Vineeta – PGP 2007 at IIMA, a ‘Shark’ of ‘Shark Tank India’ and co-founder of Sugar Cosmetics
Interview by Rafat Quadri
Ahmedabad, June 25: Meet Vineeta Singh, the co-founder of Sugar Cosmetics was here in Ahmedabad on Saturday to attend an award function. She has been awarded as ‘outstanding entrepreneur alumni of IIMA’ at its 8th Young Alumni Achiever’s Award 2022.
An alumna of IIM-Ahmedabad, India’s top management institute, and a serial entrepreneur, Vineeta advocates a fast-paced work culture where speed and experimentation lead the way for rapid innovation and a launch-packed calendar.
Highly respected in entrepreneurial circles for her business ventures, Vineeta is an investor on Shark Tank India, one of the most successful reality shows in the country. Through Shark Tank, Vineeta has been able to reach and mentor budding entrepreneurs from the remotest parts of India, and her business acumen and warm presence on the show have won hearts across the world.
Intelligent, enterprising, tall, beautiful, mother of two sons, Vineeta is a happy person to talk with and get inspired. BILKULONLINE bilkulonline.com/ interviewed her at IIMA, where she even tried to speak little Gujarati. Excerpts:
Q: Tell us about your association with Gujarat?
A: I was born in Anand and lived there for three years before my parents shifted to Mumbai. My Mom is from Gujarat so I am half Gujarati. My Nana-Naani (maternal grandparents) live in Bhavnagar. Later in life, I did my post-graduation from IIM Ahmedabad.
Q: What has been the role of IIMA in shaping your life to what you are today?
A: Oh, IIMA was totally instrumental in shaping my life as a dreamer, translated to be an entrepreneur and today when I was awarded by the IIMA as its alumni I feel proud and very happy.
I am incredibly grateful to the IIMA faculty for this recognition. IIMA has been my compass and a major factor in making my ambitions come true. My confidence has grown throughout my journey here, thanks to teachers and staff’s constant support and motivation. Their essence has been invaluable, and I am truly indebted to them. I remember during my IIMA days my co-founder (and Life partner Kaushik Mukherjee) and I used to envision building a business from scratch.
Q: How has been your journey at ‘Sugar’?
A: SUGAR is a brand built by women, for women – with a focus on core business fundamentals and an innate understanding of the customer and their needs, SUGAR boasts of an impressive workforce of 3000+ employees with over 75% of them being women. Our startup clocked 60% growth in sales during the pandemic and even crossed 2.6MN followers on Instagram and 1.45 MN on YouTube, making SUGAR one of India’s largest digital-first brands.
Q : Is Sugar CEO interested in Gujarat as a business destination?
A: OF course yes. WE are exploring our association with the upcoming Ayush Valley, the ambitious project at Gandhinagar. We want to associate therein and intend to develop some beauty products for Sugar and so on. I am very much aware that real business ‘dhando’ (business) is the acumen of each Gujarati. Even a little one of say two years is brought up listening to the business related talks at home. So, the business sense and interest is intact and growing in every child and adult here.
Q: What is your message for the youngsters of India who want to become entrepreneurs with the start-ups and may be want to become a Unicorn company owner?
A: If we as a nation want to achieve a strong $ 5 trillion 10 trillion economy, the biggest impact would be achieved through start-ups. As such the startups are today pumping 5% to the total employment in India.
There is a need to grow our employment rate. It would come through start-ups, they can do lot of different things which corporates are not doing today. Look at Sugar where we chose to employ more women staff and we have 300 women staff out of a total of 4,000 staff today.
Unicorn’ was a trend that floated for a while and also slipped away. Don’t run after trends. Chase your passion and dreams. One should select the project carefully; it should be sustainable and eventually self-sustainable and yielding profits. Lage raho (be consistent, continue your efforts) and don’t give up. 10, 12 years keep working even If you fail, stand again check and analyse, pick your strength and work on it. Journey to become is very tough, at times painful but rewarding. In the process, if you become unicorn, good for you but it is not necessary that only unicorns help in nation’s development and your own progress. There are many non-unicorn companies which are doing very well for themselves and the society.
(Rafat Quadri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)