With India, in its 75th year of Independence, it can be noticed how the country has evolved over time. Gone are the days when a job came with gender division, today women have proven themselves to be equally efficient for every job profile that exists, especially running their own businesses.
Meet these women entrepreneurs, who have established themselves as a part of retail India with their hard work and determination and D2C brands.
Rakhi Ahuja, Founder and CEO, Jovees (Personal Care)
A brand that started with 24 products in 2004, has partnered with over 18 e-commerce platforms including Amazon, Nykaa, Purplle, Reliance, etc., and has a presence across more than 35,000 retail stores.
At present, 94 percent of the brand’s revenue comes from retail stores, and the remaining 6 percent comes from e-commerce and exports.
Ahuja started the brand with a dream of creating innovative and effective products that would add value to the customer’s life, today, the brand offers more than 150 products for skin, hair, and body care with a robust presence in India, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, France, Maldives, Australia, and Spain.
Aashka Goradia Goble, Co-Founder, RENÉE Cosmetics (Cosmetics)
Post 20 years in showbiz being a part of some of the biggest television shows, as an entrepreneur with RENÉE Aashka along with the Co-founders has launched over 200 products under the brand inclusive of makeup, skincare, and perfumes that are available across India through RENÉE outlets, around 650 shop-in-shop stores along with prominent marketplaces like Nykaa, Amazon, Flipkart and more.
With an aim to bring a brand that makes professional makeup easy for women, RENÉE is reinventing beauty with its high-quality, cruelty-free, and FDA-approved unique range of products. Apart from India, RENÉE Cosmetics is available to American consumers via the e-commerce platform Amazon, while it continues growing its operations in its home ground.
Vaishali Gupta, Co-Founder, and Head of Brand Marketing, mCaffeine (Personal Care)
mCaffeine, India's first caffeinated personal care brand, was launched in 2016 and has sold more than 10 million products within 5 years of launch. Currently, the products of the brand are available at 18,000 pin codes across India.
An IIT graduate and a founding member of the brand, Gupta has helped the brand grow over 12 times in the last 2 years. Despite the Pandemic, mCaffeine has been growing 3 times in FY20-21. Moreover, its D2C platform is the largest revenue contributor to the brand having a Conversion Rate of more than 75 percent higher than the industry average.
She was also able to disrupt social media by undertaking path-breaking influencer marketing strategies in-house, resulting in a 16x growth of the brand’s social media in 12 months.
Anshita Mehrotra, Founder, Fix My Curls (Hair Care)
Founder of an Indian curly hair brand made to help its customers embrace their natural curls. With over 11 original product formulations, in different sizes and bundles, the brand has over 53+ SKUs to choose from across 13 marketplaces and 11 countries including India.
Launched in 2019, the brand holds about 25 to 30 percent of the market share in India in the curly hair segment across products. The brand is placed in the high-quality, mid-priced range that has easy-to-use beginner products as well as products for those who are well-versed in curl care.
Chinu Kala, Founder, Rubans (Jewelry and Accessories)
A perfect example of Rags to Riches is Kala, an entrepreneur, socialite, model, and one of the prominent women in the fashion jewelry business in India today. Her start-up Rubans Accessories, founded in 2014, is amongst the fastest-growing fashion jewelry brand in India.
The brand started selling its products from a 6x6 square feet kiosk in a mall. Starting out offline with stores in malls of Bengaluru, Kochi, and Hyderabad, in 2018, the brand started pivoting to online and by 2019 it was a 100 percent online brand.
With over 3,500 SKUs in ethnic and western jewelry, the brand also offers party clutches, bags, and wallets. Moreover, Rubans recently launched a new range of silver products and aims to build these categories expecting them to be substantial contributors to its top line in the next 3 months.
Devidutta Dash, Founder, Lemme Be (Period Care)
With an aim to build an ecosystem for new-age menstruators, Dash started Lemme Be, an inclusive period care brand that provides an honest and free choice for menstruators to have comfortable and safe periods.
Since its beginning in November 2020, the brand has achieved positive growth, its contribution margin after absorbing performance marketing and branding cost is 3 percent positive and will be EBITDA positive in the coming year in Indian markets.
