Looking back to look ahead: Women entrepreneurs take stock and welcome 2023

Five women entrepreneurs told HerStory all about the lessons they learned in 2022, and what 2023 will bring them.

Looking back to look ahead: Women entrepreneurs take stock and welcome 2023

Friday December 16, 2022,

7 min Read

It’s that time of the year–when we look back at the year that was, while planning for the one ahead.

As we enter 2023, there’s still a long way to go when it comes to women’s entrepreneurship in India. Only 15% of Indian unicorns have women founders. According to the sixth economic census, by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, women comprise 13.76% of the total entrepreneurs in India which is 8.05 million out of the total 58.5 million entrepreneurs.

The numbers may look dismal but it’s also time to applaud the new-age women entrepreneurs leading the economic surge in the country. They are building and scaling businesses, learning from their mistakes and forging ahead with confidence.

Five women entrepreneurs tell us all about what 2022 taught them and what they are looking forward to next year.

looking back

Radhika Ghai, Priyanka Gill and Vineeta Singh

Multiple milestones

“As I look back at the year gone by, I feel blessed and grateful. 2022 has been a year of multiple milestones for me, where we have been able to achieve some memorable professional milestones, and an important personal milestone, my second son.

While it was a year of moments of pride and joy, there are many learnings as well. Every success has made me more humble and grounded, it comes with the added responsibility where people look up to you for learning and guidance and the responsibility of people is the biggest responsibility as they put in a lot of faith in you to lead the way.

We started on a journey of building 'why' based brands and have been able to build a strong portfolio of six brands. This year, itself, marked the launch of 2 of our owned brands and the acquisition of two renowned brands—Dr. Sheths and BBlunt.

Each brand has a strong purpose associated with it and the way our purpose initiatives have shaped us, motivates us to launch more such initiatives to give back to society. As for me, in order to move ahead, it is imperative to look back; not with remorse but with the intention to learn from our mistakes. I strongly believe that if one commits to hard work, and gets better with each passing day, every time they look back, it will be with joy and a sense of responsibility to do better in the future.

The coming year is extremely promising for the beauty and personal care sector and the learnings that we have acquired over the last year will help us build stronger brands and launch newer initiatives for our consumers."

Ghazal Alagh, Co-founder, Mamaearth

Making wellbeing easy

2022 was the year we all came out of the stupor of the pandemic—with never before learnings and a new sense (and respect) for normalcy and our own mortality. The pandemic had made us all take a step back and put self-care and wellness at the centre of our being. Thus it only made sense that it was also the first year we put kindlife in front of the Indian consumer, with the aim of making well-being easy for consumers across the country.

Channelling that vision we launched kindlife—a platform aimed at enabling consumers to make living better easy. Over the last year, we have partnered with 500+ kind brands and have over 1.5 million visitors every month. Our community has over one lakh members, creators and experts. Wellness commerce in India is projected to reach $285 billion by 2030, with more than 50% driven by high income and urban middle class and that’s the potential we are tapping.

Two main learnings that will continue to shine through 2023 stand out for us. First, the increasingly blurring lines between metro and non-metro cities. In fact, 70% of our customers are from non-metro cities in India—a number that we see increasing in the coming year as well.

Digitally native Gen-Z and millennials drive this growth and it’s time businesses pivot their understanding of Indian markets and move beyond parameters of Tier I and II.

Another key learning for us lies in acknowledging the ever-evolving generational gap. Within millennials, the consumption, purchase and reasoning patterns vary intensely, and Gen-Z adds a whole other sphere to the conversation. About 84% of kindlife’s consumers are under the age of 34, a mix of Gen-Z and young millennials. For them, both values and value matter.

Gen-Z has enormous potential and purchasing power, and it’s about time brands examine who they are at their core before trying to woo them. We expect 2023 to be the year when well-being truly starts becoming mainstream and is not a privilege for a young and elite few.

Radhika Ghai, Co-founder, kindlife

Acquisitions and collaborations

2022 was a phenomenal year for us at the Good Glamm Group. After our acquisitions in 2021, we focussed on consolidation and maximisation of synergy across all the group companies.

We rolled out three divisions: Good Brands Co., Good Media Co. and Good Creator Co. Getting appointed as the CEO of Good Media Co. was one of my high points as it is very fulfilling to see POPxo, ScoopWhoop, MissMalini, BabyChakra, and now Tweak India teams collaborate with each other.

Moreover, personally this year has been great as I completed my Executive MBA at Columbia Business School and London Business School and am all set for the graduation ceremony in February 2023.

Priyanka Gill, Co-founder, The Good Glamm Group | CEO, Good Media Co.

Changing women’s lives

2022 was the year of deep learning. Two and a half years into running The Woman’s Company, we spent a great deal of time analysing what was working for us and what needed to be changed and found ourselves overhauling a lot of our systems from CRM to supply chain, reducing our pricing and really listening to and responding to our customers when it came to catering to their product needs. 

As a D2C morphing into a D2C2B business in the last two quarters, 2023 is going to find us deeper into the Tier II, III and IV markets of India–focusing on providing nonchemical, non-plastic products in the menstrual hygiene space to as many women as possible across all platforms.

Women deserve more than to be wearing the equivalent of four plastic bags on their bodies per day per period. As a women-founded company, we are utterly serious about changing that for every single woman across the country–and then the globe.

Anika Parashar, Founder & CEO, The Woman's Company

Planning for growth

The year 2022, truly has been bigger and better for entire industry. Finally, a year which saw no pandemic restrictions, after the previous few years which were a bit unpredictable. This year, SUGAR Cosmetics touched larger milestones like making it to be one of the few brands that has launched more than 120 of its own stores in retail, making it a total of 45,000 retail touchpoint across 550 cities.

SUGAR’s Instagram page garnered 2.4 million following making it the largest consumer brand in India on the platform. While the brand has already crossed Rs 500 crore in annual net revenue run-rate the coming year is very crucial as we plan on exuberant growth across our core pillars: product, distribution (online & offline), content, and community.

Vineeta Singh, Co-founder & CEO, SUGAR Cosmetics

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti