“The fact that we showed up, bought us opportunities that led us to where we are today.”
Vineeta Singh (CEO,Sugar Cosmetics)
Women of today are breaking the glass ceiling to create their own business empires in the highly competitive corporate world. Their stories inspire others to achieve significant milestones in their path to success. One such inspiring story is of Vineeta Singh, the Co-Founder and CEO of Sugar Cosmetics who has made Sugar, one of the leading and widely popular cosmetics brands in India.
Alumni of Delhi Public School, IIT Madras, and IIM Ahmedabad, Vineeta trails celebrated academic foundation. She was only 23 years old when she was featured on the cover of the WEEK as she became the first and the youngest B Graduate woman from India to decline a placement offer of INR 1 Crore per annum from a global investment bank to start her own HR services company.
After Completing her Electrical Engineering from IIT Madras, Vineeta moved to pursue her Business studies at IIM Ahmedabad. During her MBA days, she made up her mind to start her own business venture.
In Vineeta’s words, “I always felt strongly about building something with women as the core customer, so when my first startup didn’t scale, I decided to launch a beauty subscription company with my Co-Founder, Kaushik, in 2012. The 200,000 women who shared their detailed beauty preferences with us were at the heart of our pivot to Sugar Cosmetics, which launched as a direct-to-consumer makeup brand in 2015.”
VINEETA’S VISION FOR SUGAR COSMETICS
Back in 2014, the Indian beauty industry had its own constraints; being dominated by multinational brands, and very few of them had a best-suited range for the Indian complexion. As people were struggling to find the right shade for their skin, they were switching to big foreign markets. That’s when Vineeta brought correct shades and texture for the Indian populace by laying the foundation of Sugar Cosmetics in mid-2015 to enable women to explore, crack the code of and relish the matchless beauty products that are exclusively recommended for them by beauty connoisseurs.
ABOUT SUGAR COSMETICS
Sugar Cosmetics is a cruelty-free makeup brand that is always high on style and higher on performance. The brand is inspired by and targeted towards bold, independent women who refuse to be stereotyped into rules. Its tagline says “Blend The Rules With Sugar.”
Manufactured in state of the art facilities across India, Germany, Italy, the USA and Korea, Sugar Cosmetics ships its bestselling products across various different categories across the globe.
Entrepreneurship is not an easy road to take. Vineeta and her husband Kaushik Mukherjee faced a lot of challenges after launching the digital-first beauty brand.
“When we tried raising capital, we were told that digital-first beauty will be a small market and that it would be impossible to compete with large FMCG companies without raising hundreds of millions of dollars. We were even told that the product itself won’t be a strong moat since it is a commodity,” shared Vineeta.
When Vineeta pitched her business idea years ago in front of venture capitalists for funding, most of them were men, they turned her idea down. Today, after the brand has started reaching heights, VCs are astonished by the growth of Sugar Cosmetics.
It was Vineeta’s firm belief in herself and her brand that has raised Sugar Cosmetics to infinite heights. Today, Sugar raises funds in millions and sells around 650,000 products per month. The application has over 1 million downloads. The brand has offline retail stores across 130+ cities in India.
A BRAND FOR WOMEN, BY WOMEN
Vineeta works with a team of highly skilled and creative women day and night as she always wanted to build something with women as the core target audience. She recalls how she as a naive new b–school grad used to make many women-centric business plans–lingerie, athleisure, beauty- on paper.
Vineeta has always been passionate about creating a brand for women, by women; and that is what led to Sugar Cosmetics being a women dominated workplace.
HER FAMILY- THE BIGGEST STRENGTH
Vineeta feels overwhelmed to share how supportive her family and friends are. They have always supported the dream Vineeta have wanted to achieve. Vineeta is blessed with two children who are her biggest strength. Being able to impress the two most important little humans time and again has a different high but it gives her a sense of satisfaction.
HER ‘NEVER SAY DIE’ APPROACH
As a runner and an entrepreneur, Vineeta learnt that no matter what challenge is thrown at you, agility matters. She believes that growth is not about how fast one gets to it but how well one sustain it once one’ve arrived. Therefore, whenever Vineeta feels spent out, she makes sure that she stays strong and bounces back.
WORDS OF WISDOM FOR BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS
Vineeta’s biggest advice for all entrepreneurs is to invest in self-care. Learn a new skill. Get fit. Read more and schedule some “me time”. She also suggests women to stay fit and spend some quality time with family and friends.
While Sugar’s content game has always been strong, Vineeta envisions making it stronger in the coming years. The focus will be on curating strong content that caters to individual platforms. Furthermore, the brand will work on strengthening its core pillars-Distribution, Product, Content, and Community Building.
Going forward, Sugar Cosmetics aspires to build and expand its retail footprint, enhance retail marketing and visual merchandising experience.