When questioned about what was the inspiration behind opening India’s first subscription based ecommerce platform for men’s grooming essentials, founder Mohit Saxena put it very candidly, “ I must admit that it was not a eureka moment. Both I and Bhisham Bhateja (co-founder) had been dealing with selling grooming in both the retail and online space and we realized that there is a huge space which has not been represented. We wanted to represent this space-affordable quality grooming products for men at a price point. And given the nature of products in this category, it naturally lends itself to a subscription model.”
Thus, The Man Company was born, founded by Mohit, Bhisham and Parvesh Bareja, a subscription ecommerce platform for men to shop for their grooming essentials without getting bothered to step out. The platform is a single window for men to shop for grooming products such as shave gels, hair gel, face wash, shampoo, and body wash; get them easily delivered to their doorsteps at regular frequencies decided by them.
Based out of Gurgaon, the startup supplies its own range of grooming products, made in conjunction with the Indoherbal company at Haridwar. Mohit, adds, “As men, we will hardly step out to shop for that one bottle of shampoo. The idea was to have a platform which not only addresses men’s convenience but also provides them a large width of quality products at a certain price point.”
How it works
A consumer has the choice to order one product or a basket of products from The Man Company. The firm even offers a starter kit wherein one can try the products before buying them. This consists of 25 ml packs of different grooming products. Customers have the choice to customize their products basket to suit their needs, set the frequency of their order, and revise or cancel their subscription any time they want to.
Once you have chosen your basket, one can automatically place a standing order instruction for these products to be delivered on the frequency one decides. The standing order instruction model enables that your account is automatically debited whenever it’s time for your subscription to be delivered, thereby saving you the hassle of logging into your account again and again. The money from a consumer’s account is debited five days before the products are shipped and he is also notified of the same. At any given point of time, he has the flexibility to tweak the subscription sets or pause it. The following video illustrates the ease of subscribing to The Man Company’s products.
The Man Company is aiming to target men in the age bracket of 25-37, who are seeking to better their grooming regimen. The target group called as “Aspirers” would want to upgrade to the better quality products offered by the firm. Mohit mentions that there is a huge price point gap that exists in this segment with basic offering starting from $3( INR180) to the premium ones starting at $11( INR700). The Man Company wants to position its products within this breadth which would make it qualify above the mass level products and more as a premium product.
Monetization, Funding and Traction
The revenue model as evident would be subscription based ecommerce. The startup has just launched a week back, and hence it’s too early for it to decide on revenue targets and share traction numbers. It is however garnering orders on a daily basis as it has been active in social media for the last four months. It will kick-start its advertisement campaign soon. However, Mohit and Bhisham are clear that in the first 2-3 months, they want to build up a subscriber base of about 5,000 users. For achieving this, they plan to reach 15K-20K buyers. Consequently, in the first 18 months of operation, they want this base to rise to 100K loyal clients.
Mohit points out that as per a Euromonitor International report, the market for grooming products aimed at men is a $750 Mn (INR 5,000 Cr) market in India which is poised to grow to $1.2 Bn (INR 8,000 Cr) in 2018. Hence, the startup has enough scope to perform.
Meanwhile, the firm has recently closed an undisclosed amount in its angel round of funding from Karan Bajwa, MD Microsoft India, Amanpreet Bajaj, Country Manager – India, Airbnb and Manish Vij, Founder CEO – SVG Media. Other investors in the startup include Parvesh Bareja, Director, Helios Packaging, Dinesh Singh, and Hitesh Dhingra, co-founder of TrulyMadly.
Along with focusing on subscriptions, the firm will also focus on curating men related content on its platform to increase user engagement. The content will focus not only on grooming, but to all areas of men’s interests. Also in the pipeline, are plans to expand the product basket from the current 6 ones. Additionally, besides essentials, the firm will also venture into men’s accessories such as ties, socks , and other essentials to make the category more involving for men.
As far as the grooming market is concerned, The Man Company has a lot of competition from established brands in the industry such as Gillette, Garnier, Bodyshop, Emami, P&G, Dabur, Park Avenue and L’Oreal. This category is witnessing a slew of product launches especially targeted towards men, corroborating the earlier cited Euromonitor report that the market will expand considerably as men turn more and more towards brands targeted at them. Thus the Man Company will see enough competition breaking into the segment, ruled by FMCG giants. However, as far as its revenue model is concerned, it is one of the first entrants to offer these products on a subscription basis-something which has not yet been attempted by its competitors.
The Man Company is hoping to build a loyal clientele with its fresh approach of subscription based ecommerce. Convenience of getting one’s grooming essentials delivered right to one’s doorstep, the width and depth of its offerings, and the ease of tweaking one’s subscription are factors which will work in its favours. Given the fact that men as consumers are far more lazy shoppers when it comes to buying that one bottle of shampoo or gel, the startup will score with its proposition of delivering all what a man needs for grooming right at his doorstep. Its success will depend on how receptive are men to its products and how quickly can it build a substantial subscriber base given the slew of such products in the markets being offered by established brands.