Start-ups and Women Empowerment : A Case Study of Nykaa and VLCC

  1. Introduction

With the steady growth of the Indian start-up ecosystem, an increasing number of women are pursuing the entrepreneurial dream and succeeding in their businesses. Other Indian women who are still tied to the conventional homemaker role are being empowered to think for themselves as a result of this. According to the National Sample Survey, women entrepreneurs account for only 14% of all enterprises in India. The majority of the businesses are self-funded and operate on a small scale. According to a survey, approximately 126 million women around the world operate their own businesses, whereas Indian women number around 8 million; a perplexing assertion given that India is the world’s second most populous country.

However, women’s status in Indian society has shifted dramatically during the last several decades. Women have had a significant effect and achieved success in practically every sector of the Indian economy today. In a largely male-dominated world, women are finally braving their feet to celebrate entrepreneurial ideas and pacing their way up to become successful businesswomen.


Falguni Nayar, Founder of Nyka

Falguni Nayar’s success as the founder of Nykaa, a multi-brand beauty boutique, is proof that with the correct training, education, and support, women can achieve any goal. She has developed a business empire that began small but has grown to be worth over 200 crores!

Falguni Nayar, a graduate of IIM Ahmedabad, was previously the Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Capital Company, which she left to follow her goal of being an entrepreneur. Two factors influenced her decision to leave a successful career and enter the realm of entrepreneurship: 1) Her passion for beauty, and 2) her desire to learn more about the online marketing platform, which she saw as having a lot of promise.

She was born and raised in Mumbai, but comes from a Gujarati background. Her father was a businessman, and she claims that the seed of entrepreneurship was put in her head when she was a child. She has also stated that the stock market and trade were frequently discussed in her home.

Falguni Nayar worked as an investment banker for the Kotak Mahindra company for 19 years after graduating from IIM Ahmedabad. She became the Managing Director of the investment banking business in 2005. In the year 2012, she decided to take a tremendous risk and quit her job at the age of 50 to pursue her dream of being an entrepreneur. She quickly saw that beauty was an underserved sector in India, and that it was about to explode.

Founding of Nykaa : A step towards empowering women in India

Nykaa was formed in 2012, and the idea occurred to her when she began to feel confident and empowered when she was taught through the proper usage of beauty products and instructed which products to use. She gained this experience at Sephora, a multi-brand beauty store, where Falguni, despite not being a frequent consumer of beauty products, was enticed to purchase items costing hundreds of dollars thanks to the proper advice. She felt compelled to recreate India. She also desired for Indian women to feel empowered.

Falguni emphasizes the need of women breaking out of their shells and being confident in their ability to balance their career and personal life. She believes that if a woman has great determination and willpower, she can accomplish everything she sets her mind to.

Falguni had always been a believer in online commerce and was confident that future generations would shop online. They believe that rather than having time to go to a store to buy, they will rely on reviews and peer recommendations, and they founded an online business on this notion.

Nykaa as Successful Startup

Nykaa has become synonymous with cosmetics. It has built an online network and offers door-to-door delivery for a variety of beauty items and high-end foreign brands. According to Forbes, Nykaa Co. will have made a profit of 40% by 2020, valuing the company at $3 billion.

Falguni Nayar, the founder of Nykaa, is on track to become India’s second-richest self-made woman and a billionaire. Falguni Nayar’s net worth is estimated to be $7.7 billion in 2021, according to Forbes. It will be 56,600 crores INR in rupees.[1]

Nykaa has a net worth of $85 billion (US$1.1 billion), making it India’s first unicorn startup led by a woman.


Vandana Luthra, Founder of VLCC

Vandana Luthra founded Vandana Luthra Curls and Curves (also known as VLCC), a well-known brand in India. The company now has a presence in over 11 different nations. She did this during a period when women in India were not allowed to leave the house, let alone establish a company.

VLCC was founded by Vandana Luthra in 1989, during a time when few people cared about fitness or food, let alone nutrition or aesthetics. Vandana wanted to start her business on her own, despite her husband’s backing, so she took out a small loan from a bank. Despite the first setbacks, she was able to gain consumers because to her original concept. She received a lot of criticism and many tried to knock her down because she established her company during a male-dominated period. She was successful, though, because of her courage in standing firm in her confidence in the concept.

Vandana’s parents instilled in her the desire to improve the lives of others. Her family was the only ones in the neighbourhood that had a television when she was a kid. They used to bring the kids from the neighbourhood over to watch TV because it was so rare at the time. Her mother also founded the Amarjyothi Charitable Trust, which pioneered the concept of educating both disabled and non-disabled children.

Vandana’s initial motivation was to promote health and fitness in India’s rural communities. However, her desire to offer people sensual haircuts and experiment with all of the facials on her mother’s face led her to work in India’s health and beauty sector.

Vandana is also the chairperson of the non-profit B&WSSC (Beauty and Wellness Sector Skill Council). The B&WSSC program is part of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana plan, which offers training.

Success of VLCC

VLCC Health Care Ltd is well-known both nationally and internationally. It provides skin, body, and hair care, as well as modern dermatological and cosmetology solutions, as part of its beauty and weight-loss programs.

The health and beauty services company VLCC has the highest scope and breadth of operations in India. They now operate 326 salons in 153 cities throughout 13 countries.

They employ about 4,000 people, including doctors, nutritionists, cosmetologists, beauty specialists, physiotherapists, and others. By market share, VLCC Health Care Ltd is the industry leader in the Indian wellness and beauty area.

They are also offered through 100,000 retail stores in India and over 10,000 retail outlets in the GCC and Southeast Asia, as well as through e-commerce platforms.

They have 75 campuses in 60 Indian cities, as well as one in Nepal. Every year, the institute educates about 11,000 students.


In a country like India, where most women aren’t encouraged to think large (particularly in rural areas), some have risen higher than one might imagine in such a constrictive environment. Through their success stories, which include personal obstacles and hurdles, these wonder women are motivating other women to pursue entrepreneurship. As a result, India is rapidly gaining in the rankings when it comes to a favourable start-up climate backed by strong government support.


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