The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) and Nykaa, India’s omnichannel beauty and lifestyle retailer, have launched an award named Beauty&You India. Created by ELC’s New Incubation Ventures and launched in partnership with Nykaa, Beauty&You India aims to discover, spotlight, and propel the next generation of Indian beauty brands. The program will support India-focused companies and entrepreneurs through a competitive application process. Awards to both pre-launch and in-market premium beauty concepts will be announced in November 2022 based on applications submitted via www.beautyandyouawards.com no later than September 30, 2022.
"Our vision is for Beauty&You to harness the entrepreneurial energy in India to advance next-generation beauty brands by presenting opportunities that help put brands on a long-term, sustainable growth path,” says Shana Randhava.
The aim of Beauty&You is to help founders, innovators, and creators grow their businesses holistically by identifying brand goals, achieving scale ambitions, and curating product portfolios that speak to a new generation of consumers in the Indian market. Award recipients will benefit from access to ELC and Nykaa relationships and expertise across the beauty ecosystem in order to nurture emerging ideas that amplify Indian voices and address unmet needs in the categories of skincare, makeup, hair care, and fragrance.
According to Shana Randhava, VP, New Incubation Ventures, The Estée Lauder Companies, with its incredibly vibrant economy and cutting-edge startup community, India represents an exciting opportunity for beauty creators and innovators. “Our vision is for Beauty&You to harness the entrepreneurial energy in India to advance next-generation beauty brands by presenting opportunities that help put brands on a long-term, sustainable growth path,” she says. “Beauty&You is inspired by the core values and collaborative culture that ELC and Nykaa share. We believe we have a responsibility to share our experiences with the next generation of founders and we hope Beauty&You will be a catalyst for Indian entrepreneurs to fuel their passion, brand, and mission,” she adds.
“Nykaa's emergence as a leading consumer technology platform over the past several years is an outcome of an incredibly vibrant digital India that has spurred innovation and created an entrepreneurial ecosystem that is best in class globally. Now it is a chance for us to give back to the ecosystem by fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs in the beauty and lifestyle verticals,” says Anchit Nayar, CEO of Beauty for Nykaa e-Commerce.
Both ELC and Nykaa have contributed towards a total prize pool up to Rs4 crore (approximately $500,000) across the program for the most innovative, inspiring, and breakthrough ideas. According to Randhava, the value that both ELC and Nykaa will be delivering is after the award is given. Both companies are looking to create long term relationships where they can take their collective experience and apply to the founders’ instincts to fuel their passion and vision, and to allow them to benefit from ELC’s 76 years of experience and Nykaa’s 10 years of experience to understand what it takes to build a long term sustainable brand of the future.
Among other resources, what the Beauty&You India award recipients will also get include masterclasses - an insider's view of what it takes to build iconic, sustainable beauty brands from leading global experts; mentorship - access to experts from across the beauty landscape—product and content development, brand building, finance, operations, and supply chain; awareness - winners will garner national and international press—offering a myriad of opportunities on the world stage plus amplification of the ELC and Nykaa platforms; distribution support - valuable guidance on how to scale and reach consumers at a local and global level with the opportunity to access Nykaa’s expansive omnichannel reach, placing the brands on the road to long term success.
So what kind of companies is Beauty&You looking for? The programme has two tracks – the growth track and the inspired track. The growth track is one where a brand is already on market, has revenue, and is demonstrating that it has some traction to consumers. The inspired track is for anyone with an idea or a problem that you’re going to solve with a conviction that it is something unique in the market.
"What it does is it also reinvigorates the ecosystem, takes the conversation away from valuation and fundraising, and brings the conversation back to what is beauty really about," says Anchit Nayar.
According to Randhava, they are looking at brands who are leading innovation across all touch points, through packaging, products, and consumer experience, those who are exploring the different intersections across beauty, technology, wellness, science, and seeking out convergence that will help solve consumer problems today. “What is important for us though, is what is sustainable, what has a competitive edge, something that is going to be differentiated in the market, and something that will allow the brand to be able to grow sustainably and profitably in the long term,” she says.
A panel of entrepreneurs, industry experts, and thought leaders from the world of beauty, fashion, media, and technology will support Randhava and Nayar with Beauty&You India’s judging process. Katrina Kaif, actor and founder of Kay Beauty, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, founder & CEO, Sabyasachi and Samarth Bedi, executive director of Forest Essentials, are amongst the industry experts that have committed their time and expertise to the program.
New Incubation Ventures (NIV) is the strategic early-stage investment and incubation arm for The Estée Lauder Companies. It was set up in 2021 building on the company’s experience of the last few transactions which were with brands Dr.Jart+, a global Korean brand, and Deciem’s The Ordinary. These are two brands where the company had made a small initial investment, worked with the founders and their teams, helped nurture the brands in their home markets, and allowed them to establish themselves in different markets, but catering to their individual needs. So looking at the success of these two brands, “we wanted to be able to replicate that model at scale, and do it even earlier on in the life cycle of brands. That’s what gave the idea for Beauty&You,” says Randhava. “Our ambition is to find the next Indian Deciem, allow the brand to grow out in local markets, and put it on the global stage and hopefully one day we will add an Indian brand to our portfolio,” she adds.
According to Nayar, Nykaa is largely a beneficiary of an explosive growth in the digital ecosystem in India. "We always say that there has been a massive push towards the ease of doing business, and driving the entrepreneurial spirit in India – create homegrown companies and consumer brands to become global leaders. Obviously because of the ecosystem Nykaa was able to get to where it is today. And this is a great way for us to give back and identify the next generation of entrepreneurs, and plant the flag of Indian beauty on a global platform,” he says.
The program reflects ELC and Nykaa’s joint commitment to have a positive impact on the entire beauty ecosystem and shared desire to fuel the growth of the Indian premium beauty segment by meeting the evolving needs and preferences of consumers by delivering breakthrough and locally relevant products, experiences, and business models. In addition, winning applicants have the potential to build a longer-term relationship with both, ELC’s New Incubation Ventures and Nykaa.
The Indian beauty eco-system has transformed a lot of over the last few years with venture capital and private equity coming in to the space. According to Nayar, as someone in the business, he believes that Nykaa brings so much more to the table, and it is not just about the capital as he says. “It is about our time, the energy of 3000+ employees at Nykaa, and thousands of employees at Estée Lauder who will be helping to the extent we can. What it does is it also reinvigorates the ecosystem, takes the conversation away from valuation and fundraising, and brings the conversation back to what is beauty really about. Beauty is about passion, about empowerment, beauty is about creativity and innovation; and I think sometimes those words get lost when the conversation becomes about sales multiples. But when we take the investment out of the equation, and it is purely a grant and what we are looking for is creative ideas, innovation and quality, then it refocuses the conversation in the beauty ecosystem to what really matters. We think this program will bring the conversation back, and of course the greatest beneficiary of this is the consumer,” says Nayar.
The Beauty&You website went live July 21, 2022, at 9:00 am IST. The application portal opens on August 1, 2022, and will accept applications until 11:59 pm IST on September 30, 2022.