The entrepreneurial mindset in India has always been an adventure many college people take. Even if it does not pan out, it is always exhilarating and gives a much-needed rush of blood to the head. SUGAR Cosmetics is one such venture that was undertaken by a couple of IIM Ahmedabad graduates.
The Journey Begins
Year – 2007
Vineeta Singh, 23, was fresh out of IIM Ahmedabad. She had a pre-placement offer from Deutsche Bank worth 1 crore. If that is unbelievable, wait till you hear the next part.
She turned it down.
At 23, she was featured on the cover of The Week for being the first B-school graduate to decline such an offer.
Launching Vellvette Lifestyle, she kick-started her entrepreneurial career and then there was no looking back. Vellvette secured seed money of USD 500,000 from India Quotient in 2013.
Vellvette’s revenue model was a subscription-based package worth INR 399 per month containing 3 premium beauty product samples.
The Booming Business
Rebranding as SUGAR Cosmetics and now the Co-Founder and CEO, Vineeta made headway in the cosmetics industry battling with Lakmé and L’Oréal.
They served the Indian market with cosmetic options that were compatible with Indian complexion with quality based on international standards for affordable prices.
The fiscal year of 2019-2020 was the breakthrough year for SUGAR. They had INR 200 crores worth of sales over 3,00,000 orders. This also boosted its retail presence from 87 in 2017 to over 1700 till date.
Their secret to success was the strong online presence coupled with an equivocal offline retail presence. This made sure people from all sectors of life got access to their products.
But Who’s The Second Graduate Here?
Hail Kaushik Mukherjee, Vineeta’s partner in business and in life. They met in IIM and had a chemistry that fueled their lives, both professionally and personally. A drive to target women as major consumers and an idea to start an e-commerce company merged forces to form what stands as SUGAR Cosmetics today.
Striking a balance between responsibilities, Kaushik was taking care of tech and operations while Vineeta was managing finance and products.
This worked perfectly as they decided upon a veto system on decisions on various aspects, and decided who would have the final call on different agendas.
This seemed to fit the decision-making system seamlessly as the duo were balancing a work-life balance. Between starting a family and building an empire, this system of decision making helped them navigate through difficult times and many difficult decisions.
They were also indebted to Vineeta’s mom who helped them with the kids for two years in their nascent stages of business development and expansion, and Kaushik was a very involved father unlike many fathers in the Indian society.
Pandemic Being A Hindrance? Not Here
Navigating her way through a male-dominated society, her talent for juggling responsibilities came handy as she kept her team operational and up to date with the newest marketing methods.
They were training almost 1000 associates on over 60 products using 60,000 videos and finishing their drill with over 40 quizzes to test their skills.
This training builds their associates to be customer-centric, keeps them up to date with visual merchandising trends and various caveats they can offer to have a successful sale.
Vineeta herself feels responsible to make sure her team is as energetic as her and driven forward with vision. The team, mostly women, is ever-growing, and they sell together and solve together.
Image Credits: Google Images, Twitter
Sources: Yahoo Makers
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