From Beardo to Villain to RENÉE Cosmetics: Secret of serial entrepreneur Priyank Shah’s success

With Beardo and Villain Lifestyle, he targeted a niche market, whereas RENÉE Cosmetics is about making a mark in a highly crowded and competitive space, says serial entrepreneur Priyank Shah


What do the three RENÉE Cosmetics founders and Prime Minister Modi have in common? They’re all from the same district of Gujarat, chuckles Priyank Shah, a small-town business founder turned serial entrepreneur.

Seven years ago, Priyank Shah began his entrepreneurial journey with his college friend Ashutosh Valani. After successfully exiting Beardo upon selling it to Marico Ltd., they created Villain Lifestyle (a men’s personal care brand) in 2020, but soon they sold it to Mensa Brands (2021). They are now on to their third enterprise, RENÉE Cosmetics—a brand that aspires to make a mark in the Rs 1,50,000 crore beauty, skincare, and fragrances market. Where they are joined by Aashka Goradia Goble, their third founder.

In less than three years, their commitment to creating their space in the industry has borne fruit, as RENÉE boasts an impressive portfolio of 300 products. The company has touched Rs 200 crores in ARR as of now. Shah’s aim is to reach an ARR of Rs 400 crores by the end of this financial year.

SME Futures profiles Priyank Shah as an SME Icon, revealing the secret behind his entrepreneurial success.

A small towner to serial entrepreneur

An entrepreneur’s objective in building a brand is twofold: to provide what people want while also leaving an everlasting legacy behind.

“With this aspiration, I have never been inclined towards a 9-5 job, it was always about creating innovative and disruptive products, and today, three brands later, I believe I am on the right path with much more to come,” says Shah.

Talking about the assumption that small towners often make it big, he says it doesn’t matter where you are from. “If you have the right resources and know how to capitalise on them, your geographical location does not matter,” he asserts.

To be an entrepreneur, a few things are important. Looking back at his business journey, Shah says that his discipline and his principles were the major factors behind his entrepreneurial success. “My passion for giving consumers what they need and making sure that I live up to all my commitments and more, have primarily helped me to become the serial entrepreneur that I am today,” he elaborates.


Third time’s a charm

The inspiration to create something meaningful and valuable is what got him started, says Shah. “When we began Beardo, we were targeting quite a niche market, but today we have created a range of product lines that have found their niche in the market. A similar thing happened with Villain Lifestyle,” he explains.

The ability to sense opportunity is also a talent according to Shah. “We are quite passionate about this market, hence working on RENÉE came naturally to us. We aspire to meet the modern makeup enthusiast’s needs in the ever-changing and continuously evolving beauty landscape,” he says.

These recent entrants in the already crowded market don’t look at it this way though, and would rather focus on its size, which is around Rs 1,50,000 crores. “We are biased towards this space. It allows us to experiment and explore,” he claims.

The three co-founders each possess their own expertise within this space, utilising it to their advantage.

Shah handles conceptualisation, execution, building, and continuous expansion through sales and marketing. Ashutosh Valani primarily focuses on understanding consumers’ needs, expectations, market gaps, and identifying ways to fill them. Make-up and cosmetics have been an integral part of Aashka Goradia’s life for nearly two decades due to her former career as an actress.

“Together, we are committed to creating a brand that meticulously curates and develops products. We refrain from offering our consumers what’s already available; instead, we strive to add substantial value. The combination of our individual expertise has resulted in the exceptional growth of our brand at a rapid pace. Furthermore, we respect each other’s boundaries and foster a culture of complete transparency and authenticity, making teamwork seamless,” he says.

What’s the secret of this success?

“If you are innovative, you will thrive,” says Shah, sharing his success mantra.

“Be innovative, regardless of your product or industry, whether it’s D2C or B2B. I have always been at the core of innovation, and I enjoy creating and building,” he adds.

Shah’s vision for the company was to revolutionise the beauty industry by introducing unprecedented innovations that would transform people’s perception of beauty products – that’s the foundation of their success.

“In the beauty and cosmetics industry, there is always room for more, whether it’s a new product or a fresh trend. Our approach involves adding value incrementally to existing products, addressing the consumer’s preferences and requirements, and then introducing our new product range,” Shah tells us.

For instance, one of RENÉE’s bestsellers is the ‘Fab 5’ lipstick, offering five shades in one, eliminating the need to purchase five separate lipsticks. “This not only makes the product affordable and economical but also simple to use and travel-friendly,” he points out.

RENÉE also takes pride in its exclusive makeup range called “Princess,” designed for pre-teens. Shah emphasises that every product in this range undergoes dermatological testing, is free from harsh chemicals and parabens and is vegan and cruelty free, ensuring utmost safety for young girls.

“These examples represent just a fraction of the value-based innovations present in our extensive product portfolio. Every product of ours stands out with something unique and different about it- this is our edge,” he enthuses.

Priyank Shah’s go-to mantra in business

In the world of business, numbers serve as the backbone; every decision, policy, and strategy ultimately revolves around revenue figures. Shah shapes his business decisions keeping this principle in mind.

“If an idea does not yield immediate profits but exhibits potential for the future, I carefully assess its feasibility for the business; otherwise, I discard it. This simple yet effective rule of thumb has guided my business decisions from the very beginning. It’s essential to foresee when investments will bear fruit; this is my go-to strategy or mantra for business,” he reveals.

This strategic approach has been evident in his serial ventures. While Beardo and Villain Lifestyle targeted niche markets, RENÉE aimed to make a mark in a highly crowded and competitive space.

Over time, Shah has faced and conquered numerous challenges, yet he continues to defy the odds and remains determined to do so in the future. “I believe in maintaining a focused approach to navigate through various challenges, setting clear goals and dedicating myself to hard work with a complete sense of ownership. Let this be your daily go-to mantra at work, through every mistake or challenge,” he advises.

Over the next two to three years, the founder of RENÉE aims to position the brand as one of the top three leading beauty brands in the country and garner recognition as a renowned beauty brand globally.

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