Alumna Develops Inclusive Cosmetics Start-Up
By Heidi OpdykeMedia Inquiries
- Associate Dean for Communications, MCS
Ananya Kapur has a colorful career.
As the founder and Chief Everything Officer of Type Beauty Inc. she is making waves in the world of cosmetics. Her New Delhi-based company has garnered mentions in Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar for its inclusive approach to cosmetics that also address skin concerns.
"It's important to be super inclusive for every skin tone and skin type," said Kapur who graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2021 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an additional major in business administration. "I have a deep love of chemistry and I wanted to pursue it and business as well. With Type Beauty my two areas of interest intersect in the most amazing way."
The cosmetics space in India is growing at a high rate. Kapur said there was a massive market gap that startups are working to fill. With the country's GDP growing and higher salaries in general. She added that people are looking for access to more premium products.
"We've positioned ourselves somewhere in the middle of traditional Indian brands and international brands to offer something aspirational that at the same time is really, really good for you," Kapur said.
Type Beauty semi-customizes makeup based on users' skin type and merges skin care and makeup in one product. The expanding, vegan makeup line includes concealers, foundations, primers, lip products, eyeshadows and tools, with more products in the works.
"We conceptualize products for seven to eight months before they appear on shelves," Kapur said. Before they reach stores, they are tested by dermatologists and consumers.
Products are named with the goal of giving users an extra boost of confidence. Lipsticks come in shades like Boardroom, Influencer and Rebel.
Other products are based on sweet treats like coffee, cookies and chai.
"We wanted to relate things to natural, everyday things. We have foundation shades like cookie, frappé, it's all this really yummy, delicious stuff."
Type Beauty's team — about 30 people and growing — uses a scientific approach to create vegan and cruelty-free products. But before opening her own product lab, Kapur made her first lipstick in The Design and Making of Skin and Hair Products course taught by Associate Teaching Professor of Chemistry Gizelle Sherwood.
"I love being in the lab. It's so fun to see something that you start from scratch and materialize into an actual product. For me that was a really big moment," Kapur said. "It was all really cool to learn."
Sherwood recalled Kapur during the cosmetics and hair product course. The course is taken by both chemistry and nonmajor students from across the university. In its current iteration, students learn about the chemical components in cosmetic products and the methods for preparing items such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions, soaps and creams. The course includes a hand-on laboratory experience. With regular guest lecturers from the School of Design, students also delve into marketing products.
"We knew Ananya's end goal was to open a business after graduation. It's been phenomenal watching her success," Sherwood said.
With more product launches on the horizon, and a future AI tool in the works Kapur isn't slowing down anytime soon, but with her Carnegie Mellon education, she's ready for what is next. She said being able to combine scientific training with business courses at Carnegie Mellon has been invaluable.
"It's really important to have a strong technical base in anything and to know the basics," she said. "There's so much you can do with that knowledge in any kind of industry."
Carnegie Mellon is a family tradition for Kapur. Her sister, Meha Kapur, is a rising junior in business administration. And her father, Yadur Kapur, graduated from Tepper in 1993 and 1995 with bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration.
"I really wanted a small environment where I could do multiple things and not just stick to one major. I wanted to try different things, and I got to do that at Carnegie Mellon," Ananya Kapur said.