When I walked into my first investor meeting, I was asked two questions before I could begin my pitch – ‘are you married?’ and, ‘why are you leaving such a comfortable job to build a startup?’. I remember chuckling to myself silently and answering both these questions in the most diplomatic way possible, thinking if male entrepreneurs were also asked such questions.
Another question that I faced over and again initially was – how will I stand out in an already saturated industry. This was the ONLY question that I wanted to answer, as I was not only well prepared for it but the answer also happened to be the reason I started Foxtale.
As I grew up, my universe of skincare expanded, first with television commercials, then to stores, and soon online. I was spoilt for choices within India and beyond. I moved to America to study at the University of California and then worked at Merill Lynch for a while. Skincare was flourishing all over, and it became the one industry I kept going back to every time I thought of building my own business.
When I moved back to India, I dived deep into research to find the one thing that could set me apart in the market. I decided to turn directly to the source — the consumers. I started working at a retail store in India where I met and conversed with over 3000 Indian women in 6 months. This gave me an understanding of what women value in skincare and it was very similar to what they value in life – value for their time, effort and investment.
Every Woman Has A Skin Story To Tell; I tried To Address It Through My Start-Up
I tried to understand what skincare meant to an Indian woman, and two things truly stood out. First, she was very, very busy. She multitasked, with several never-ending responsibilities always up in the air. Which is why she understands the value of time and money very well. And second, there was a clear gap in the market. Barely any product in the current market was meeting the high expectations of performance-oriented shoppers.
Each of the women I met had a skin story to tell, of scars, tan lines, memories of childhood, and stories of confidence. But more importantly, they all wanted to build a narrative that was not limited by these. That is the story I wanted to contribute to.
While the world of skincare was focused on making it a sensorial experience, I wanted to elevate that by creating products that showed results outwardly as much as inwardly. Skincare products whose impact was visible for all to see. I knew I had to create high-performing skincare for high-performing women. I opted for unexplored ingredients that no other brand would touch, and got users to publicly test and validate my products before they were even launched!
I still remember getting my first customer feedback, and I felt victorious! Since then, the Foxtale family has grown beyond my imagination. Our customers keep coming back because of all the right reasons. I’ve been able to reach the remotest of customers, and Foxtale has progressed beyond my expectations. We raised our last round of ~$4 million in May 2022, and we’ve grown from 5 lakh in revenue in our first month to almost 50 cr annual run rate and that has only been on the back of creating products that work every time.
Recently, we set up a stall in a flea market in Mumbai, and customers sought us out to tell we finally have skin stories visible for all to see. Creating something that contributes to people’s daily progress was the ultimate dream, something that I always urge beginning entrepreneurs to work towards. I want to now take this message to every high-performing woman in India through collaborations with women who live this virtue every day.
In this constantly rushing world, I want to create a space for women, where they are able to get in touch with themselves. Skincare is often self-care for most women. And I am constantly looking forward to providing them with the best experience and valuing their time, effort and investment.
Views expressed are the author’s own.
Ms. Romita Mazumdar is the CEO & Founder of Foxtale – A leading community-first skincare brand
Suggested Reading: How Women Entrepreneurship Is The Way Forward For India’s Agri-Business Boom