Adwaita Nayar: Clubbing Passion With Fashion

Recalling her early days at Nykaa, the CEO Nykaa Fashion and co-founder, Nykaa says that those were fairly difficult days, filled with typical growth pains that an early startup has

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By S Shanthi

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Entrepreneurship was not something that Adwaita Nayar, CEO Nykaa Fashion and co-founder, Nykaa dreamt of while growing up. As a child, she leaned more towards becoming a doctor, just like many from non-business Indian families do. Later, when she went to college, she decided to take the path of finance and consulting.

Today, she is more than happy that life turned out to be this way. And, from day one, she has cherished the decision to build Nykaa. "It's wonderful to find something which you feel so much for and no it's not a job. It's not work. It's truly an extension of who you are. And I feel really lucky that the entrepreneurial journey allows me to experience that. I love the fact that I can pour my heart and soul into what I do. And that's something I really enjoy," she says.

Recalling her early days at Nykaa, she says that those were fairly difficult days, filled with typical growth pains that an early startup has, including finding product market fit to attrition in the team, to raising money, among others. "But, we were so clear in terms of what we wanted to build and just systematically wanted to build each and every element that I think over time, we did find product market fit and over time, that success came, but it definitely wasn't easy in the first couple of years, particularly the first two, three years were quite difficult and successful, definitely not guaranteed," she says, adding that when you really want something, the universe conspires to make it happen.

Talking about how she learned the ropes of the trade, she says,

I am a believer that you can learn a lot just from doing, asking the right questions, researching, and knowing where you can find the answers.

And, on the personal front, learning from her mother Falguni Nayar, CEO, Nykaa, was valuable for her. "Be it about how to take the right risk at the right time or about the resilience required to be an entrepreneur, I learned a lot from my mother," she says.

Nayar takes great pride in how she has understood her consumers and the culture she and her team have built over so many years. "Our collective achievement as a team was about knowing what the customer wants, talking to the customer the way they want to be spoken to, innovating and coming up with a new proposition that the countries simply didn't have."

Nayar also holds on to three core values that she would never compromise on. Firstly, taking the leap of faith and jumping right into what is considered risky with conviction. Secondly, commitment to the cause for at least five to ten years and not expecting results immediately. Lastly, she believes that culture and teams are incredibly important.

Nayar also never gave much thought to her age as she was building. However, she believes in the power of diverse teams. "I surround myself with a lot of diversity, in terms of age, gender, interest, education, background, passions, geography, geographical understanding, and I think when you bring that from diverse team together, they can be massive," she says.


  • Age as on February 1, 2023: 32
  • No. of co-founders: 2
  • Number of employees: 2,700 +
  • Year of inception of the company: 2012
S Shanthi

Senior Assistant Editor

Shanthi specializes in writing sector-specific trends, interviews and startup profiles. She has worked as a feature writer for over a decade in several print and digital media companies. 


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