Beauty With Brains
Selina Ved, Founder and CEO of NESSA, spills the facts about the gap that the online beauty industry faces
What does Nessa mean? What's the main idea behind the name of your brand?
Nessa translates to ‘woman’ in Arabic. As a woman myself, I knew it was important to me to create a community and space in which women felt empowered to explore their beauty.
How did the thought of launching your brand come up?
Every great business opportunity starts with solving your problem. I love makeup. Every time I purchased something, I checked every review, tutorial, and blog about the item. I realised that I had to go to five different websites to make the purchase. I noticed the gap in the market for an online beauty platform to address all my concerns. That’s how Nessa was born. I wanted to create the first social commerce website where consumers would have enough information, from reviews to tutorials.
Please take us through your journey in the beauty industry.
Beauty is my passion. I spend my spare time either creating makeup videos or watching tutorials. I love to express myself through makeup; it’s my happy place. Growing up with a family business in the retail sector, I had the opportunity to learn about the beauty industry through our brands. My interest led me to take a makeup course at London Makeup School, and I even started my own YouTube channel with makeup tutorials. I always knew I wanted to be in the industry, which gave me the confidence to launch Nessa.
With so many beauty platforms out there, how do you ensure Nessa stands apart from the rest?
There’s no other app like it in this market right now. We aim to bring in all the elements of ‘social commerce’ and give niche international brands a presence in the gulf region. We aim to be an educational platform that allows users transparency in the process to purchase products. Our platform has tutorials, reviews, and blogs, all within one click. While watching a beauty tutorial, you can add the products directly to the cart without leaving the video. Our content is geared toward our consumer base and it’s our priority to ensure our customers are heard so we can provide the best possible content for them.
What’s the main aim behind your brand and how do you ensure it stays true to its mission?
Our strategy is to disrupt the current beauty industry. We aim to provide a unique tech-infused experience by aggregating and accumulating all the relevant AI and AR technology to enhance and accentuate the customer experience. Additionally, social commerce, as a concept, is new to the market and we’re excited to introduce it to the gulf region in a way that is true to the present-day customer.
Coming from a business family, do you think the idea of starting your own business was instilled from the start?
Growing up, I spent my summer holidays shadowing my father and interning at Apparel Group. After graduating from university, I decided to work at Apparel Group’s e-commerce venture 6thStreet.com and that is when I realised that I was ready to handle the launch of my own business. Since I have always been interested in makeup and cosmetics, I decided to create NESSA.
Since both my parents and sister are entrepreneurs living under one roof, business-related discussions are a staple at our dinner table. Sometimes, these discussions turn into interesting debates with all four of us sharing our opinions.
How do you see your business growing and evolving in the next five years?
Having had the support of a large international group has possibly made me complacent and comfortable. However, I am aware and have been told that the true mark and journey of an entrepreneur needs to involve the ability to pitch and secure investors. So, it is on my 'must learn to do' list. Our belief is our future business will provide enough data and information to curate the perfect brick and motor store. More than anything venturing into a world of tech to give our users the perfect personable tech experience. Of course, we are looking at how we can innovate for tomorrow so five years is a little bit far as our five-year goal is far beyond any beauty e-commerce platform in the world. Make sure you are keeping up to date with us, as we are evolving in the next few months to provide an experience unlike any other.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting, what would it be?
First, find a problem to solve and dream big. Don’t stress about capital, if you have a vision, capital will follow. The second is to find a mentor, they will help focus on guiding you. Last, create and utilise relationship capital, that is what will set you apart from your competition. There are no shortcuts, it’s a marathon, if you don’t believe in yourself no one else will and the biggest risk is not taking any risks at all.
9. What are your wishes for the 76th India Independence Day
For wider recognition of the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that Indians are taking with them throughout the world.