[100 Emerging Women Leaders] Meet Romita Mazumdar, a former investment banker who's now exploring skincare
For Romita Mazumdar, Founder and CEO of skincare brand Foxtale, starting up wasn’t one event but a series of events.
“Things in my life almost panned out organically, each leading to the other,” she says.
After college, Romita went to UCLA to pursue a bachelor's in business economics and became interested in investment banking in the first year itself. By her third year, she had found a full-time job at Bank of America.
“In 2018, when Flipkart got acquired by Walmart, it had one of the biggest impacts on my life. That was a big wake-up call to all of us in Silicon Valley. At that time, I was the only Indian in the bank and I was also evaluating international opportunities between the London and the Hong Kong offices, and they said, why don't you go back and try and help to set up this practice? So that's when I came to India,” shares Romita.
Romita went on to work as an investment analyst at A91 Partners in 2019.
"With that, I gained hardcore experience of the consumer market in India. I realised that the Indian market is not a white blanket. Every state behaves differently, each language represents its own differentiation, and there are different price points. At the same time, we have a very aspirational generation; they use social media and understand what's happening abroad. They are very good at adaptability, but at the same time, there’s value consciousness and for good reasons,” she elucidates.
Romita ended up spending a lot of time in the Indian consumer market, developing a love for consumer brands and a passion for psychoanalysing consumer behaviour, data etc.
She decided to foray into skincare within six months of starting up, led by her belief and clarity of purpose. As an entrepreneur, she believes that if you get into a category that you understand as a user, there's a lot of power to that.
Having founded Foxtale in 2021 in the middle of the pandemic came with its own set of pros and cons.
While she got her focus on the offering, the lockdown made it difficult for her to meet the manufacturer, with the manufacturing and formulation taking place in Chennai. So, every time a new product was created, it would take one week to reach her.
On fighting ingrained sexism within the industry, Romita says, “I am very high on self-awareness.”
“I've always been in situations where I was the only female and I was called out, sometimes with empathy and sometimes in a not-so-good way. But I never felt a strong need for recognising myself as the only woman except for the fact that I'm a banker or I'm an investor. But the last year has changed that perspective a lot. I take pride in the fact that I'm a woman entrepreneur because there are biases,” she says.
Edited by Kanishk Singh