Experts Column

India's D2C Revolution Is Just Getting Started

SukhleenAneja, CEO of Good Glamm FMCG & Beauty Brands, is a Purpose-Driven Business Leader with a passion for consumer marketing and vast experience leading varied businesses across FTSE Top 10 and Fortune 100 firms, including Unilever, L'Oreal, and RB. On renowned Global Power brands like Dettol, Garnier, Durex, and Lakme, she has a strong track record of performance by building category growth platforms, brand campaigns focused on driving behavior change, building high performance teams, and generating Innovation funnels both upstream and downstream.

Tell us about your journey to becoming the CEO of the Good Glamm Group, a beauty and cause consumer brand.

It's difficult to make a statement about a journey because the way things work out in life is that the sum total of your entire work carries you from one end to the other. I spent the majority of my working life in the beauty industry, where I began with Hindustan Unilever. I've had the pleasure of working with brands likeLakme, where we reinvented the brand and introduced a premium portfolio known as Lakme Absolute. Following that, I had the opportunity to work on personal care brands. I got the opportunity to work on Dettol, Veet, and other personal care brands before joining L'Oreal for two years. I worked with Garnier across Asia, with a particular focus on India, in a variety of categories including hair care, hair colour, and skin. So that entire experience has given me a thorough understanding of personal care categories and consumers. And today, as I stand here, the huge potential in Good Glam is that India's entire D2C revolution is only getting started. To that extent, it's a great time to be in the industry, and an even more great time to be stepping into Good Glam.

Give us some insights about the representation of women in the FMCG Industry.

The industry that I represent is FMCG - Fast Moving Consumer Goods. Within that, women are well-represented at all levels of the organization. With the rise of startups, more women are stepping forward, because the entire startup ecosystem now allows for a great deal of flexibility, making it easier for women to thrive. As a result, a great number of women are joining in. Our only concern is finding ways to increase the number of women in leadership positions. We must also figure out how we can mentor and support them to create a higher representation of women in senior-levels in the corporate world.

What is your vision and goal for the firm as CEO of the Good Glam Group?

The founders have outlined a bold and inspiring vision, which is, how we truly ensure that we can make good glam, the largest digital conglomerate in South Asia. As a result, we'll be launching a slew of significant D2C businesses that will put the customer first. So there's a promising start.

Tell us about you expertise in the FMCG and beauty industry. What is the leadership mantra that you follow?

My ability to think strategically and build large brands that are sharp, and have a point of view,  are expertise that I would bring to the table, and the other thing, which hopefully I'll be able to drive together with my team, is operational excellence.

I have a simple mantra that I abide by: hire the best people you, trust them, give them space to grow and allow people to thrive by themselves. 

What are the roles and responsibilities that you currently shoulder at Good Glam Group?

As the CEO of the FMCG and beauty part of the business, I believe my entire responsibility would be focused on developing a strategic roadmap for our businesses and ensuring that the new acquisitions we've made are fully integrated. As we move forward, we will generate additional consumer-centric opportunities. Above all, we're able to drive a high level of operational executional excellence in order to accelerate our growth.

What are the challenges that are associated with your role?

How do you stay up with the growth and ensure that the organisation is ready to meet the kind of vision it has outlined? That is the business challenge for anyone working in a high-paced category or high-growing market. That, I feel, would be our single greatest challenge. How do we ensure that we're able to establish processes that don't compromise speed and can help us accelerate our expansion across verticals by integrating our operations is the challenge too?

Tell us about the milestones that you have achieved throughout your professional Journey.

I'm quite proud of the full premiumization journey on Lakme, which was already a very trusted brand, and the debut of absolute. I had the honour of working on some really strong hygiene brands like Harpic, Lysol, and others in my capacity as CMO of RBS' hygiene business. I'm extremely proud of the sanitation work we were able to do in this country, such as the campaigns and bringing the issue of safe hygiene into the conversation, because it's much more than just selling a toilet cleaner.