Falguni Sanjay Nayar, popularly known as Falguni Nayar, is the CEO and Founder of NYKAA, a leading beauty and lifestyle retail company in India. Her company, formally known as FSN E-commerce Ventures  Pvt. Ltd., has earned her the title of the richest self-made billionaire woman in India. Globally, she has secured the 10th rank among self-made billionaire women, which is a remarkable achievement. Her journey is a testament to her unwavering determination and the heights one can reach through hard work and perseverance. In 2020, Nykaa became the first Indian unicorn start-up led by a woman to successfully launch an initial public offering (IPO). This landmark achievement established a significant milestone in the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem, highlighting the growing prominence and success of women-led businesses.


Falguni Nayar was born on February 19, 1963, in a Gujarati household and grew up in Mumbai. She was inspired and amazed by the world of trade as she saw her father running a bearing company in which her mother was also assisting him. Her father knows the value of educating women so he wanted to give her the best education possible. She pursued her bachelor’s degree in commerce from Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics. Later, received a master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. In 1987, Falguni married Sanjay Nayar.

Falguni has worked for 18 years as an investment banker at Kotak Mahindra Bank and also served as an MD of Kotak Mahindra Bank. As an investment banker, she met many entrepreneurs who came with the dream of starting their own business. This has motivated and uplifted her to start her venture at the age of 49.

After this, she started to research and explore to get the opportunity to start her business, by this she understands that the Indian market does not have an abundance of good quality beauty and make-up products. Most of the women purchased the product from a  local store as there was not much supply of beauty products and make-up brands. This was the time she realised that she needed to start her online venture so that Indian women could also have a wide range of beauty and makeup products and all the luxury, global products accessible.


As earlier discussed, Falguni Nayar wanted to start an online beauty brand for Indian women to have access to all the best quality products. In 2012, at the age of 50 years, she left her well-paid corporate job and started her online venture ‘NYKAA’  because she also has a desire to become an entrepreneur and to establish her own business . She launched, with $2 million of her own money. She began to stock up all the beauty and cosmetic products that were not available in the stores. Falguni partnered up with many luxury and popular beauty and make-up product brands  domestically and globally, to make it convenient for the Indians. 

 Nayar also faced many challenges and setbacks while setting up her business. Initially the E-Commerce platform consists of only 3 individuals and merely sold 60 products in first year (2012). However , Nykaa did not compromise on it’s price offerings.

“We’d rather sell the right colour of lipstick at full price, than the wrong shade at half off which would make the buyer unhappy within minutes of wearing,” Nayar told Bloomberg.

Nykaa has reached long way , without having very experience about the retail and technology industry.Being an MD and a investment banker she has the knowledge of investment in business had helped her in launching her company. A small number of beauty and make-up products were initially introduced by the company.NYKAA became profitable within a few years. The beauty brand was started as an online corporation and after a period of time it become an omni channel.

“We have taken the call to be an omnichannel retailer because beauty is a category where physical trial is critical. We realised that if we want to sell premium products or even affordable products in categories like blush and foundations, colour matching is very important. So we realised that in order to give our customers a really holistic beauty experience, we had to build a physical retail distribution,” said Nayar . 


  • 2012- Incorporation of FSN E-Commerce Ventures Private Limited
  • 2014- NYKAA opened its first physical store
  • 2015- Launched its own brand ‘Nykaa Cosmetics’ and also hosted Nykaa Femina beauty awards.
  • 2018- Janhavi Kapoor became the first brand ambassador of this beauty venture
  • 2020-Nykaa achieved unicorn status. Launched Nykd by Nykaa.
  • 2021-  IPO to establish as public listed Co. was open for subscription.
  • 2022- Nykaa launched its 100thretail store
  • 2023- Nykaa launched its own brand ‘Nyveda’ a potent ayurveda brand and  Crossed CCB of 24 Million by end of FY23


“The goal was always to start in a sunrise industry, nascent and ready for a market leader. The beauty industry in India has always been fragmented, be it online or offline”(source : Falguni Nayar speaking to Inc42 in 2017)


Mission of Nykaa is “To create a world where our consumers have access to a finely curated, authentic assortment of products and services that delight and elevate the human spirit.”

And wanted to bring an inspiration and joy to people everywhere, everyday.

According to Nayar, she wanted Nykaa “ to be meaningful, sustainable, valuable not just in the monetary sense, but wanted it to be valuable to the society.”


Nykaa made its debut on the stock market through its initial public offering (IPO) on October 28, 2021, with shares priced at INR 1,085-1,125 each. The response was overwhelming, with subscription requests reaching 82 times the available shares within just three days. The total bids for Nykaa shares amounted to approximately $32.53 billion, and upon listing, the shares traded at an impressive 80% premium. Nykaa’s shares debuted on both the BSE and NSE at INR 2001 and INR 2018 respectively, representing premiums of 77.87% and 79.38% over the IPO price.

The IPO was oversubscribed by 81.78 times, resulting in a fundraising of 5,352 crores (US$670 million) and valuing the company at US$7.4 billion. Nykaa officially entered the stock market on November 10, 2021, and experienced a remarkable 89.2% surge in its share price on the first day of trading, pushing its market valuation close to $13 billion. With a 53.5% stake in the company, founder Falguni Nayar has become India’s wealthiest self-made female billionaire. Nykaa’s shares reached a peak of INR 1,390 per share on the BSE by the end of May 2022.

 Nykaa is not only a brand that merges with international brands but is also a brand which promises to provide cruelty-free products. It also sells products related with wellness. It has also initiated it’s grooming products for men. Nykaa has approx 1,20,000 products from more than 1900 brands. There are different types of products provided by this beauty brand such as  make up, skin care, hare care, accessories, body fragrances etc.


