Falguni Nayar is a renowned Indian businesswoman who is the founder and CEO of Nykaa, a beauty and lifestyle retail company, that deals in selling beauty, wellness, and fashion products across websites, mobile apps, and offline stores in India. In September 2022, Falguni, as per the IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List 2022, grabbed the 33rd spot in the top 100 billionaires list, surpassing Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, to become the richest self-made woman in India. Hindustan Times
Falguni Nayar was born on Tuesday, 19 February 1963 (age 59 years; as of 2022) in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Falguni Nayar – Facebook Her zodiac sign is Aquarius. Her hometown is Halvad in Morbi district, Gujarat. Dainik Bhaskar Falguni attended The New Era School in Mumbai. In 1980, Falguni got herself enrolled at the Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai, to earn a bachelor’s degree in commerce. In 1983, she pursued a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. Falguni Nayar – LinkedIn
Height (approx.): 5′ 3″
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Falguni’s father ran a small bearings company in Vasan Udyog Bhavan, Lower Parel, Mumbai. Forbes In 1947, during the partition of India and Pakistan, her father shifted from Karachi to India. He began his career as a Sanskrit teacher at a school in Mumbai, and later he started his own bearing company. Falguni’s mother, Rashmi Mehta, assisted her father in managing the business.
Husband & Children
In May 1987, Falguni Nayar got married to Sanjay Nayar, chairman of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., which is a global investment firm in India that offers alternative asset management, capital markets, and insurance solutions.
The couple met while both were studying at IIM in Ahmedabad. In an interview, Falguni recalled her college days, where she, along with her husband, had the same study group and said,
Together, they have twins, Anchit Nayar and Adwaita Nayar.
Falguni’s son, Anchit Nayar, who graduated from Columbia University, is the CEO of E-commerce Beauty at Nykaa, and her daughter, Adwaita Nayar, who holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School, is the co-founder of Nykaa and CEO of Nykaa Fashion. Adwaita is married to Anubhav Gupta.
In May 1985, Falguni joined as a manager at A F Ferguson & Co., a British Indian accounting firm, and she served there till December 1993.
Director and Head of Institutional Equities Business
In 1994, Falguni switched to Kotak Securities, and she joined as the head of international business in London, United Kingdom, to set up the firm’s international operations. In 1997, the company transferred her to New York’s branch of Kotak Securities. In 2001, Falguni came back to India, and she was promoted to the post of director and head of institutional equities business in Mumbai, and she served there till 2007.
In December 2007, after serving Kotak Securities for thirteen years, Falguni was appointed as the Managing Director of Kotak Investment Banking. After serving as a managing director for more than four years, Falguni quit her job in March 2012.
Founder and CEO
In April 2012, Falguni launched her start-up, Nykaa, a multi-brand retailer platform, which deals in beauty, fashion, and wellness products. Nykaa is a one-stop platform, which sells makeup, skincare, haircare, bath and body, fragrance, grooming appliances, personal care, and health products, online and in offline stores. Nykaa deals in domestic brands, luxury brands, Indian brands, and International brands for beauty and wellness products.
