4 Steps to Starting Your Dream Company with Divya Gugnani, Co-founder of Wander Beauty

Divya Gugnani, Co-Founder of Wander Beauty, calls herself a “startup junkie.” This seasoned female founder recently shared her map for going from concept to company at Project Entrepreneur’s 2016 Summit | NYC: Fundamentals of Funding. Here are her steps for turning your idea into a scalable business.

1. Solve for something you care about.

Ideas are everywhere. They’re in our heads, on sticky notes, in journals, emails, conversations, etc. How do you know which idea is the idea? Try this exercise: Take 48 hours of your life and write down everything that is annoying you at that moment. Maybe it’s having frizzy hair on a rainy day, or not having time to go get groceries, but no matter the friction, chances are if you’re feeling it, so are other people. Look at these “annoyances” and create an innovative solution. Take this list to your peers, friends, and family for feedback. Take note of wide eyes. Those are the ideas to go for.

2. Define what kind of entrepreneur you are.

The first thing you need to do when taking your concept to company is to define what kind of entrepreneur you are. There are many different types of entrepreneurs, but most fall into two buckets: (1) the “coming up with ideas person” and (2) the “run with ideas” person. Are you always looking for the next big thing or are you busy making things happen? The great news is, both are great entrepreneurs to be. Once you define your style, you’ll be able to pave the path forward.

3. Play the name game.

When naming Wander Beauty, Gugnani remembers having a ton of options. She sent a survey to 50-100 people in her target demographic (women ages 25-40) using Survey Monkey (you can also use Squad Help) to get feedback. This is an easy and quick way to find out which to keep and which to quit. Also, this is a great way to get accurate feedback from your target audience and gives them a sense of ownership over the name. Helpful tip: leave a blank box at the end of your survey for freeform feedback. It’s an easy way to learn a lot about your customers.

After the survey was finished, Gugnani sent out another blank page and asked the same people to put down the names they remembered. Notice which names they recall, they may be different from their favorite. That’s okay — that means the name stuck. That’s an amazing choice to go with because you’re more likely to have that same success on a larger scale.  

4. Hire smart.

Think differently about your team because everyone who is a part of your business is a part of your team. When it comes to hiring new talent, it’s important to think carefully and strategically. Great talent will set you apart. Though it may seem appealing, don’t rush to fill the role as quickly as possible. Slow down and go the extra mile to get the right talent. Do reference checks beyond the list a candidate gives you. Look on their LinkedIn and reach out to past managers and employers.

Also, think out of the box. Be aware of differences in personalities, skill sets, and industry knowledge, and use that to grow your business and strengthen your team. Use tests like the Myers-Briggs to ensure you have a healthy mix of people. Nothing will get done if you have 5-10 of the same profiles in the room. 


Divya’s advice comes from her #PESummit workshop, “Concept to Company,” along with Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Co-Founder of GLAMSQUAD & Gilt. Listen to the entire workshop on episode 11 of our podcast. For more expert inspiration, read 6 Guidelines that will Help You as a CEO with Jennifer Hyman, Co-Founder and CEO of Rent the Runway.