 Nykaa has faced many challenges to grow its brand as there were other competitors in the market already such as Myntra, Purplle. Following are the challenges Nykaa faced on its success journey:


  1. Market Competition: Competing in the crowded beauty and cosmetics market posed a significant challenge for Nykaa. Established players and new entrants presented fierce competition, requiring Nykaa to differentiate itself from others through USP ( unique selling point). Nykaa purchase directly from the brands and sell it on full cost without compromising with the quality of products.
  2. Brand Building: Building brand recognition and trust in competitive market was as difficult for Nykaa. Especially as an online retailer , entering into predominantly offline market.Establishing the credibility and loyalty among consumers required strategic marketing efforts and consistent delivery of quality products and services.
  3. Supply Chain Management: Managing the supply chain efficiently to ensure timely delivery of products and maintain inventory level was another challenge.Nykaa had to navigate logistics and distribution challenges to meet consumers demands.
  4. Customer Satisfaction: Meeting customer expectations and providing excellent customer service amidst growing demand and competition was continuous challenge.


Despite all this , Nykaa strategic vision , innovative approach and relentless focus on customer satisfaction enable it to overcome obstacles and emerge as a leading player in the beauty and cosmetics industry.


Inventory based Model :

                                       Nykaa is a D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) e-commerce brand that runs on an inventory basis. It buys beauty and wellness products directly from manufacturers and keeps them at warehouses in Bangalore, Mumbai, and New Delhi. These items can be purchased on Nykaa’s website or at one of  it’s free physical retail locations: Nykaa Luxe, Nykaa on Trend, and Nykaa Kiosks. This inventory-based business strategy boosts the company’s profit margins and helps it grow. Furthermore, Nykaa validates the integrity of its products and keeps to reasonable pricing.

Revenue Model :

                             Nykaa’s business model is based on numerous streams, with the majority coming from the sale of its patented products both online and in physical retail locations. In addition to direct product sales, the company earns money from banner adverts, commissions from affiliate marketing, revenue from discounts, and a variety of other sources. This varied revenue strategy enables Nykaa to successfully exploit its platform and brand visibility, extracting value from all elements of its company operations while meeting the varying needs of its clients.


Nykaa’s rise to unicorn status was a historic moment in India’s economic environment, as it became the country’s first female-led unicorn. Nykaa become women headed unicorn in 2020. Journey to unicorn status was supported by multiple funding rounds from prominent investors. These rounds provided the capital needed for Nykaa’s expansion, innovation, and market penetration, fueling its growth and valuation.


“Falguni saw that there was a huge opportunity in the online space and considering all the different areas she could invest in or start a company, she focused on beauty”

Nihir Parikh, chief business officer at Nykaa

Falguni Nayar ,uses several marketing strategies to propel the growth of Nykaa such as : 

Digital Marketing : Nayar realized the potential of digital platforms early on and used them aggressively to market Nykaa. To expand its reach and increase client interaction, the company invested in online advertising, social media marketing, and influencer collaborations.

Personalization : Nykaa used personalized marketing methods, such as targeted email campaigns and personalized product recommendations, to improve customer shopping experiences and raise conversion rates.

Content Marketing : Nayar underlined the value of content marketing in educating and engaging customers. Nykaa’s web platform included instructional articles, videos, and beauty tips, cementing the brand’s reputation as a reliable source of beauty knowledge and increasing organic visitors.

Omnichannel approach : Nykaa implemented an omnichannel marketing strategy, recognizing the importance of both online and physical channels. The brand seamlessly integrated its online and offline channels, giving customers a consistent buying experience across all touch points.

Strategic Partnerships : Nayar formed strategic alliances with beauty businesses, influencers, and celebrities to increase Nykaa’s visibility and credibility. Collaborations with well-known celebrities enabled Nykaa to enter new markets and reach a larger audience.

Customer Engagement : Nykaa promoted customer interaction with interactive ads, sweepstakes, and loyalty programs. The brand built strong customer ties by establishing a feeling of community and rewarding loyalty.


  • Customer needs – The company should know what their customer wants and should have customer preference in mind to set up businesses. When Falguni Nayar started Nykaa her vision was “what should we mean to our customers.” By these they mean, they wanted to represent those women , who have the confidence.
  • Identify Niche –The person who is going to set up her new business should identify their niche.  As where they can have potential and have the opportunity to establish their business.
  • Keep on growing –  Nykaa has also faced challenges and setbacks but Falguni Nayar never stopped growing. She always stick to her business plan and was open to learn new things.
  • Try to experiment –  no one should be afraid of trying new things. By experience only someone can get the opportunity.
  • Faith – Everyone should follow their gut faith, and should believe in what they can do. Nayar was 50 years old when she started Nykaa. This was her belief that she can be an entrepreneur.

Innovative and Unique:  Falguni Nayar’s story told us that one should have an innovative and unique mindset to start up or launch a business. Nayar understood that the Indian market does not have access to international beauty products. She found opportunity in this field.


Falguni Nayar pursue her dream of becoming an entrepreneur at the age of 50, it states that it is never too late to pursue their dreams as long as you are determined to do it. The beginning of her journey depicts her risk-taking stride and enthusiasm, while her growing success demonstrates her desire to not just meet but exceed expectations.This was her inner passion and confidence that she is able to reach at the heights that she dreamt off. Falguni Nayar found an opportunity in the beauty sector where she makes her venture unique from others.


Pravleen Kaur

Pravleen Kaur