Lakmé is an Indian brand of cosmetics, owned by Hindustan Unilever and run by CEO Pushkaraj Shenai. Lakme started as a 100% subsidiary of Tata Oil Mills (Tomco), part of the Tata Group; it was named after the FrenchoperaLakmé, which itself is the French form of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, also renowned for her beauty. Indian cosmet Lakme was started in 1952, famously because the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was concerned that Indian women were spending precious foreign exchange on beauty products, and personally requested JRD Tata to manufacture them in India. Simone Tata joined the company as director, and went on to become its chairman. In 1996 Tata sold off their stakes in Lakmé Lever to HLL, for Rs 200 Crore(45 million US$), and went on to create Trent and Westside. Even today, when most multinational beauty products are available in India, Lakme still occupies a special place in the hearts of Indian women.
Lakme also started its new business in the beauty industry by setting up Lakme Beauty Salons all over India. Now HUL (Hindustan Unilever Limited) has about 110 salons all over India providing beauty services. In the Brand Trust Report 2012, Lakme was ranked 104th among India's most trusted brands and subsequently, according to the Brand Trust Report 2013, Lakme was ranked 71st among India's most trusted brands. In 2014 however, Lakme was ranked 36th among India's most trusted brands according to the Brand Trust Report 2014, a study conducted by Trust Research Advisory, a brand analytics company. The company is the title sponsor for Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) a bi-annual fashion event which takes place in Mumbai.