Nykaa- Story of Success
While working in the private sector, Falguni aspired to open her own business venture. After quitting her job at Kotak Investment Bank, Falguni wanted to launch her startup before turning fifty. She came up with a few business ideas in her mind, and she chose the concept of launching an online multi-brand beauty store in India. The idea came up after she noticed women purchasing beauty and grooming products in their nearby shops, where they had no option for any trial, price comparisons, or personal reviews, and even had limited choice of brands. To provide customers with a variety of brands, high or low priced, with trials, tutorials, and discounts, she conceptualized the idea of Nykaa. The Print In an interview, on being asked how she ended up with the idea of launching an online beauty retailer store, Falguni said,
As I think back, many years of working as a professional taught me a lot of things that may have come in handy in this leg of my journey. I always wanted to become an entrepreneur and I felt that I had more time and the ability to commit myself at a certain age and point in my life. Around 2009 is when I started itching to want to do more and Nykaa germinated out of that. I am glad that I did it. What it shows is that – whether gender, age, background, and education- none of that is a bar and you can do what you set your mind to do. Moneycontrol
Launch- The Early Period
On 1 April 2012, Falguni started working on her online beauty-oriented retail start-up, Nykaa, and on 21 April 2012, she registered her parent company FSN E-Commerce Ventures Private Ltd. Falguni started the journey of Nykaa from her home. The website was launched on 1 October 2012, and it was available commercially in 2013. Forbes Initially, Falguni faced a few problems with order placement, product selection, and its dispatch. In an interview, Falguni recalled the early days of her business, and the obstacles faced by her and said,
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 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, we do 13,000 orders a day Economics Times
In its early years, Nykaa was funded entirely by Falguni Nayar, and her husband, Sanjay Nayar. She invested approximately 16 crores ($2 million) to launch Nykaa Forbes. In an interview, talking about why she opted out of external funding in the initial years of her business, Falguni said,
Initially, Falguni started with 30 orders a day, which gradually rose to 1000 orders per day by customizing products for Indian skin tone and weather, offering discounts, and distributing free product samples. Business Standard
Rise To Success
In a couple of years, after establishing Nykaa as a prominent online startup, Falguni decided to launch Nykaa offline. In 2015, she launched her first offline store at T3 International Airport, Delhi Forbes, and till June 2019, it launched 41 offline stores across 18 cities in India. Fashion Network In 2018, Falguni launched two other verticals, Nykaa Man and Nykaa Fashion. Nykaa Man, a lifestyle platform, includes a wide range of products for men’s grooming, skincare, and wellness, whereas, Nykaa Fashion included clothing, footwear, accessories, and lifestyle products for women. In March 2020, Nykaa turned unicorn, after five rounds of funding by Falguni, and its investors, making it India’s first woman-led unicorn. NDTV (Unicorn refers to a privately owned startup, which reaches a $1 billion valuation.) In December 2020, Falguni launched the first offline store of Nykaa Fashion at Ambience Mall in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj. Fashion Network Apart from Indian brands, Falguni introduced International brands like Huda Beauty, Estee Lauder, Bobbi Brown, MAC, Charlotte Tilbury, etc.
Nykaa store has three formats:
Nykaa on trend
Nykaa on Trend offers beauty and wellness products of the brand which trends on Nykaa’s online platform like Lakmé, Kama Ayurveda, Maybelline New York, Toni & Guy, The Face Shop, LA Girl, DearPacker, Kaya, Wella Professionals, Calvin Klein, and Davidoff.
Nykaa Luxe store offers beauty and wellness products from premium and luxury brands such as Estee Lauder, Dior, Huda Beauty, and M.A.C Cosmetics. In 2017, its first offline store was launched at VR Mall, Bengaluru. Fashion Network
Nykaa Beauty Kiosk
Nykaa Beauty Kiosk is an offline store, smaller than the regular Nykaa store, and it offers a limited choice of selective products. In 2019, Nyka Beauty Kiosks’ first offline store was launched at Growel’s 101 Mall in Kandivali, Mumbai. Fashion Network
IPO and listing
