Anup Agarwal: Making Disruption in the Global Beauty Market Through Innovative Leadership

Inspiring Business Leaders

Inspiring Business Leaders

Bright Diva is a leading K-beauty distributor incorporated in 2015. Within two years of its operation since its establishment, the company has covered 10% of the market share within the K-Beauty (Korean Cosmetics) category in Hong Kong, making it the Top K-beauty distributor in the region Bright Diva is a well-established and fastest-growing distributor in the field of cosmetics, beauty care, personal care, perfumes, FMCG and F&B products. The company is a result-oriented distributor of international beauty brands and prides itself in establishing long-term business developments and eventually making unique international brands accessible to consumers across all key markets in Greater Asia. 

Bright Diva led by founders with rich and extensive years of experience in distribution and with the know-how balancing strategies. It has elevated the company to reach greater heights, resulting in nine branch offices across continents, with a workforce of 250, within a short span since its inception.

Bright Diva is a considerate distributor working closely with principles and adding value to distribution channels. The collective experience of market awareness and professional expertise of the company’s team adds value to brands seeking to expand into these markets. Bright Diva embraces and drives change and moves faster. The company recognized itself as a dynamic brand builder, being passionate and adore its work. 

 

A Visionary Leader Optimizing the Business Growth 

Anup Agarwal is the Director of Bright Diva International. He was born and brought up in Kathmandu, Nepal. Anup started his professional career at the early age of 19 as a salesman, selling electronic products. He got an opportunity to work for a trading company based in Guangzhou, China, when he was 20, and managed business development for them. Within two years, Anup got promoted to the company’s headquarter based in Hong Kong, worked as a Sales Manager. In 2013, he quit the job as Head of Greater China Business to embark on his journey as an entrepreneur. He co-founded Diva Communications Limited, which was trading in mobile phones, as well as co-founded Bright Diva International with Mr Xu Chun He and Mr Deepak Agarwal. Starting a career at a very young age as a salesman to CEO has been an incredible journey with hardship and learnings for Anup. 

With the rapid growth of Bright Diva in the last few years, Anup’s role kept changing. Today, he spends more of his time with HODs in the various department to discuss strategies and challenges they are facing and supporting them, with the vision to grow the business in new categories. Anup often travels to keep strengthening Bright Diva’s partnership with its major suppliers and customers, discussing with all country heads on progress in their local markets as the company has a strong presence in over nine countries. 

 

Harnessing Technology to Stay Germane and Competitive  

Anup believes that traditional business models are increasingly turning around potentially disruptive digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence and big data, which are becoming the driving force behind the success of online business giants as well as the new crops of startups. 

He notices that as a leader of any organization, the need to become more digital and tech-savvy is mounting. However, there are also some challenges in recruiting the right talent, making the right digital endeavor with existing business models, systems and processes and be effective and efficient that slow down the move to the era of AI and big data. He also feels that a leader must be flexible and on the forefront of examining the practicality and feasibility of disruptive technologies within the existing business model and work out the best talents, technologies and processes that need to be employed to stay competitive. 

 

Driving Innovation at Edge Through Effective Leadership 

According to Anup, 3 Ts – Trust, Transparency, and Teamwork are essential for transformational leadership. He firmly believes that with these 3 Ts, any relationship can overcome any problem and issue faced. When leaders do business, they are bound to face issues and bottlenecksThe key to sorting them out lies in understanding the challenges faced by either party and work collaboratively with them. 

Anup further adds that creating an environment where a leader is highly accessible by employees, colleagues and partners alike leads to a reciprocal trust. Innovative leaders initiate a warm and collaborative relationship with employees to ensure a smooth road to the targeted goals. A transformational leader also requires the skills of: 

Persuasion: Ideas and goals should be conveyed to the team with enthusiasm and conviction, and leaders should be highly effective in getting others to accept the ideas instead of enforcing their ideas onto their teams. 

Upward Communication: Leaders should believe that the best and most innovative solutions and ideas bubble up from underneath and must strive to create a culture that allows good ideas to flourish from the bottom line of the organization to the top. 

 

Early Life Challenges 

Anup faced numerous hurdles in his career. He recalls that moving to China at a young age without any experience of different cultures and languages was daunting. Traveling to many places without speaking the local language was quite tough for him. 

 

Modernizing Business Through Learning 

Anup asserts that one strategy does not fit all. Bright Diva always makes tailor-made strategies as per the requirements and needs of its partners, customers, vendors and even employees. The company believes in maintaining a completely transparent relationship with its partners and employees, and for it, building trust is the most imperative thing in any relationship. Bright Diva makes sure that it brings intrinsic value addition to its partners’ businesses with complete end-to-end distribution solution encompassing route to market planning, sales & marketing, channel mapping and developing earmarked strategies, proving market insights, offering NPD & innovation support and logistics.  

“End of the day Distribution is all about synchronizing the objective and vision of brand owners with retailers and meeting the requirements of end-users,” Anup mentioned. 

Experience from the electronic business truly helped Bright Diva to recognize the significance of inventory management and deliveries. It has helped in making the company’s model unique as it ensures its customers with ready stock, same-day deliveries, etc. It also helped Bright Diva as initially the company targeted only the general trade customers (Independent Pharmacies) that always had problems with inventory management as they had limited warehousing capacity and cash flow. 

 

Business in the New Normal 

Anup acknowledges that as pandemic has hit hard normal human lives and businesses worldwide, staying relative to the market needs and approaching the unexpected snags from a new approach has kept the industry afloat. He believes that the FMCG industry and Bright Diva will be expanding at a faster pace as the global lockdown has brought about digitization to the last remnants of traditional business aspects. Remote teams to online conferences and even digital expos are the new norm; where in the past the reach was limited to the physical presence has now been expanded to everything digital in the grasp of a human’s palm. 

 

Guiding Future Leaders 

Anup advises emerging business leaders to stay focused on three basic pillars, which also steppingstones of instrumental growth. They are trust, teamwork, and transparency. 

Building trust is the most crucial thing in any relationship. “Whether it is our vendors, customers, or even our employees, we treat them with respect as they are our partners in the complete value chain. Also, understanding business issues at their end and resolving them, in turn, gives you an edge over other players and thereby builds trust,” he said. Anup further emphasizes that working in teams and all endeavors and resultant success is the outcome of teamwork. 

Last but not least, transparency in a business operation is one of the essential principles. Utmost transparency in dealing with every stakeholder leads to the smooth functioning of an organization. This helps in analyzing and measuring the performance at every level and taking the necessary step to improve wherever necessary.