Peyush Bansal co-founded Lenskart in 2010 to take trendy eyewear directly to Indian consumers without any middlemen. His dream is for the brand to become the ‘Maruti Suzuki of the Indian eyewear industry’. Bansal speaks to Travel + Leisure India & South Asia about the entrepreneurs who inspire him, the holiday destinations that he prefers, and the importance of being humble. By Adila Matra
T+L India: Tell us how the idea of Lenskart came about. Why did you foray into the eyewear industry?
Peyush Bansal: The idea came about after I saw a headline in the newspaper that said, “India is the blind capital of the world.” It shocked me, and I started reading up more about it. I realised that only 1/4th out of the 50 per cent of the masses that need spectacles, actually wear them. This is when the understanding that India needed a revolutionary vision correction came about. Being one of the fastest growing companies, our mission statement has been: “transform the way people see and experience the world.”The company is constantly innovating to stay relevant.
T+L India: How challenging is it to do that in an industry such as eyewear?
Peyush Bansal: I don’t think any industry innovation is challenging as long as it focusses on the customer. With the use of technology, one can innovate pretty much anything, and that has been our focus. Tech allows us to think the unthinkable, and it allows us to work problems backward versus solutions forward. We have not found it to be challenging, it’s in our DNA.
T+L India: What kind of traveller are you? Do you research a lot before going to a destination?
Peyush Bansal: I like to go to quiet scenic places. I also like to go to places where I can work and explore at the same time. Yes, I research a lot on areas and places that I plan to go to, but I am not someone interested in everyday sightseeing. I prefer family holidays; I like to experience the culture, find places to eat or drink coffee, and meet people. I like to simply walk down the streets and, of course, observe the customer retail culture of the city.
T+L India: As an entrepreneur, who is your inspiration? Which companies and founders do you look up to?
Peyush Bansal: Bill Gates is my inspiration. He first transformed the way people work, and now he is transforming the way people live. I look up to Amazon and Netflix for the impact that they have created in the world with the power of a unique organisation culture.
T+L India: You are a true jetsetter. Which luxury destinations are on Peyush Bansal’s favourites list and why?
Peyush Bansal: New Zealand and Switzerland. Both destinations are super calming, and they let you absorb nature. When it comes to beach destinations, I love Andamans and the Maldives. They are clean and scenic.
T+L India: When it comes to eyewear, which country/city is the most fashionable, according to you?
Peyush Bansal: I think Italy and France are the most evolved when it comes to anything related to fashion.
T+L India: Some ideas work and some don’t. How do you deal with failures and success?
Peyush Bansal: With every failure, there is learning. Learning from those failures and moving to the next level and growing are all that matters. The importance of failure is even bigger today because of the importance of innovation. Even if one big transformative success happens for every nine failures, it is still worth it. What is important is to try and learn.
T+L India: After your appearance on Shark Tank India, you received plenty of love for your humility. How important is that quality in a businessman according to you?
Peyush Bansal: Humility is the most important quality in every entrepreneur. We live in a world that is changing faster than ever, and where being good is not good enough. The most important quality in an environment like this is to be able to constantly forget what used to work in the past and learn what will work today. The best entrepreneurs are the ones who can unlearn, learn, and grow with time.
T+L India: Lenskart stores are now open even in the smallest towns of India. Can you give us a peek into the expansion plans?
Peyush Bansal: It is our dream to give the comfort of spectacles to every Indian, so that they can learn, grow, fulfil their dreams, and lead a better life. It is our dream to be the Maruti of eyewear in India. Maruti has fulfilled 50 per cent of Indians’ dream to own a car. We want to make a similar impact in India.
T+L India: Which luxury destinations are on your bucket list?
Peyush Bansal: Prague and Austria.