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India bright on radar of global players; am optimistic about future: Falguni Nayar

Nykaa's Falguni Nayar sees a lot of headroom for growth in beauty, personal care and fashion business in India and is optimistic about the future.

India bright on radar of global players; am optimistic about future: Falguni Nayar

Monday March 18, 2024 , 4 min Read

India is beeping on the radar of global players with strong drivers like young, aspiring population, rising income levels, and resilient infrastructure and digital networks, Nykaa Founder and CEO Falguni Nayar said on Monday, adding she is extremely "optimistic" and "confident" about the future.

In an interview with PTI, the self-made billionaire also said the recent instances of corporate governance lapses in some well-known startups will lead to greater scrutiny by investors (in the ecosystem), and asserted that a governance agenda has to be set out very early in an entrepreneurial journey.

Any compromise on governance just because a company is growing or chasing size and scale cannot be justified, she emphasised.

Nykaa, she added, has been very strong on governance.

Nayar—the top boss at omnichannel beauty and fashion retailer Nykaa—said her entrepreneurial journey—which started at the age of almost 50—has been "amazing" and advised aspiring entrepreneurs to be driven by their dreams and stay invested in their venture to create sustainable value over a long term.

Nayar sees a lot of headroom for growth in beauty, personal care and fashion business in India and is optimistic about the future.

"At one point we say it is a long-term opportunity. It is evident from how the income levels have lifted throughout our country, that growth and infrastructure in the country are visible...Young people are energised with what they can do," she said, adding government policies too have been supportive and acted as enablers for overall growth.

According to her, as all these essential ingredients—rising consumption, entrepreneurship, physical and digital infrastructure—come together, India is being noticed by global players.

"What Nykaa has seen is that most of the global beauty company CEOs have visited us in recent times... it has been amazing to see how the global CEOs and Chairmen of top ten beauty companies have all been in our country wanting to do more. That is what is telling us that the world has an interest in working with India. And the future is bright," she said.

She advised entrepreneurs to brace for the long run, and be energised by their dream of building a strong venture.

"I have always told entrepreneurs `love what you do'....the journeys have to be long...I have always said more than 10 years-plus...to be able to reach your destination...and create value that is sustainable," she said.

Nayar said the rising incomes and economic growth augur well for the beauty and fashion business in India. She added that consumption in these categories will only rise, going forward.

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"In beauty and fashion, the per capita consumption in India is so low that it has to be going up, multifold, with new gains in income that we are seeing. We have seen this journey in China too. India is today where China was 15-16 years ago. And it just went through a consumption boom in all categories, particularly the beauty and fashion segments. So we are very confident that it is going to be repeated in India," she said.

Nayar, who is attending the ongoing 'Startup Mahakumbh', said the mega-event is an "amazing showcase" of India's innovation, to the younger generation.

"The organisers have been able to bring together young innovators from many industries and it will be a delight for visitors to see the kind of innovation sweeping India," she said.

The startup ecosystem in India has always focused on consumers and solving their needs, through innovation.

"That is how they brought solutions that allowed new industries to flourish...today we see that the size and scale of startups is immense. Most of the startup companies have millions of customers," she said.

Entrepreneurship, she said, is about risk-taking and being resilient through the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial journey.

"So sometimes emotion is positive but the journey is mixed and you have to be able to go through ups and downs of the journey and have that energy each day to move forward and reach your destination," she said.

On the cases of corporate governance and regulatory lapses in the Indian startup ecosystem, Nayar emphasised that governance has to be at the core of operations.

"I think the companies also will learn their lesson that there cannot be compromises on governance...compromising on governance, because you're growing or because you're going after size and scale...that is not a justification for not following the rules. If the industry has rules laid out, then the companies have to follow them," she said.