With its current focus only on period care, the brand aims to cater to every product required by menstruators during the entire 28-day cycle to have a healthy period. This majorly includes period merchandise, creams, or pills focussing on period care.
Shilpa Khanna, CEO, Chicnutrix (Wellness and Beauty)
An all-women's wellness, beauty, and nutrition brand, Chicnutrix was launched in 2019 and started as an innovative nutrition supplements company to bring world-class supplements to India under its parent company, FullLife Healthcare.
Being a Mompreneur and multi-tasking a modern lifestyle, Shilpa has aided the brand’s growth taking healthcare beyond the traditional drugs and aims to target the various stages in a woman’s life- from PCOS to pregnancy, menopause, motherhood, and other challenges that women face in their daily lives.
Since its inception, Chicnutrix has grown four times and delivers to more than 20 countries with 22 SKUs under its portfolio, ranging from skincare, haircare, nails, PCOS, and UTI products.
Tanuja Sinha Roy, Founder, Swtantra (Apparel)
A fashion brand that focuses on a niche product category of sarees, was incepted in the year 2019. Over the years, the brand has witnessed double and triple-digit growth gaining loyal customers along the way. Having more than 30 years of experience in textiles, Tanuja not only makes products for modern women but also runs Swtantra like a modern and progressive establishment.
Swtantra intends to be the preferred ethnic brand for women in the mid-price segment, targeting modern, bold, elegant Indian women for mid-range occasion wear.
Amritha Gaddam, Founder and CEO, The Tribe Concepts (Personal Care)
A sustainable, eco-friendly beauty brand that offers a line-up of pure, modified, and ayurvedic skin and hair care products formulated by vegan and natural ingredients handpicked from India.
Firmly believing that our body and minds have their own way of healing and that a little bit of help from nature can speed things up, Gaddam packages this wisdom in reusable tins and bottles to formulate The Tribe Concepts.
The brand claims to be a 100 percent natural brand sourcing ingredients from Rajahmundry Hills in the Godavari Valley - soil that is pesticide free, taking in water that comes straight from the skies and flourishing in the air that is free of pollutants.
Sujata and Taniya Biswas, Founders, Suta (Apparel)
Founded in 2016, the brand Suta is a contemporary design house that creates a range of attire including one-of-a-kind sarees, blouses, men's and women’s wear, accessories, and home décor. Their products fuse traditional crafts with innovative designs.
Founders Sujata and Taniya always had a special fondness for the countless and varied forms of handicrafts that each corner of India is home to. With over 17,000 weavers, Suta is addressed for its beautiful designs that use fabrics that are rooted in Indian tradition, created by artisans from across the country using ancestral weaving techniques.
Shamika Haldipurkar, Founder and CEO, d’you (Skin Care)
Founded in 2019, this skincare brand provides a ‘science first’ approach with its products. With this brand, Haldipurkar aims to dismantle chemophobia in the skincare segment.
The products offered by d’you comes in unique packaging allowing the preservation of the ingredients till the very end.
Keeping science at the epicenter of the brand, Haldipurkar aims to change the narrative related to good skincare in the market. With robust research and development behind each product, d’you believes in slow launch to bring forth premium products for its customers. All of its products are thus carefully curated for all genders, skin types, and age groups.
Supriya Donthi, Founder, Leafy Affair (Lifestyle)
Since its inception in 2018, a botanical lifestyle brand- Leafy Affair dispatches about 2,000 orders in a month having a loyal customer base of 30,000. Currently, at a valuation of Rs 12 crore, the brand aims to reach Rs 100 crore valuation within the next 5 years.
Donthi weaved together an idea of aesthetically representing nature to the world through jewelry. The brand’s USP is that each design is different from the others, hence letting diversity flourish. From being a fashion-related brand, Leafy Affair has now divulged into the home-decor space as gifting is the prime source of business for the brand.
Susmitha Lakkakula, Founder, CloudTailor (Personalised Fashion Solution)
Starting as an IT Professional, Lakkakula started her company in 2020 with 2 people with a funding of Rs 50 lakh. Today, CloudTailor has over 200 employees and is growing 20 percent month-on-month. The brand will be closing at an ARR (Annual Revenue Rate) of Rs 10 crore.
Currently, CloudTailor has over 4 lakh registered customers and serve almost 50,000 customers.