facts, and then weave the story together.”

Lively discussion

She explained: “Most lively discussion in class centres around the potential growth of new age businesses, challenges for entrepreneurs with specific focus on women entrepreneurs in an Indian cultural backdrop and the leadership aspect from vision, strategy to execution and evolution of Nykaa as a formidable challenger in the beauty and personal care segment.

“While this case study pertains to an Indian brand, its journey could help prospective entrepreneurs craft their dreams with a spirit of ‘not giving up’ even in the face of cynics and instil in them the confidence to keep moving against all odds. 

“For prospective managers, this case study highlights the aspects of strategic vision, astute planning and a deep understanding of the business, its young consumers and future.”

less is more

Less is more

Soumi concluded: “When a case is being written using secondary sources, there is a lot of data available for consideration. However, when writing a case, one does not want to repeat all that has already been said. Here, it is important for the case writer to discern what exactly the central theme of the case is, or for what course is it being written.

“Also, to write an interesting case and entice the reader, it is important to be an observer of what is happening in the current context. Stories that are in the news and have relevance to ongoing business context find more readers, as they can relate to the context and situations easily. Any historical context may garner a niche audience as a lot of the intended audience (students) may not feel connected to that era.”

THE CASE 

The case

Who – the protagonist

Falguni Nayar, Founder and CEO of beauty and lifestyle company Nykaa.

What?

Nayar took the bold step, aged 50, of leaving her successful investment banking career and following her entrepreneurial dream.

Spotting an opportunity in 2012, Falguni entered the cosmetic e-retailer market segment where a customer base was largely ignored by larger brands, with established e-commerce players such as Amazon offering a wide range of products, but failing to cater to the niche aspirational women section of the beauty market.

Initially investing $2 million of her own money, Nayar listed Nykaa on the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange (India), becoming the second richest businesswomen in the country with a net worth of $7.9 billion.

Make up

Why?

Nayar had full control over growing Nykaa into a company that offered 130,000 products across its website and through its 80 shops in 40 Indian cities.

But now that Nykaa had become a public entity that was responsible and answerable to thousands of retail shareholders, Nayar might not be able to pay attention to every detail.

When?

It was on 10 November 2021 when Nykaa made Nayar the richest self-made female billionaire of India, with the initial public offering oversubscribing by 81.78 times into a blockbuster IPO.

Where?

Nykaa was headquartered in Mumbai, with more than 2,000 employees spread across two sites in New Delhi and Mumbai.

Nykaa first began its operations online but it now also has stores around India.

Key quote

“To everyone across India who ever had a dream, especially women with a dream. I hope the Nykaa journey – an Indian-born, India-owned and Indian-managed dream come true – can inspire each of you to be the Nykaa of your lives.”
Falguni Nayar, Founder and CEO of beauty and lifestyle company Nykaa.

What next?

The beauty space was only beginning to open up, with empowered women claiming their position and fulfilling their aspirations in the society. Nykaa had promised to be their confidante and companion, so there was still a long way to go.

Nayar needed to consider Nykaa’s future leadership transition and prepare her team for the future inevitability of taking on the mantle in her absence, allowing the company to continue to go from strength to strength.

AUTHOR PERSPECTIVE 

Author perspective

Inspiring protagonist

Soumi said: “I have been a long-time customer of Nykaa and their offerings have always intrigued me as this was the first ever online one-stop beauty products destination in India. However, my interest piqued when I read a few articles about the Founder – Falguni Nayar, that described her as a risk taker who took the unconventional path to her entrepreneurial journey. As news started circulating about Nykaa planning to go for an IPO, I felt the company and its founder had finally arrived in the beauty space and anchored themselves as differentiators in the mind of consumers and investors alike.

“Thus, I started tracking the journey of this gutsy lady who took a leap of faith in founding Nykaa at 50 years of age, after leaving a well-established corporate position and enriching career; miles away from what conventional advice would dictate! I wanted to tell her story, that of India’s first self-made billionaire woman and, like her, I want her story to inspire other women in the country and across the world to follow their dreams, despite the advice of naysayers.

“Through this case, I want the readers to understand that there is no right or wrong timing to take an entrepreneurial risk. If you are clear about your dream and you are passionate about what you want to do, then the world is your playground.”

Fact checking

Soumi continued: “Verifying the multiple news articles and cross-checking did consume some time, as so much had already been written about Nykaa in the media in the past few years. It was important to understand and verify those facts, and then weave the story together.”

Lively discussion

She explained: “Most lively discussion in class centres around the potential growth of new age businesses, challenges for entrepreneurs with specific focus on women entrepreneurs in an Indian cultural backdrop and the leadership aspect from vision, strategy to execution and evolution of Nykaa as a formidable challenger in the beauty and personal care segment.

“While this case study pertains to an Indian brand, its journey could help prospective entrepreneurs craft their dreams with a spirit of ‘not giving up’ even in the face of cynics and instil in them the confidence to keep moving against all odds. 

“For prospective managers, this case study highlights the aspects of strategic vision, astute planning and a deep understanding of the business, its young consumers and future.”

less is more

Less is more

Soumi concluded: “When a case is being written using secondary sources, there is a lot of data available for consideration. However, when writing a case, one does not want to repeat all that has already been said. Here, it is important for the case writer to discern what exactly the central theme of the case is, or for what course is it being written.

“Also, to write an interesting case and entice the reader, it is important to be an observer of what is happening in the current context. Stories that are in the news and have relevance to ongoing business context find more readers, as they can relate to the context and situations easily. Any historical context may garner a niche audience as a lot of the intended audience (students) may not feel connected to that era.”

THE CASE 

The protagonist

Falguni Nayar
Founder and CEO
Read the case

Educators can login to view a free educator preview copy of this case and its accompanying teaching note.

CASE - Reference no. 321-0410-1
TEACHING NOTE - Reference no. 321-0410-8
INDUSTRY NOTE - Reference no. 321-0410-5
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