In today’s thriving digital economy, the role of women in our society has changed drastically in the past few decades. With women in charge, the relationship between brands and consumers is fast-changing and becoming more personal, resulting in the emergence of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands that are taking over the retail market.
Despite the entrepreneurship gap between men and women, it is widely considered that women leaders in business have specific qualities that make them better entrepreneurs than men. The gender stereotypes which were more prevalent in society decades ago are slowly breaking and more women-led D2C businesses are coming into the spotlight.
Here is the list of leading women entrepreneurs in the D2C industry:
Vineeta Singh, CEO, and Co-Founder, SUGAR Cosmetics
Vineeta Singh is the CEO, and Co-Founder of SUGAR Cosmetics – the cult-favorite beauty brand amongst Gen Z and Millennials. With an annualized sales run rate of Rs 500+ crore, the company has scaled faster than any other and is now one of the top 4 cosmetics brands in terms of sales contribution in the country. It has a physical presence of over 35,000+ retail touchpoints as of 2021 across 500+ cities and has a digital community of five million beauty enthusiasts across all platforms with its own website and mobile app getting more than a million unique visitors every month.
Over a decade ago, IIM Ahmedabad/IIT Madras alumni, Vineeta Singh had declined a top dollar investment banking placement offer to start her own venture. With a vision of building SUGAR as 'fast-fashion for the face', Vineeta advocates a fast-paced work culture where speed and experimentation lead the way for rapid innovation and a launch-packed calendar. The women-centric D2C brand, with a focus on core business fundamentals and an innate understanding of the customer and her needs, boasts an impressive workforce of 3,000+ employees with over 75 percent being women. Under her leadership, the startup clocked a 60 percent growth in sales during the pandemic and even hit the 1.9+ million mark on Instagram, making it one of the largest digital-first brands in India.
Ghazal Alagh, Co-Founder, Chief Mama, Mamaearth
A corporate trainer turned artist cum entrepreneur Ghazal Alagh, co-founded Mamaearth, driven by the passion for making early parenting, stress-free. As the Co-Founder and Chief Mama at Mamaearth, India’s first toxin-free baby care brand, Ghazal is responsible for product development and community management. She works closely with a large number of mothers to develop a product line that addresses problems that moms face on a daily basis. The idea of a 100 percent toxin-free baby products brand came to Ghazal when she became a mom and had a difficult time finding chemical-free products for her son, Agastya.
Besides being a successful entrepreneur and devoted mother, Ghazal has been recognized amongst the top 10 women artists in India, nationally and internationally. With a Bachelors in Information Technology and Intensive Courses in Modern Art, Design and Applied Arts from New York Academy of Arts Ghazal started her career with NIIT as a Corporate Trainer, as part of her role, Ghazal trained managers and engineers from various IT companies in SQL, J2ME, and Oracle.
Naina Ruhail, Co-Founder, and CIO, Vanity Wagon
With a Master's in Business, over 3 years of experience in marketing-tech, education from the London School of makeup and London School of Styling, Naina Ruhail is the face behind Vanity Wagon. As a Chief Innovation Officer at Vanity Wagon, Naina applies data and tech to understand the growing needs of clean beauty globally and transforms that into a life-holistic clean beauty market - Vanity Wagon. A clear customer-focused market, Vanity Wagon, under the aegis of Naina, has grown rapidly in the last 2.5 years and continues to lead the clean beauty industry in India.
Further, hailing from an army background, Naina finished her early education at Army Public School, Pune, and went on to specialize in technology prior to her MBA. She has a strong passion for beauty and this is what drove her to become a well-known international beauty influencer as well. She motivates thousands of women each day.
She aims to establish an incomparable yet trending e-commerce platform with a concept of clean beauty through Vanity Wagon.
4. Rhea Shukla, Co-founder and CEO, The Switch Fix
Rhea is a formulator, writer, designer, and visionary first-generation entrepreneur. With science as her foundation, Rhea graduated in economics with mathematics to later become a design strategist with an impact organization before she entered the world of advertising where she very quickly gained recognition for her compelling storytelling and art direction skills. Her creative flair did not see any boundary as soon she started writing, shooting, editing, and even modeling for her work. She became one of the favorite communication designers among brands in F&B, FMCG, and Consumer Electronics sectors and soon started working with Bollywood celebrities.
Her passion for social justice inspired her to use her multifaceted skills to tackle climate change and make the fix as simple as a switch. Her undeterred practice of self-care and love for formulating DIY haircare and skincare showed her the missing link in the beauty industry and motivated her to start The Switch Fix to make self-care meet planet-care.
Snigdha Kumar, Co-Founder, CEO, Cora Health
Snigdha Kumar, is the Co-Founder and CEO, Cora Health. She is an alumnus of MICA and has earlier worked with Flipkart as P&L Head for Foods Marketplace category, overviewing a selection of 2 Lakh+ products. Prior to that She has also worked with famous brands like Philip Morris International, ITC, and United Breweries.
With her diverse experience in the F&B, Healthcare, and Nutrition products, she felt that despite the recent development in the e-commerce sector and all the diverse availability of food choices online, people are still struggling to find information and guidance to make the right food choices.
Having battled with PCOS and gall-bladder-related issues personally, Snigdha Kumar was looking for healthier food options to manage her health and understood that there was a need to help people realize the importance of healthy diet food options. In order to address this problem, she along with her former Flipkart colleague, Shrijit Venkatesh launched Cora Health in May 2020. Bengaluru-based health and wellness startup Cora Health offers an e-commerce platform that helps users get access to healthy food alternatives.