Nykaa Fashion is set to open its first offline store in 2020, says CEO Adwaita Nayar

  • In an interview with Business Insider, Adwaita Nayar, CEO, Nykaa Fashion shares how her company is not like Amazon or Flipkart and why 2020 is going to be a big year.
  • A Yale and Harvard grad, Nayar has been a part of the founding team at Nykaa and was also its chief operating officer.
  • Nayar spearheaded Nykaa’s offline growth in 2017 and now she has the same plans for the fashion category.
Indian beauty retail platform Nykaa is a unicorn in the making, and the startup which gives tough competition to Amazon, Flipkart when it comes to beauty products. It now has much bigger plans in store.

In an interview with Business Insider, Adwaita Nayar, CEO, Nykaa Fashion shares how the company is not like Amazon or Flipkart and why 2020 is going to be a big year.

From beauty to fashion

Nykaa changed the way the Indian women shop for beauty products, bringing on board an exclusive platform for cosmetics.

In 2019, it launched Nykaa Fashion, showcasing its first venture away from the beauty category. This division was led by Adwaita Nayar, a member of the founding team of Nykaa and daughter of the founder Falguni Nayar. Falguni, an investment banker-turned-entrepreneur, had founded Nykaa in 2012.

“With beauty, we reinvented the way women shop for the category - we educate and inspire women to be excited about beauty, and in effect, have expanded the beauty market in India tremendously. In 2017, we started to believe we could deliver similar value to the fashion landscape and subsequently, by mid 2018, we committed ourselves wholeheartedly to building a multi-brand fashion platform - nykaafashion.com,” she said.

First offline store in 2020

In 2020, Nykaa Fashion has big plans. Nayar spearheaded Nykaa’s offline growth in 2017 and now she has the same plans for the fashion category.

“It's the year of creating unparalleled assortment, focusing on personalized discovery for consumers (which will mainly be led by Nykaa Fashion store,” she said.

Fighting off Amazon and Flipkart

During early days Nykaa’s founder Falguni Nayar was often asked a question - how will you stay Amazon proof?

In spite of competition, Nykaa managed to make a mark with its focus on beauty alone. SWith fashion, it’s an entirely different story. Fashion e-retail in India is led by Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra and the competition is only getting bigger with Instagram-first retail outlets too.

But while the competition is focused on a ‘lowest price first’ model, Nykaa Fashion believes that price is not the only motivator in shopping for fashion - style, value, choice and quality are equally important. The fashion vertical was also separated from Nykaa, as they believe instead of having a platform with all products it’s better to go with a single-focus approach.

“I do believe categories like fashion and beauty are more discovery and content-led. As a vertical player, focused on just fashion, we will be able to craft the user experience precisely for this vertical. In fact, we even took the call to separate fashion from beauty and run them as separate apps and even teams, as we felt the distinct focus would be able to deliver on the customer experience more effectively,” said Nayar.

Learning from the boss

A Yale University and Harvard Business School grad, Nayar has been a part of the founding team at Nykaa and also held the position of chief operating officer. She has seen her mother work day in and out building the product, yet she says she’s learning from her every day.

“I'm constantly learning so much from her - from the emphasis on profitability, budgeting and internal controls to her style of leadership,” she said.

However, there’s one quality above all that has stuck with the daughter – being brave.”The journey of building from scratch inevitably has lows and can often also feel lonely - from team attrition to competitive threats and milestone misses. To survive for the long-run, and to be the leader the team needs - you can't let anyone pull you down. You must learn to embrace the challenges as part of the path that must be walked and remain level-headed through it all,” she shared.

See Also:
Meet the women behind some of India’s very successful startups
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