Falguni Nayar, the billionaire founder of online beauty products retailer Nykaa, said on Friday that as businesses demand a broader range of skills, women need to broaden their education and learning to include skills in marketing, technology, operations, and supply chain.
Nayar, who founded Nykaa at the age of 50, spoke at length about the lessons she learned while building the company, which now has 15 million registered users and processes 1.5 million monthly orders, while speaking virtually at industry body Ficci's annual convention and 94th AGM. Nykaa was recently placed on the stock exchanges.
After graduating from IIM Ahmedabad, Nayar worked for AF Ferguson and Co., a management consulting firm, before joining Kotak Mahindra Capital. She made a goal for herself to create a business by the age of 50, inspired by her businessman father. Nykaa was founded by her in 2012. She built Nykaa into the go-to beauty products website with no prior experience in retail, technology, beauty, or fashion but a strong finance background.
Starting off as an entrepreneur, on the other hand, needed a lot of learning, unlearning, and relearning, according to Nayar.
“I built a company that appeals to the millennials. A lot of my workforce was millennial. And I really had to sometimes think of things very differently, to appeal to my customers, as well as my employees and be totally open to a new way of working compared to what I was used to," she said at the session in conversation with Naina Lal Kidwai, former president, Ficci and chairperson, Advent India advisory board.
Nayar, recalling her own early days, said women must tap into their networks and broaden their skills beyond their primary competencies.
“Many women do not build networks. In terms of soft skills, women must build the right networks and relationships that are required to succeed and get the information they need to make their business succeed. At the same time, an entrepreneur must understand how to negotiate deals, how to brand their businesses and themselves and how to pitch to investors and their ability to take the right risks," she said.
Furthermore, women must pursue a "broad" set of goals "She argued for equality between male and female workers across the educational spectrum.
“And I don’t mean formally in colleges, but you know, on the job, they should be open to learning not just their strengths; if they are strong in finance, they should be open to learning marketing, technology, operations and supply chain, because today’s successful businesses need all of that and more. And the other thing is you have to stay committed to yourself and also believe in yourself," she said.