They say the obstacles are the path. For entrepreneur Nandeeta Manchandaa, what began as an aborted attempt at online fashion retail has now turned into a luxury, nature-based beauty label that can compete with top global brands and still score high on efficacy and design.
After a brief internship at an online multi-designer platform in Delhi, Nandeeta launched Enn’s Closet to retail quality Western-wear for urban fashionistas in India. But soon after she launched, fashion e-retail giants like Jabong and Koovs overran smaller online boutiques like hers.
Regrouping and redefining her product range, Nandeeta began stocking beauty products from over 40 different brands, and had a stroke of luck: the category sold very well.
The corporate finance graduate from the University of Austin at Texas then faced another roadblock: demonetization. It tore into their bottom line as women stopped spending on beauty goods.
But the newlywed Nandeeta was in no mood to give up. Still convinced about the potential in online retail, she decided to launch her own range of herbal beauty products, and managed to do so within six months.
Today, the Delhi-based entrepreneur’s label, which continues to be called Enn’s Closet, offers a range of 60 products, from face masks and lipsticks to luxurious moisturizers and even an ‘eyebrow and eyelash cream’.
“Our products are all natural, made using high-quality ingredients sourced from all around India. They are presented in a very modern way with a high design quotient,” says the 31-year-old, who has studied fashion marketing from Parsons School of Design, New York, and has entrepreneurial genes. Her mother has been running her own automobile parts business for over 20 years, and her father, a GST consultant, has always been goal-oriented, pushing Nandeeta to take risks.
“India is amazing,” she goes on. “There is so much to do, and we have so much available,” she says, referencing India’s beauty heritage. The beauty range she offers is unique in many ways: both earthy and luxurious at the same time. Their Rose Cream, for instance, uses genuine rose oil sourced from Chennai, and they are now working on a hydrating moisturizer made with ghee.
“We take one traditionally used ingredient and then innovate with ways to present it to a contemporary audience. There’s a lot of research that goes into each product,” she informs.
All the ingredients are sourced from certified manufacturers, and the firm’s nine-member team works hard to ensure a personalized retail experience. The product range has been designed keeping its millennial consumer in mind – there are 24 shades of lipstick alone – and application is simple.
Each product description includes the problem area that it addresses – AC Nay Anti-Acne Face Mask, for instance. “Masks were our first category,” explains Nandeeta, “but then we wanted to be a daily part of our customers’ lives so we decided to expand our range.” Eight new products are slated for the near future.
For Nandeeta, who did her schooling from Modern School in Delhi, inspiration for new products can come from anywhere, including her frequent travels. “I only believe in nature for healing, and I even look to nature for ideating,” she shares.
Being an entrepreneur also means being on call from 7 am to 2 am, she jokes, adding that her husband of five years has now accepted her busy schedule. “I love India, I am a real believer in Indian values and traditions,” says the young businesswoman. “One can find a lot of potential in one’s own roots.”
This is the final of a four-part series ‘Leading the New Age of Indian Beauty’ published in the Jan-Feb 2019 issue of eShe.
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