On 28 October 2021, FSN E-Commerce Ventures, the parent company of Nykaa, launched its IPO (Initial Public Offering) and planned to raise approximately Rs 5,350 crore by fixing the price band at Rs 1,085-1,125 per share. The Economic Times On 1 November 2021, on the final day of bidding, the IPO was oversubscribed more than 82 times. On 10 November 2021, Nykaa made its stock debut, and it was listed at Rs 2,001 per share on BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange) against the IPO issue price of Rs 1,125, and on NSE (National Stock Exchange), it opened at Rs 2,018 per share, making a premium of 79% to the issue price. Nykaa’s valuation increased to approximately Rs 95,437 crore ($12.86 billion) after a successful debut on the stock market. The Economic Times As per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, after listing Nykaa on the stock market, Falguni became the richest self-made woman in India with a net worth of about $7.03 billion. Forbes
- 2015: Digital Women Award at the SheThePeople Awards
- 2017: Woman Ahead Award at the Economic Times Start-Up Awards
- 2018: Devi Award for her excellence and innovation at the Sunday Standard Devi Awards
- 2019: Businesswoman of the Year Award at the Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence
- 2019: Businessperson of the Year Award by Vogue India
- 2019: EY Entrepreneur of The Year Award in the start-up category at the EY Entrepreneur of The Year Awards
- 2019: Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the BW Disrupt Women Entrepreneur Summit and Awards
- 2021: Lokmat Most Stylish Business Person of the Year Award at the Lokmat Most Stylish Awards
- 2021: EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the EY Entrepreneur of The Year Awards
- 2022: Newsmaker of the Year Award at the Express Awards for Women Entrepreneurs
- Accessory: Bottega Veneta Clutch and a Rolex watch
- Cocktail: Caipiroska
- Wine: Château Latour
- Champagne: Moët & Chandon
- Beverage: Black Coffee
- Watch Brand: Rolex
- Perfume: Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien
- TV Show: Friends
- Cuisine(s): Thai, Gujarati, and Awadhi
- TV Channel: Colors
- Cafe: Zoe, Mumbai
- Restaurant: Hakkasan in London
- Newspaper: Business Standard
- Holiday Destination: Paris, Maldives, and Florence
- Shoe Brand: Salvatore Ferragamo
- Fashion House: Chanel
- Motto: “Retail is all about detail”
- Falguni is fluent in languages like Hindi, Gujarati, French, and English.
- In an interview, Falguni talked about her father’s role in shaping her career as an entrepreneur and said,
My father treated me and my brother equally and encouraged me to aim high and pursue my dreams,” she says. Growing up in a business environment has been an important part of her life because it taught her the nitty-gritty of commerce — investment, stock market, insurance. Even at a young age, I could read balance sheets and insurance statements. At a glance, I could advice my dad about what would work and what wouldn’t.” Outlook Business
- Before launching Nykaa, Falguni served as an independent advisor at Temasek, a Singaporean state investment company, which has invested in several Indian companies like Just Dial, Zomato, and Snapdeal. Dabur
- The brand name Nykaa is derived from the Sanskrit word nayaka, which means ‘actress’ or ‘one in the spotlight.’ Nykaa. In an interview, on being asked why she chose the word Nykaa for her startup, Falguni replied,
- Falguni is fond of travelling, trekking, and watching Hindi romantic films.
- In an interview, on being asked why she chose the beauty sector after having almost a two-decade career in investment banking, Falguni replied,
I used to live in the U.S. and I had travelled to both, Japan and Korea. I saw consumers buy a lot of beauty products. So when I moved back to India in 2001, I generally observed that there was not adequate availability of the beauty products and the kind of environment in which these had to be bought faced a certain challenges. Since beauty is a long tail business, it was difficult to service the market in the absence of an online business. So with all that conviction, I wanted to set up a large multi-brand retailer for beauty and I went about trying to build that business in India.” The Peacock Magazine
- In India, Nykaa is the only retailer that sells international brands like e.l.f, Charlotte Tilbury, Tonymoly, Becca, Sigma, Limecrime, Dermalogica, and Murad.
- Falguni serves on the board of several companies like ACC, Dabur, Endurance Group, and Tata Technologies. Falguni Nayar – LinkedIn
- In an interview, Falguni recalled her childhood memories in her hometown and said,
Halvad is my village. As a child, she used to come every summer vacation. My grandmother used to live here. I loved the mansion. Therefore, in childhood, he used to go to the haveli once or twice a day with his grandmother. When I was in Halvad, I used to come daily to see Peethad Mataji. Dainik Bhaskar
- In an interview, Falguni shared her experience when in the initial years of her career, she dealt with the issue of affinity.
- Falguni launched the official YouTube channel of Nykaa on 10 March 2014, where videos related to makeup tutorials and skincare are posted; the channel has more than 1M subsribers.
