Vineeta Singh, the founder and CEO of Sugar Cosmetics and one of the Shark Tank India judges, is a real life inspiration. Anyone, who is struggling for their dreams, could learn persistence, determination and hardwork from Vineeta Singh!
At age of 17, when her teacher told her she could be an entrepreneur, Vineeta made up her mind about what she wants to become. After cracking two of the toughest exams in India, she followed her dreams. She went into the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Madras), and then to the Indian Institute of Management (IIM- Ahmedabad) for MBA.
Recently, Vineeta Singh shared her inspiring journey of fulfilling her dreams despite of the failures she faced. While speaking with Humans of Bombay, she mentioned:
“I was 17 when a conversation with my professor set the course for the rest of my life. While speaking about my career, he said, ‘You should be an entrepreneur!’ That was it; that’s what I was set on becoming. So, I studied hard, got into IIT & then did my MBA. There, I learned, ‘You can be an entrepreneur only by actually being one!’”
To fulfil her dream of being an entrepreneur, Vineeta decided to turn down a lucrative job offer. Her decision didn’t go down well with her parents and peers, but that didn’t deter her from chasing her passion.
“So even though I got a great job offer, I declined it. Several people, including my parents, asked, ‘What are you proving by not taking up the job?’ But I didn’t let it get to me. At 23, I moved to Bombay. I lived in a tiny house which flooded easily. I’d hardly go out because I was on a budget. But I pushed on. I even started a venture, but it didn’t work as planned. For the first time, I doubted myself–had I taken the job, I wouldn’t be struggling. At that point, I began running. It helped me clear my head & eventually, I started running marathons. Each finish line brought me a sense of clarity. After a year, I gave entrepreneurship another shot with Fab Bag–a beauty subscription company. But after research, I realised the need for quality cosmetics in India–that’s how SUGAR was born!”
Vineeta’s challenges as a woman entrepreneur were only getting bigger. It wasn’t just about low funds anymore. Imagine meeting investors as a woman? It’s a boys club, obviously!
“I invested my own money & even got funded! But being a woman in a ‘man’s world’ was tough–once, an investor refused to meet me. He wanted to talk business with a ‘man’. But I let my work do the talking; I continued to run & even completed the Ironman Triathlon! That win kept me going, especially when the company ran out of funds.”
While sharing her struggle to juggle between motherhood and her dreams, Vineeta mentioned:
“So at times I’d be pumping breast milk, working out, handling office calls, & hoping to not wake my son up. I’d have sleepless nights, but I loved what I was doing. After a year, it paid off–we were recognised as the best lipstick brand!
It’s been 5 years since; we’re now a team of over 1500–75% of which are women! And I’m doing everything I love. I run my company, I’ve run marathons when I was 6 months pregnant & I run circles around my kids. Still, I’m often asked, ‘How will you raise 2 kids & run a company?’ Why is it so tough to believe a woman can play more than 1 role? I walk into the office with files in one hand & my baby in another. The juggle is real, but it’s also totally worth it.”
At IFORHER, we applaud Vineeta Singh’s courage and determination to turn her dreams into reality! We wish her luck for her future endeavours and hope she will keep inspiring us!