Vineeta Singh’s Instagram is a gold mine for entrepreneurship lessons. Here are our favorites
In 2007 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras and Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad Alumnus Vineeta Singh made headlines when she turned down a job offer of Rs 1 crore from Deutsche Bank. At the age of 23, she decided to venture into entrepreneurship at a time when the “ecosystem” of Indian startups barely existed.
More than a decade later, Vineeta has become one of the most powerful self-made female entrepreneurs of our time. After several iterations, she leveraged social media to create one of the direct-to-consumer brands—
Judge on the first season of Shark Tank India, Vineeta’s social media, where she celebrates personal and professional milestones, is a gold mine for lessons in entrepreneurship.
Pivot in the right place at the right time
Vineeta breaks down the key variables of entrepreneurship – place and time, and how they might go right or wrong.
Mathematically, these two variables can yield four possible outcomes, which Vineeta faced as an entrepreneur until she finally found a sweet spot with Mumbai-based SUGAR Cosmetics.
Between 2008 and 2010, she started an online insurance company that eventually closed because her team was “ahead and I didn’t really know the industry.”
This Vineeta says it was a case of “wrong place, wrong time”.
She had faced the second possible outcome, “right place, wrong time” in 2007 when she set out to create a lingerie start-up.
Most venture capitalists at the time had yet to recognize the potential of women-focused businesses. According to Vineeta, VCs felt that investing in companies that targeted women was too “niche” at the time.
It was between 2012 and 2016 that the entrepreneur found herself in the “wrong place, right time.” She was building a Fab Bag beauty subscription service but sensed a bigger opportunity. She saw that the purchasing power of Indian women was increasing and beauty bloggers were gaining ground.
Vineeta shares that there were only a few people with Fab Bag at that time. He had little money left in the bank and his core business was hitting a ceiling.
A final pivot paved the way for a “In the right place at the right time” with SUGAR Cosmetics, a brand that is today valued at around Rs 4,000 crore.
“The only sure way to get to a ‘right place, right time’ scenario is to keep walking until you run out of every possible bad combination and are still standing when the stars align. . It’s just weird. It’s as simple as that,” she said on Instagram.
Vineeta says the company found the right market by listening to its customers.
“The customer is always the queen”, adds the CEO and co-founder of SUGAR Cosmetics.
The retail store as a visual storytelling space for brands
Online channels have become all the rage among direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands today, and rightly so after the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted many traditional businesses. However, many founders still believe in the value held by retail stores.
Vineeta took to Instagram to celebrate SUGAR Cosmetics’ 100th store opening last week. His love for the retail channel is clearly visible.
“It’s the less glamorous (in the world of VC) but more profitable (if done right) cousin of D2C and allows brands to have their own space for visual storytelling, customer education and marketing. influencer engagement,” she says.
She added that retail also helps businesses easily gain early insights through direct-to-consumer data, especially when tightly integrated with apps and online stores.
“Yes – it is very difficult for brands in the beginning to attract footsteps and break even. But some difficult issues are good to tackle early on for long term brand building as well as for the operational leverage,” she adds.
Eventually, as brand awareness increases, Vineeta believes stores become more profitable with minimal variable acquisition costs.
Funding is not a step in itself
In May, SUGAR Cosmetics successfully completed a $50 million Series D deal led by global consumer-focused private equity firm L Catterton’s Asian fund. The fundraiser comes at a time when startups are preparing to fund winter and the economic downturn.
However, Vineeta has repeatedly stressed that funding itself should not be seen as a milestone, implying that other factors such as sales matter more than just securing funds.
In a previous interview with Your storyshe said consistency and the need to just show up is more important than chasing certain goals to a point of frustration.
“Entrepreneurship is like a marathon. In fact, it teaches you a lot about showing up every day and not having to worry about anything else. Entrepreneurship is like running a marathon. Leave the bus nahi karna huh. (Don’t give up),” she said Your story.
Close your eyes to gender stereotypes
Vineeta notes that people go out of their way to discredit a woman’s accomplishment.
Got a good JEE ranking? Must be ‘girls quota’! Got a great job offer? The list is endless,” she says.
Vineeta says her efforts to build SUGAR Cosmetics have also been reduced to a joke where people would ask how cliché it is that the only female entrepreneur from IIT Madras in their circle is running a cosmetics business.
However, Vineeta says the best response is to just ignore these people and keep building the business.
“The burden of trying to prove that women can be as capable as men in any field is not on me, because if anyone still has that doubt, it’s a never-ending debate for which I I don’t have time!” she writes.
(This story has been updated to correct a typo)