- Falguni is one of the board of directors of the Asia Society in India. In 2006, the Asia Society India Centre was founded by Manmohan Singh who is the 13th prime minister of India, to encourage, develop, and exchange ideas in the field of business, policies, art, and culture.
- In an interview, talking about empowering women by giving them employment in her organisation, she said,
We hire a lot of women in our organisation. I always encourage women to be committed to their work and take on more responsibility. Often, what is lacking in women is commitment. When I see them committed, I try to provide them with much-needed support. In fact, our largest category — skincare — is handled by a woman.” Outlook Business
- On 11 February 2015, Nykaa hosted the ‘Nykaa Femina Beauty Awards,’ which was an Indian consumer choice beauty award show, in partnership with Femina, an Indian women’s lifestyle magazine, in Mumbai.
- In September 2018, Janhvi Kapoor, an Indian actress, was announced as the brand ambassador of Nykaa.
- In an interview, Falguni talked about the challenges she faced as she launched her start-up and said,
I personally feel when I decided to start Nykaa at 50 with no experience in beauty, no experience in technology, no experience in retail, it was all a learning curve. Even finding the right employees and investors who believed in me was tough. But it was the belief in me that I could do it, and not accepting any setbacks is what carried me through is what I can say.
- Indian Bollywood celebrities like Katrina Kaif and Alia Bhatt invested Rs 2.04 crore in 2018 and Rs 4.95 crore in 2020 respectively in Nykaa. GQ
- In May 2019, Nykaa acquired 20Dresses.com, which is a women’s clothing and styling brand.
- In September 2019, Falguni was included in the list of top 25 businesswomen by Forbes Asia’s Power Businesswomen 2019. Falguni Nayar – LinkedIn
- Falguni Nyar has featured on the cover of a few magazines like Forbes and The Peacock Magazine.
- In August 2019, Masaba Gupta collaborated with Nykaa, and she launched Masaba by Nykaa, a beauty range of lipsticks and nail paints. Mint
- In October 2019, Nykaa launched India’s first celebrity beauty brand, Kay Beauty, with actress Katrina Kaif. Fashion Network
- In 2020, Nykaa launched Nykaa Pro, which is a premium membership for salons, hairstylists, makeup artists, academics, and independent beauticians, that provides users with special access to professional beauty products and offers via Nykaa’s online application.
- In 2021, Business Today recognised Falguni Nayar as one of the Most Powerful Women in Business. Business Today
- In 2021, Falguni bagged the 88th position in Forbes’ 18th annual list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Forbes
- In April 2021, Nykaa Fashion acquired the online Indian fashion jewellery brand, Pipa Bella The Economic Times, and in October 2021, it acquired the Indian skincare brand, Dot & Key Mint.
- In March 2022, Falguni bagged the tenth position in the Hurun Richest Self-Made Women In The World 2022 list. Moneycontrol
- In April 2022, Nykaa announced investments in three companies namely Earth Rhythm, Nudge Wellness and KICA. Nykaa acquired an 18.51% stake for Rs 41.65 crore in beauty brand Earth Rhythm, which is India’s first homegrown brand for healthy and safe skincare Earth Rhythm. It acquired a 60% stake for Rs 3.6 crore in Nudge Wellness, which promotes edible beauty and wellness products among consumers in India, and it acquired KICA, a women’s activewear brand, for Rs 4.51 crore. Business Today
- In an interview, on being asked what advice would she give to the youth, who aspire to become an entrepreneur, Falguni replied,
Don’t be afraid to take risks along the way. You are blessed to be entering a world which is now increasingly risk friendly. Spend the early years of your career taking the right risks and make some bold bets on yourself. Test what you like and what you don’t. Take on roles that put you outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Decision-making will not always be easy, and often there will be no straightforward answer. So, trust your gut to an extent, it will guide you well. Any entrepreneurship needs a lot of passion, hard work, conviction, and time. The Economic Times
- Falguni Nayar’s company, Nykaa, has the tagline ‘Your Beauty, Our Passion.’